B1 Intermediate US 13 Folder Collection
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"and I need her not to go with me
-I don't know anybody her age.-" Was that
comical? tragic? or both? Answering that
question requires context. Comedy and
tragedy have always had an interesting
relationship. Although the words comedy
and tragedy have polar opposite
connotations, they are in no way mutually
"Now that I've got a little bit of a career
going, the Jews want me to stay in my weight
and it might be unhealthy." Numerous prominent
philosophers have taken interest in this
phenomenon. Many refer to this confusing
relationship as the incongruity. Søren
Kierkegaard regarded as the father of
existentialism referred to it as the
Although Kierkegaard is most widely
known as a great philosopher, on closer
inspection many believe he was a great
comic. In Søren Kierkegaard journal
writings he laid out a comedic theory
that suggested what makes something
comical is a violation of our
expectations. Kierkegaard believed this
violation was also at the core of the
tragic. He explained this using a story
of a baker whose starving mother was
asking him for foo d. A tragic story that
was ironically funny because the mother
of a Baker would be starving and
begging in the first place.
This sort of dark ironic humor lost
itself in the United States to the birth
of sitcoms in the late 1940s. With the
introduction of the laugh track, early
sitcoms were able to take advantage of a
psychological phenomenon called
informational social influence.
It's a phenomenon observed in both
humans and our primate cousins where
individuals assume the actions of others
to reflect the correct socially accepted
behavior. In other words gag humor became
the norm because we thought we were
supposed to find it
funny--causing American television to
avoid anything of substance for the next
20 or so years. Recently, a new form of
laugh track free TV comedy has emerged,
the sadcom.
Louis CK was influential in setting the
foundation for this trend in comedy
television. CK's show Louie captures the
reality of being a single father with
two young daughters and the craziness of
it all.
Although there are funny moments there's
no canned laughter to signal what to laugh at
and much of the show is very real and
sometimes disconcerting. "When you're with
me and then you're with your mom and you
talk about when you were with me. -You want us
to lie to mom about Pamela..-"
CK explore this format further with his
show Horace and Pete, which is actually listed
as a drama. The show constantly walks the
line between comic and tragic-attempting
to violate expectations of comedy at
every turn. "The jokes that are in it are very
funny -yeah they're alright- but mostly it's like
if everyone there was depressed. -That's
right-." Take the opening scene for example,
where an obvious tension lingers in the
air between Louis CK's character Horus and
Steve Buscemi who plays Pete. This scene can
be humorous if I had a laugh track but
without it
it seems dark and unsettling. "I just don't know why
you left a big pile of rags right there. -I had to
close and yeah, so there's a pile of rags
that I left and i'll clean it up before we
open. How's this a mystery?- Pete the
place is always perfect every time you close,
so I thought you must have a reason. -So I
didn't.- okay." "I just don't know why you
left a big pile of rags right there. -I had to
close and yeah, so there's a pile of rags
that I left and i'll clean it up before we
open. How's this a mystery?- Pete the
place is always perfect every time you close, so I thought you must have a reason. -So I didn't. Okay."
CK set the trend and other comedians have followed his lead.
There's Tig Notaros
autobiographical sadcom, One Mississippi.
The premise being the death of her
mother. A sadcom Louis CK produced. "Just going to
go ahead and disconnect the respirator.
Any questions? -About death?-" Or Jill Salloways,
Transparent. A story about a family
unraveling from a lack of communication
the premise being the discovery that the
family patriarch is transgender. "Hi girls."
And my favorite, Baskets, a show created by
Zach Galifianakis, Louie CK, and Jonathan
Krisel-that follows the life and
struggles of an aspiring clown. The big
dreams of the lead character chip could be
replaced with any larger-than-life
aspirations. The most close to home for
Louis CK and Zach Galifianakis, the process
of becoming a comedian. It does a great job
of capturing the obscurity and pain that
comes with chasing a dream but it also
imparts the rich intrinsic rewards that
come with the journey and all the little
victories along the way. " How many bathrooms
do you guys have her. -Three.- I'm gonna need two of them."
So in many ways sadcoms make tragedy
more manegable. Comedy, the constantly
evolving art form that it is-acts as a
social, cultural, and even self mediator.
In a nation disillusioned and
suffocated by expectations-maybe in
part because of the distortions of
reality films and television have ceaselessly
provided us-sadcomes provide a nice
dose of reality. Putting forth the idea
that life isn't perfect and maybe it
never should be. "This is love-missing her
because she's gone, wanting to die.
You're so lucky, you're like a walking
poem. Would you rather be some kind of a
fantasy? some kind of a Disney ride?
is that what you want??"
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Comedy & Tragedy: Louis C.K.

13 Folder Collection
Candy published on April 10, 2020
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