Comedy multiple types of comedies exist. Slapstick

films are films designed to make the audience laugh. A common characteristic of
comedy is an exaggeration of events, which is done to provide further amusement
to viewers. Comedies also tend to have happy endings, keeping in line with the
general light-heartedness of the genre. Some movies may even take typical
frustrations experienced by most viewers and portray them in a non-serious
manner. As with all movies, comedies contain at least one conflict. These
conflicts may be caused by numerous events, such as an exaggerated
misunderstanding or a case of mistaken identity. Comedy allows the audience to
“take a break” from the hassles of life and enjoy a couple hours of pure
amusement (Dirks, 2017).

            There are two main presentations of
comedy: comedian-led and situation-comedy. Comedian-led comedies are known for
“well-timed gags, jokes, or sketches”, and situation-comedies are “told within
a narrative” (Dirks, 2017). Comedies are also frequently combined with other
genres, such as drama-comedy and musical-comedy. Further classified into other
categories are comedy subgenres. These films are mainly comedic with a focus on
a certain aspect of humor. Examples of comedy subgenres are romantic comedies
and sports comedies (Dirks, 2017).

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            Overall, multiple types of comedies
exist. Slapstick comedy can be described as a type of physical comedy. Laughter
is typically elicited through actions, rather than words. For example, an actor
throwing a pie in another actor’s face would be representative of slapstick
comedy. Deadpan comedy is more of a “dry” humor. Actors may make the audience
laugh while only using a neutral facial expression, rather than a smile or
smirk. Verbal comedy elicits laughter with the use of words, unlike slapstick
comedy. The actor uses his or her wit to make the audience laugh. Screwball
comedies are slightly similar to slapstick comedies. This type of comedy
presents acting in a ridiculous or crazy manner and often involves a romantic
interest between two characters. Black comedy can be described as using a
“dark” sense of humor, often portraying serious events, such as illness or
death. This type of comedy does not usually have a happy ending, like most
comedies. Parodies are a type of comedy that imitate another genre, movie,
etc., in a light-hearted manner. The purpose of this type of genre may be to
either make fun of the specific topic or simply make the audience laugh (Dirks,

            The film Bringing Up Baby (1938) is a comedy. Further categorized, it is an
example of a screwball comedy. As described above, screwball comedies tend to
portray acting in a crazy manner, with events that do not typically happen in
the real world. According to Giannetti (2014), the film overlooks issues of
right and wrong and focuses on the humorous aspect of the situation. For
example, near the beginning of the film, Susan (played by Katharine Hepburn)
attempts to drive off in David’s (played by Cary Grant) car, despite his
emphatic insistence that the car belongs to him. She even causes damage to the
vehicle by running into other objects around her. In conjunction with the
characteristics of screwball comedy, this scene is portrayed as humorous,
rather than as a serious matter (Hawks, 1938).

            There is a romantic interest in the
film Bringing up Baby (1938) between
Susan and David. David tries to avoid Susan, but her actions repeatedly and
unintentionally force him to become involved in each situation. Despite Susan’s
crazy behavior throughout the film, David eventually falls in love with Susan.
All of these events are exaggerated in the film, which is another
characteristic of a comedy. For example, while at a restaurant, David
accidentally steps on Susan’s dress and exposes her undergarments. The next
several minutes of the film emphasize this accident while David tries to
continually tell Susan what happened and cover up her backside. While this film
can be frustrating to the viewer at times, it definitely elicits frequent
laughter (Hawks, 1938).

            The film Driving Miss Daisy (1989) is another example of a comedy, and it is
combined with the genre of drama. Unlike Bringing
Up Baby (1938), the humor is not as evident. Most of the comedic relief
comes from Miss Daisy (played by Jessica Tandy). She uses a “dry” sense of
humor when responding to other actors. For example, when Hoke (played by Morgan
Freeman) first starts working for Miss Daisy, she is rude to him. When the
housekeeper, Idella (played by Esther Rolle), announces that she is leaving,
Miss Daisy replies with “Alright, Idella, see you tomorrow.” However, when Hoke
next announces that he is leaving, Miss Daisy replies with simply “Good.” It is
humorous because she is acting very stubborn (Zanuck, Zanuck, & Beresford, 1989).

            Like the film Bringing Up Baby (1938), Driving
Miss Daisy (1989) portrays an evolving relationship between two characters.
However, the developing love is between two friends, rather than a romantic
interest. Conflict results early in the movie when Miss Daisy wrecks her car
and is unable to drive. Her son, Boolie (played by Dan Aykroyd), hires Hoke to
drive Miss Daisy around town. She is not happy with this decision, which leads
to her stubbornness and rudeness toward Hoke and Boolie, both. While it does
not seem as if Miss Daisy will ever like Hoke, the film ends with a close
friendship between the two. This happy ending is another characteristic of a
typical comedy (Zanuck, Zanuck, & Beresford, 1989).

            The film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), is a great example of
a comedy. It is classified as a type of parody, known as a lampoon or satire. The
movie originated from the creators of a humor magazine known as National Lampoon. The magazine began
releasing films in 1978, all with comedy as the genre. Chevy Chase was the lead
actor in several of the films, portraying the father and husband of a family
that wants nothing more than to spend time with his family. However, during
this time, something always seems to go wrong for him, providing numerous
instances of hilarity for the audience (Dirks, 2017).

            The movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), centers around a
family spending time together at Christmas, which is normally portrayed as a
positive event. However, in this film, numerous conflicts and humorous
situations arise when the family comes together at Christmas. These conflicts
are sometimes the result of silly misunderstandings between family members. Like
Driving Miss Daisy (1989), there is a
prevalence of “dry” humor in the movie. Clark (played by Chevy Chase), in
particular, provides much comedic relief in the film. He frequently uses a
“dry” sense of humor and sarcasm when communicating with his family members.
For example, when cousin Eddie (played by Randy Quaid) and his family arrive at
Clark’s home unexpectedly, Eddie asks, “You surprised to see us, Clark?”. Clark
then responds with “Oh, Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the
carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.” While Eddie does not
recognize this statement as sarcasm, the audience sees this comment as humorous
(Hughes, Jacobson, & Chechik, 1989).

            In the film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), events are sometimes
exaggerated to make the audience laugh. For example, Clark Griswold becomes
obsessed with decorating his house for Christmas with as many lights as
possible. When he turns on the lights, he causes a power outage in the area and
there is a brief scene showing someone switching on a nuclear reactor to solve
the problem. This is an example of an exaggerated event to elicit laughter from
the audience. The film also demonstrates an example of a common frustration of
life for some people: spending the holidays with extended family and trying to
get along with everyone in close proximity. The film, however, manages to
portray this situation in a funny way. Despite all of the conflict among family
members, however, National Lampoon’s Christmas
Vacation (1989) results in a happy ending, just like the majority of comedy
films (Hughes, Jacobson, & Chechik, 1989).