Comedy forms

There are many terms that we apply to the various forms of comedy.

Anecdotes are very short amusing stories that are usually true. Lots of magazines like Reader’s Digest pay their readers for submitting anecdotes.

Example:

Old Aunty Betty from Edinburgh had just got the telephone put on.

When she was speaking to her friend Doris down the street one day, she said in frustration:

“I’m going to disconnect the phone because I never seem to get you when I call. I use all the numbers and if I forget one I just put it at the end”.

Can you think of an anecdote?

Wit is the ability to express ideas and words in an amusing manner.

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1899) an Irish playwright, poet and author, was a master of wit and he is still frequently quoted today.

You might like to search the Internet for some samples of his writing.

Examples:

Mr and Mrs Smith were walking down the street one day with the latest addition to their family.

When their neighbour Mrs Jones said: “Mr Smith, what a beautiful baby!” Mr Smith replied: “Thank you Mrs Jones, if you like I could do the same for you.”

Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee.”

Winston Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

Parody is a comic imitation of someone or something. Parody is used when comedians make puppets of famous figures and poke fun at them.

Limericks are humorous poems that are five lines long. The first, second and fifth lines rhyme as do the third and fourth lines.

Example:

A jolly old fellow named Hugh,

Was arrested for saying: “Look; snoo!”

“What’s snoo?” They would cry,

And he’d always reply,

“Oh, nothing much; What’s new with you?”

A pun is the humorous use of a word to suggest two or more meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound.

Examples:

Some people like raw meat on rare occasions.

A carpenter is a shelf made man.

Slapstick is visual humour that relies on boisterous antics to grab laughs.

A classic example of slapstick humour is the old pie-in-the-face routine.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft computing systems, was the target of a classic pie-in-the-face prank in Belgium.

Sitcom is an abbreviation for a TV situational comedy. Some sitcoms, like The Simpsons, are animated.

Others, like the world famous series Fawlty Towers draw humour from recounting everyday events.

See how many sitcoms you can think of.

Satire is the use of irony or parody to mock foolish acts and evil in human behaviour.

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