Comedy vs. Tragedy
January 28, 2007
Sometimes, I tend to drift.. a lot.. isnt that the point of posting here? If I were to discuss the stuff I write here with any sane person, wouldnt they think “Pavan==insanity personified”. All of us have a Mask (ref: movie) like person hidden inside, who bursts out at various points/moments of life and in different ways. You see my other side here. So here it goes.
What is common between these: the famous Youtube video where a baby is trying hard not to fall asleep while sitting; Comedy central’s Daily show with Jon Stewart, Phdcomics.com toons, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Tom & Jerry?
They are all comedies, right?
Think again, what else is common b/w them?
Why so? How come? Whaaat?
If you notice carefully, comedy is not only that makes you laugh (though that being an effect), but it is also something that arises out of a tragedy. You must have heard this “Best comedies come to one’s mind when one is sad or in tragedy” (limits apply, explained below)
Comedy arises out of tragedy: 99% of all the sattires/comedies/funny things you come across falls into this definition. the rest 1% is PJs and misc. stuff. If you notice the list I was talking about, it is sometimes the victims that evoke laughter, and sometimes it is their helplesness/inability.
Watch any movie, the comedian is the one who is fat/bald/short.. Senthil-Goundamani or Iron Leg Shastri or Laurel-Hardy or Charlie Chaplin make you laugh on their inability to do something or the guffaws that they commit. It is comedy to us, but tragedy from their perspective.
Comedy is born out of somebody’s failure, or shortcoming. Comedy is born out of a mistake, an error, inability to understand a concept.. or somebody’s existing state of failure that evokes sympathy. Dont believe?
If Bush performed his job well, would Daily Show get a chance to poke fun? If Grad life was a bed of roses (with no thorns), would phdcomics.com exist? If all the offices were perfect, would Dilbert exist? If tom and Jerry “lived happily ever after”, would the series even exist? No, Tom is the scapegoat always, Brahmanandam has to get the kicks/jokes on his “beauty” or stature.. that evokes laughter.. but at the expense of degrading him.
The deviation from normal behaviour churns out comic material for others. Lack of sexual drive in a person is funny (many movies, like Aaru Pathivratalu, Apocalypto, etc.), and so is excess of it (Paris Hilton?); balding guys are funny and so are hairy-gorilla-like men, fat guys are funny and so are needle-like-guys who are fondly called as Arnold. Tun-Tun (Hindi comedian) is funny.. why? because we get to laugh on her obesity. It makes us feel better.
Blondes are nice to make fun of (for their dumbness), geeks are nice to laugh at (for their lack of social skills)..
If a person (say me) entered the Male restroom, it is just plain boring (though natural) but if I were to enter a ladies restroom by mistake, it becomes funny.
This makes us think. If comedy arises out of tragedy, then every tragedy should be comic, which isnt the case. Consider the Tsunami, or 9/11 or the Indian soldiers getting killed. It isnt comic in any remote sense.. atleast to the majority of us.. maybe the other side (Pakis/terrorists) pokes fun at that.. who knows.. so invariably comedy and tragedy are born out of one incident. they are just two sides of the same coin. One man’s tragedy is another man’s recipe for comedy. One man’s slip is entertainment for another. One man’s inability or lack of something brings elements of humor for another. There might be a limit or a fine line that differenciates when to and when not to laugh, but it is again relative and depends upon perspective.
If that is the case, then shouldnt comedy be redefined as “any deviation from normalcy”?
I am not ranting, but trying to find out what is it in the genes that make us like this? What must be the purpose? Make the inferiority-complex stricken people feel good? Help eliminate those who deviate from the society norms? there must be something that I am missing in the bigger picture.
PS: I dont know if this should be labelled under humor, tragedy or “bheja-fry”.
PPS: Some other thoughts invaded my 4 MB brain, more to follow later.