Types of Comedies

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Comedies have one main purpose: to make the audience laugh. The main emphasis of a comedy has always been humor. In the past decade, three major classifications of Comedies have developed in the film and television industries, romantic comedy, “gross out comedy”, and mockumentary.

Romantic Comedies are the often the most popular and highest grossing comedies around because they appeal to both genders and effectively entertain both genders. Romantic comedies almost always have a happy ending resulting in two lovers together. The themes of romantic comedies often attract couples that are out on dates. Examples of romantic comedies are When Harry Met Sally, Fever Pitch, and Just Friends. The common plot of a romantic comedy is that two protagonists, a man and a woman, meet in some unusual way, overcoming an obstacle, then they reunite. While the two protagonists are separated, one or both of them usually realizes that they are ideal for each other, or that they are in love with each other. Then, after one of the two makes some spectacular effort to find the other person and declare their love. Next, with some comic friction or awkwardness, they declare their love for each other and the film ends happily. The couple does not, however, have to marry, or live together "happily ever after". The ending of a romantic comedy is meant to affirm the primary importance of the love relationship in its protagonists' lives.


“Gross out comedies” are films targeted at a young adult or teen audience that continuously use vulgar dialogue and themes to make the audience laugh. Most often a major setting of these movies is a high school or college. The films often involve jokes about alcohol, drugs, and sex. This kind of comedy is usually extremely successful at the box office. Movies like American Pie have developed into franchises with numerous successful sequels. The plots of “gross out comedies” involve a group of friends, usually male, and there actions for a period of time. The movies comedy is made off of the awkward or hilarious dialogue exchanged between the characters. One producer who has perfected dialogue in his movies is Judd Apatow who usually films actors making fun of each other freely like a real group of friends would. This technique has brought he major success with a number of hit movies such as Knocked Up and Superbad The movie always ends in a happy ending for each of the main characters.


Mockumentaries are films or shows where fictitious events are depicted in a non-fiction or documentary format. Most mockumentaries are filmed with actors improvising many of their lines. Actor Sacha Baren Cohen has successfully made two mockumentaries, Borat and Bruno. Both movies are exceedingly vulgar to the point where it is unnecessary but both films have been financial successes. Disgusted, many critics bashed Cohen as racist, sexist, radical, and a criminal. However, because most viewers found his material comical their reviews drew in many more. Television has also seen an explosion with mockumentaries. The British sitcom The Office has paved the way for an American version starring Steve Carell. The show is depicts the everyday lives of office employees. To simulate the look of an actual documentary, it is filmed in a single-camera setup, without a studio audience or a laugh track. Most of the actors improvise on their lines improving them for the show and their character. The show’s success has allowed more mockumentaries to appear such as Parks and Recreation.

The most relevant types of comedy in the past decade are romantic comedy, “gross out comedy”, and mockumentary.





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