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Encyclopedia > Comedy genres

Comedy may be divided into multiple genres based on the source of humour, the method of delivery, and the context in which it is delivered. The word comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humor with an intent to provoke laughter in general). ...


These classifications overlap, and most comedians can fit into multiple genres. A comedian (also comedienne, female) is a person who attempts to make people laugh through a variety of methods, normally through joke telling. ...

Type Description Famous comedians
Black comedy or dark comedy Black comedy deals with disturbing subjects such as death, drugs, terrorism, rape, and war. Some black comedy is similar to the horror movie genre. Television examples include Brass Eye. Chris Morris, Jim Norton, Bill Hicks, Denis Leary, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Penn & Teller, The League of Gentlemen, Christopher Titus, Sacha Baron Cohen
Blue comedy Comedy based on Sexism, Racism and Homophobic views, also based on Sexual jokes. Jim Davidson, Andrew Dice Clay, Bernard Manning, Roy 'Chubby' Brown
Character comedy Character comedy derives humour from a persona invented by a performer. Much character comedy comes from stereotypes. Andy Kaufman, Paul Eddington, Andrew Dice Clay, Tim Allen, John Gordon Sinclair, Lenny Henry, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Ryan, Steve Guttenberg, Steve Coogan, Bip,Jay London,Larry the Cable Guy, Sarah Silverman, Rob Brydon and Peter Helliar!
Improvisational comedy Improvisational (sometimes shortened to improv) comics rarely plan out their routines. Prime examples of this kind of comic can be seen on the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Paula Poundstone, Paul Merton, Tony Slattery, Josie Lawrence, Jim Sweeney, Steve Steen, Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, John Sessions, Neil Mullarkey, Kathy Greenwood.
Observational comedy Observational comedy pokes fun at everyday life, often by inflating the importance of trivial things or by observing the silliness of something that society accepts as normal. Ray Romano, Dave Hughes, Ricky Gervais, Janeane Garofalo, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Gaffigan, Kathy Greenwood, Ellen DeGeneres, Peter Kay, Russell Peters, Dane Cook, Mitch Hedberg, Demetri Martin.
Alternative comedy Differing from traditional punchline jokes which features many other forms of comedy such as Observation, Satire, Surrealism, Slapstick and Improvisation Alexei Sayle, Mark Steel, Dave Gorman, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, Ron Sparks, Alan Davies
Physical comedy Somewhat similar to slapstick, this form of comedy uses physical movement and gestures. Physical comedy is often influenced by clowning. Jim Carrey, Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, Lee Evans, Max Wall, Dane Cook, Kathy Greenwood, The Three Stooges
Prop comedy Comedy that relies on ridiculous props, or everyday objects used in humorous ways. Carrot Top, Gallagher, Timmy Mallet
Surreal comedy Surreal humour is a form of humour based on bizarre juxtapositions, absurd situations, and nonsense logic. Spike Milligan, Eddie Izzard, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey, The Mighty Boosh, Steven Wright, Monty Python, Vic and Bob, Jack Handey, Harry Hill
Deadpan comedy Not strictly a style of comedy. Telling jokes without a change in face expression or change in emotion Jack Dee, Jimmy Carr, Steven Wright, Peter Cook, Buster Keaton, Bill Murray, The Office
Topical comedy/Satire Topical comedy relies on headlining/important news and current affairs. It dates quickly, but is a popular form of comedy for late night talk shows. Dennis Miller, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Andy Hamilton, Bill Maher, Ian Hislop, Chris Morris, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Ben Elton, Lewis Black
Wit/Word play Wit and word play are more intellectual forms of comedy based on clever, often subtle manipulation of language (though puns can be crude and farcical). Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare, The Simpsons

 
 

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