Characteristics of Comedy

The characteristics of comedy can give us a glimpse at the tools used to create these humorous looks at life. Although the goal of a comedy seems simple-to make use laugh-comedies are often used as a lens to allow us to see complex truths.

Common Elements Of Comedies

Whether it's a sly satire or a silly slapstick, all comedies share some characteristics. Here are a few of the most common:

  • I can't believe that! Often, a successful comedy will involve an incongruous situation: the baker will have to diffuse a bomb; a cold, calculating businesswoman is asked to look after a small child. These situations are instantly recognizable as improbable, but it is the bumbling, fish-out-of-water results that make them funny.
  • That's so true. From family life to office behavior, great comedies mine the truths of everyday life for their best material. A joke is often doubly funny when the audience can see themselves in both the set-up and the punch line.
  • Us against them. Many classic comedies use conflict to establish their story. Authority figures, faceless institutions, even the class bully-all have been used as foils to do battle with the main character. Easily recognizable antagonists give the audience a conflict they can relate to.
  • Wait, you're my cousin? Surprise is one of the main characteristics of good comedy. From the punch line of joke to the resolution of a mistaken identity, the best comedy takes what you think you know and turns it on its head.
  • I know her! The heroes of most comedies tend to be everyday people with an extra flaw or two thrown in for good measure. Audiences love to root for the underdog, and a flawed heroine from an average background creates a character that is at once sympathetic and recognizable.
Related Life123 Articles

You might not love all the types of comedy, but surely there is at least one that leaves you rolling in the aisles. 

No two people will agree on one list of the best comedy movies. That hasn't stopped us from trying.

Frequently Asked Questions on
More Related Life123 Articles

The history of comedy films includes the very first movie copyrighted in the United States. Whether or not the art form has evolved since then, we'll leave it up for you to decide.

Animation comedy can appeal to kids and adults at the same time. Here's a list of movies to watch with your kids or your friends.

Learn about the comedic films of the Coen brothers, including Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, and Burn After Reading
© 2015 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company