What's So Funny?: Comic Conception of Culture and Society (Hardback)Murray S. Davis (author)
Hardback Published: 01/10/1993
- Not available
Jokes, puns, stories, tales, sketches, and tricks saturate our lives. And today the stuff of comedy is almost inescapable, with all-comedy cable channels and stand-up comics acting as a kind of electronic oracle. We're laughing more often, but what are we laughing at? In this book, the author uses jokes (good, bad, silly, and classic) to display the wisdoms that comedians deliver. "What's So Funny?" is less about the psychology of humour than the objects of our laughter - the cultural and social world that comics turn upside down and inside out. It also explores the logic of comedy as a formidable, critical assault on just about everything we take for granted. Drawing on a vast array of humour from cartoons to the work of comedians like Jay Leno, Lenny Bruce, Steve Allen, and Billy Crystal, Davis reminds us of the extraordinarily subversive power of comedy. When we laugh, we accept the truth of the comic moment: this is the way life really is. The book is in two parts. In the first, Davis explores the cultural conventions that even simple jokes take apart: the rules of language and logic, the distinctions between human and other beings. In the second, he looks at the components of society that jokes deconstruct: individuals, groups roles, institutions, both dominant and subordinate. Whatever their style, comedians use the tools of their trade - ambiguous meanings, incongruous characters, extreme situations - to violate our expectations about the world. Setting comedy within rich intellectual traditions - from Plato to Bergson and Freud, in philosophy as well as sociology - Davis develops comedy into a subtle, complex, and articulated theory of culture and society.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Weight: 763 g
Dimensions: 278 x 154 x 29 mm
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