There once was a lazy sales clerk
who didn’t want clients to think her a jerk.
The solution, you see,
was the airport duty-free,
where there’d be no obligation to work.
[And the salary would be a nice perq.]
I don't mean to cast aspersions,
but it would seem to me
parents shouldn't give a child stabby
things 'fore the age of three.
I don't know whether this household
has a pup or kitty,
but if the kid can spear the floor
the pets ain't look'n pretty.
Saying a babe shouldn't have a spear,
you'll call me "left-wing nut,"
but I don't like dog-on-a-stick:
even if it's a mutt.
This introductory guide examines comedy in a broad fashion, covering literary, historical, philosophical, and – to a limited degree – its psychological dimensions. The book investigates the shifting meaning of the word “comedy” and the changes in media and mechanisms through which it’s been conveyed. So, if you’re concerned (or hoping) that this book is simply an accounting of comedy as the literary genre counter to tragedy, that’s not the case. It discusses not only literature and drama, but also standup comedy and other devices by which humor is conveyed, and it uses “The Simpsons” as well as “Candide” and “Don Quixote” as examples to get points across.
This VSI guide does have a little bit of overlap with the “Humour: VSI,” but where that book focuses heavily on the theory of what makes something humorous, this book addresses that subject in a much more superficial way. On the other hand, this book spends more time looking at comedy from ancient times onward and how its ways have changed since the age of the classics. This guide also peers more beyond the cognitive and philosophical aspects of humor to how elements such as physicality, persona, and even death play into comedy.
It is a scholarly introduction, so one shouldn’t expect a laugh riot, but it is a more entertaining read than if it only looked at comedy as the literary mode opposed to tragedy. If you wish to develop further insight into the many facets of comedy, it’s worth checking out.