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Comedy is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any other entertainment medium. The term originated in ancient Greece: in Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by political satire performed by comic poets in theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance pitting two groups, ages, genders, or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old". A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions posing obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth then becomes constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to resort to ruses which engender dramatic irony, which provokes laughter.

Satire and political satire use comedy to portray people or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of their humor. Parody subverts popular genres and forms, critiquing those forms without necessarily condemning them.

Other forms of comedy include screwball comedy, which derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters, and black comedy, which is characterized by a form of humor that includes darker aspects of human behavior or human nature. Similarly scatological humor, sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways, which can often be taken as offensive by the subjects of said joke. A comedy of manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper-class society) and uses humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love. (Full article...)

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John Waters
"Homer's Phobia" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season, which originally aired on the Fox network on February 16, 1997. It was the first episode written by Ron Hauge and was directed by Mike B. Anderson. John Waters (pictured) guest starred, providing the voice of the new character John. In the episode, Homer disassociates himself from new family friend John after discovering that John is gay. He worries that John will have a negative influence on his son, Bart. "Homer's Phobia" was the first episode to revolve entirely around homosexual themes, with the title being a pun on the word "homophobia". Originally, due to the controversial subject, the Fox censors found the episode unsuitable for broadcast, but this decision was reversed after a turnover in the Fox staff. It won four awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV - Individual Episode".

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Whoopee cushion
Credit: Grombo

A whoopee cushion, also known as a poo-poo cushion and Razzberry Cushion, is a practical joke device that produces a noise resembling a raspberry or human flatulence. It is made from two sheets of rubber that are glued together at the edges. There is a small opening with a flap at one end for air to enter and leave the cushion. To use it, one must first inflate it with air and then place it on a chair. An unsuspecting victim sits on the whoopee cushion, forcing the air out of the opening, which causes the flap to vibrate and produce its distinctive sound.

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If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And, if I can persuade you to laugh at a particular point that I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge it as true. — John Cleese

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Yeardley Smith
Yeardley Smith (born July 3, 1964) is a French-born American actress, voice artist, writer and painter. She is best known for her long-running role as Lisa Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. Born in Paris, France, her family moved Washington, D.C. in 1966. As a child, Smith was often mocked because of her unusual first name and her voice. She became a professional actress in 1982 after graduating from drama school and moved to New York City in 1984 where she appeared in the Broadway production of The Real Thing. Her first film role came in 1985's Heaven Help Us, followed by roles in The Legend of Billie Jean and Maximum Overdrive. She moved to Los Angeles, California in 1986 and received a recurring role in the television series Brothers. In 1987, she auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family on The Tracey Ullman Show. Smith intended to audition for the role of Bart Simpson, but the casting director felt her voice was too high so she was given the role of Lisa instead. She voiced Lisa for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into a half hour show called The Simpsons. For her work as the character, Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992.

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  • ... that the producers of the 1990 American comedy film Home Alone were threatened with legal action by the French director of 3615 code Père Noël, who alleged that it was a remake of his film?
  • ... that the sketch-comedy series The Fuccons stars a cast consisting solely of mannequins?
  • ... that many of the teen actors in the Jane Withers comedy film High School had been guests at her thirteenth birthday party?
  • ... that the title of the romantic comedy film Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven mentions the three places that had the biggest box-office appeal in the 1940s?
  • ... that comedy group Pomato's creations include a skit about a boyfriend who did not understand the difference between a sports bra and a bra, and an advertisement for the Hong Kong Police Force?
  • ... that "Storm Area 51" was a comedic Facebook event intended as a raid on Area 51 in search of aliens?

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Terms: Black comedyComedianComedy clubComedy of mannersConvention (norm)IronyKomosParodyPolitical satireRace humorRestoration comedySatireScrewball comedySurreal humourTabooToilet humor

Comedy genres: BouffonComedy filmAnarchic comedy filmGross-out filmParody filmRomantic comedy filmScrewball comedy filmSlapstick filmComic novelDramedyImprovisational comedyMusical comedyStand-up comedyAlternative comedyImpressionist (entertainment)One-liner jokeComedy genresSketch comedyTelevision comedyRadio comedySituation comedyTragicomedy

History of theatre: Ancient Greek comedyAncient Roman comedyBurlesqueCitizen comedyClownComedy of humoursComedy of mannersComedy of menaceComédie larmoyanteCommedia dell'arteFaceJesterRestoration comedyShakespearean comedyDadaist/SurrealistTheatre of the absurd

Comedy events and awards: British Comedy AwardsCanadian Comedy AwardsCat Laughs Comedy FestivalEdinburgh Festival FringeJust for laughs • Halloween Howls Comedy Festival • Melbourne International Comedy FestivalNew York Underground Comedy Festival

Lists: List of comediansList of British comediansList of Canadian comediansList of Finnish comediansList of German language comediansList of Italian comediansList of Mexican comediansList of Puerto Rican comediansList of Indian comediansList of British TV shows remade for the American marketList of comediesList of New York Improv comedians

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