|WEEK #||TOPICS||READINGS, AUDIO, AND VIDEO|
|Unit I: What Is Comedy?|
|1||Stations of the Fool – Laughter in History||
Plato. “The Basis of Comedy is Malice.” Chapter 1.1 in Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory & Criticism. Edited by Magda Romanska and Alan Ackerman. Methuen Drama, 2016. ISBN: 9781474247887. [Preview with Google Books]
Aristotle. “On the Origins and Function of Comedy.” Chapter 1.2 in Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory & Criticism. Edited by Magda Romanska and Alan Ackerman. Methuen Drama, 2016. ISBN: 9781474247887. [Preview with Google Books]
Bakhtin, Mikhail. “Rabelais in the History of Laughter.” Chapter 1 in Rabalais and His World. Translated by Helene Iswolsky. Indiana University Press, 2009, pp. 66–82. ISBN: 9780253203410. [Preview with Google Books]
Crick, Olly. “The Stations of the Fool.” Comedy Studies 8, no. 2 (2017): 167–81.
Bergson, Henri. “The Comic in General - The Comic Elements in Forms and Movements - Expansive Force of the Comic.” Chapter 1 in Laughter: an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. Floating Press, 2008. ISBN: 9781877527241. [Preview with Google Books]
Critchley, Simon. “Introduction.” Chapter 1 in On Humour. Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 9780415251211. [Preview with Google Books]
Koester, Megan. “Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in Comedy.” Vice, December 3, 2015.
Helizer, Mel, with Marc Shatz. “The Recipe for Humor.” Chapter 3 in Comedy Writing Secrets: The Best-Selling Book on How to Think Funny, Write Funny, Act Funny, and Get Paid For It. 2nd edition. Writer's Digest Books, 2005. ISBN: 9781582973579.
Herring, Richard, and Jo Caulfield. “The Comedian’s Toolbox,” The Guardian, September 20, 2008.
“The New Yorker Radio Hour: Jerry Seinfeld, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Jon Hamm with David Remnick.” The New Yorker, January 5, 2018. (Listen to “Jerry Seinfeld Gets Technical”.)
|Unit II: The Elements of Comedy|
Trudeau, Garry. “The Anatomy of a Joke,” New York Times, August 1, 1993.
Dikkers, Scott. “The 11 Funny Filters.” Chapter 6 in How to Write Funny: Your Serious, Step-By-Step Blueprint For Creating Incredibly, Irresistibly, Successfully Hilarious Writing. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014, pp. 106–11. ISBN: 9781499196122.
Neal Brennan: 3 Mics. Directed by Neal Brennan. Color, 65 min. 2017.
“The Royal Academy of Farting: Benjamin Franklin to the Royal Academy of Brussels, 1781.” TeachingAmericanHistory.org.
Twain, Mark. “How to Tell a Story.” October 1895. Mark Twain in His Times Homepage, University of Virginia.
Bechdel, Alison. “Dykes to Watch Out For” Strip Archive.
Preston, Brooke, Caitlin Kunkel, Carrie Wittmer, et al. “New Erotica for Feminists.” McSweeney's Internet Tendency, February 6, 2018.
Goldstein, Jessica M. “Hi, It's Us, All the Fourteen-Year-Old Girls in America.” McSweeney's Internet Tendency, December 5, 2017.
Huber, Lucy. “Please Forgive Us at Blue Apron for This Week's Meals. We've Been Having a Tough Time Lately.” McSweeney's Internet Tendency, July 31, 2017.
Hare, Michael, and Nell Stevens. “Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of Masculine Perseverance.” McSweeney's Internet Tendency, April 24, 2017.
Mencken, H.L. “On Being an American (1922).” Mondaock Valley Press.
Nordquist, Richard. “H.L. Mencken and 'The Libido for the Ugly'.” September 27, 2017. ThoughtCo.
Ephron, Nora. “A Few Words About Breasts.” Genius.
Allen, Woody. “The Whore of Mensa.” The New Yorker, December 16, 1974.
|6||Pantomime and Physical Comedy||
Dale, Alan. “Comedy is a Man in Trouble.” Chapter 1 in Comedy is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick In American Movies. University of Minnesota Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780816636587. [Preview with Google Books]
Dillon, Brian. “Another Fine Mess: Nine Theses on Slapstick.” Frieze 110 (2007) 212–17.
|7||Anarchistic Comedy, Dada and Other Nonsense||
Forbes, Adam. “Nihilistic Light Entertainment and Metamorphic Linkages: Dada and Contemporary Comedy.” Comedy Studies 8, no. 2 (2017): 197–216.
D’Harcourt, Ashlynn. “Fire in Her Belly: Gendered Standards of Comedic Discourse.” Flow, July 7, 2017.
|8||Stand Up Comedy||
Limon. John. “Inrage: A Lenny Bruce Joke and the Topography of Stand-Up.” Chapter 1 in Stand-up Comedy in Theory, or, Abjection. Duke University Press Books, 2000. ISBN: 9780822325468. [Preview with Google Books]
Double, Oliver. “`[T]his is Eating your Greens, This is Doing your Homework´: Writing and Rehearsing a Full-length Stand-up Show.” Comedy Studies 8, no. 22 (2017) 137–53. (Skip the introduction, read pp. 140–51.)
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert. Directed by Jeff Margolis. Color, 78 min. 1979.
Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. Directed by Joe Layton. Color, 82 min. 1982.
Maria Bamford: The Special, Special, Special! Directed by Jordan Brady. Color, 49 min. 2014.
Aziz Ansari Live in Madison Square Garden. Color, 58 min. 2015.
“Dave Chappelle Stand-Up Monologue - SNL.” YouTube.
Guest lecturer: Michael Portnoy
[R] “Herr Valentin.”
[R] “Comedy For Real and How It Got That Way (Maybe).”
[R] “The Theater of the Actual.”
“Introducing Wrixling...” Wrixling.
“Trailer: 100 Beautiful Jokes, 2014, Stedelijk Museum.” Stranger Games.
|10||“Real” Performance: The Case of Andy Kaufman||
[R] “Power Deadpan, Sincerity and `Kidding´.”
“Jerry Lawler Shoots on the Andy Kaufman Feud.” YouTube.
“Andy Kaufman - SNL.” YouTube.
“Andy Kaufman on Letterman (October 15th 1980).” YouTube.
Man on the Moon. Directed by Milos Forman. Color, 118 min. 1999.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. Directed by Chris Smith. Color, 94 min. 2017.
Fraser, Andrea. “Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk.” and “Official Welcome.” Chapter 9 in Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser. Edited by Alexander Alberro. MIT Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780262562300.
“Send in the Clowns: Humour as a Weapon.” Vimeo.
Waisanen, Don. “The Comic Counterfactual: Laughter, Affect, and Civic Alternatives.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 104, no. 1 (2017): 71–93.
Note: This unit is optional and may be done in concert with, or in place of, Week 12’s unit on counterfactual comedy
This is Spinal Tap. Directed by Rob Reiner. Color, 82 min. 1984.
Waiting for Guffman. Directed by Christopher Guest. Color, 84 mins. 1996.
Documentary Now! Season 1, Ep. 4: The Eye Doesn't Lie. Directed by Alexander Buono and Rhys Thomas. Color, 22 mins. 2015.
Listen to one of the following:
“2 Dope Queens.” New York Public Radio.
“Anna Faris is Unqualified.” Soundcloud.
“With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus.” Soundcloud.
“SAM TRIPOLI - WTF Podcast with Marc Maron #908.” YouTube.
|14||Presentations of portfolios||No readings, audio, or video assigned|