Blog 4.10 - Over and Over Again


      The thing about humor is, it changes.  It's also culturally conditioned -- the information we understand can best be manipulated to a storyteller’s need. In the 1970’s, for example, a movie called Car Wash was huge success; it was about African-Americans working in a car wash (fair work, but not too glamorous compared to the other options available in an urban setting).  40 years later, the urban stories have been so transformed by media that the original humor is lost on contemporary audiences.  

Read these two articles:

       * Slate: The Humor Code, McGraw

       * 8 Characters of Comedy, Sadita

     Then watch below: one movie comes from the 1930's, and it made people laugh their heads off.  The second comes from the 1980s and it made people laugh their heads off.  The last comes from your generation, and it makes people laugh their heads off.  Watch all three, see how they are shot, look at the clothes they are wearing, and tell me how each director made his audience laugh:

     What is the difference between these scenes?  How are they shot?  What actions make them funny?  Even if you don't laugh, can you explain the humor?  How does editing play a role in the experience of watching these scenes?


An important rule of analysis: write in a different tone than the one being examined.  Therefore, using an analytic tone (technical terms and cause/effect), explain the elements that make these scenes work.  Review your different kinds of shots and angles.  Review sounds and cuts.  In your paragraph, explain the correlations between the different pieces

© Jeff Thomas,