Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  .Introduction or summary.  (1) Humor as drive: sex drive, death drive.  (2) Humor as emotion: anger, sadness, joy, etc.  (3) Humor as thought: discrepancy, disconnect, contradiction, puzzles, etc.  (4) Humor as attitude: toward life.  ---  4/15/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  .Introduction or summary.  (1) Political nature of comedy.  (2) Sexual nature of comedy.  Suppressed libido.  (3) Sado-masochistic nature of comedy.  (4) Social nature of comedy.  Social protest: rebellion against power-holders.  Social ingratiation: pleasing and entertaining.  (5) Psychological nature of comedy: cheering self up.  ---  4/15/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  .This section is about  comedy.  Topics include: ( ) Analysis of jokes.  ( ) Appropriateness.  ( ) Audience.  ( ) Comedy (the created ideas).  ( ) Criticism.  ( )  Funny and happy.  ( ) Humor (the emotion).  ( ) Laughter.  ( ) Seriousness.  ( ) Types of humor.  ( ) What is comedy.  ( ) Why comedy.  ---  1/24/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  (1) Comedy that attempts to please, ingratiate, entertain.  (2) Comedy that attempts to challenge and confront.  ---  4/24/2005

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  A joke is a machine for laughing.  The joke moves toward a logical conclusion.  A joke ratchets inexorably toward the punchline.  ---  6/22/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Analysis of jokes.  (1) Subject matter, view, and argument.  (2) Emotion: humor plus what other emotion.  (3) Type of humor.  (4) How well it works (objectively, and on what audience).  How funny it is.  (5) Level of humor: how high or low brow it is.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Analysis of jokes.  The subject of the words vs. what the joke is really about (theme?) (implicit?).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Analysis of jokes.  What is funny and not, to who, why?  Jokes criticism: analysis and judgment.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Ancient, modern, and postmodern senses of humor.  Describe each, and joke types each used.  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  (1) Called for humor.  Well timed, apropos (on the subject at hand).  (2) Uncalled for humor.  Wrong type of humor, at wrong time, on wrong subject.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  Comedy depends on situation.  What is funny in one situation is not funny in another.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  In some situations talk of a specific subject is called for, and sometimes comedy about it is called for.  In others not?  It is a matter of appropriateness?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  Taking things too seriously vs. taking things too lightly.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  There's a fine line between humor and  (1) Jerk: stupid, inane.  (2) Asshole: evil, nasty.  (3) Sick, pervert: crazy, pathological.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  Two views.  (1) Some things we just don't joke about, vs. (2) it's ok to joke about and laugh about anything.  Nothing is immune.  It all depends how you do it.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Appropriateness.  Where do we draw the line to determine (1) What's funny and not.  (2) What we can joke about and not.  (3) What ends we are using our humor for.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience: (1) Readiness to laugh.  (2) General intelligence level.  (3) Humor intelligence level.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  (1) When you don't know what you are laughing at.  You don't know why it's funny, it's just funny.  Unconscious catharsis. Vs. (2) When you do know what you are laughing at.  You get the joke.  Conscious catharsis.  ---  12/30/1996

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  Every individual and society has their tastes for humor.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  Laughing without knowing why vs. laughing even when you know you shouldn't.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  Level of audience and scope of audience that a joke will appeal to.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  Sometimes people laugh at unfunny material.  Sometimes people don't laugh at funny material.  Know which is which.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Audience.  Why are some things funny to one and not another?  Even if they are at the same humor level.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Catharsis: in tragedy, in comedy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy (happy ending), tragedy (sad ending).  Everyone's life is an absurd tragedy by degree.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy = art = great ideas + great emotions (funny).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy and humor.  (1) Comedy as a form of art or entertainment.  (2) Humor as something that can occur anytime.  ---  01/23/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy and humor.  (1) Humor: a human emotion.  (2) Comedy: a form of art that deals with humor.  (3) Uses of comedy: (A) Satire.  (B) Abuse: anger.  (C) Mastabatory release: tension release without problem solving.  (D) Psychological healing: true catharsis.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy and tragedy can be in any art form.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy and tragedy.  (1) Comedy = philosophy (pure unemotional idea) + emotion (pure funny).  (2) Tragedy = natural accidents and human mistakes.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy and tragedy.  Always put a little comedy in your tragedy.  Always put a little tragedy in your comedy.  Seriocomedy, bittersweet, is best.  ---  03/13/1989

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy as art and creativity.  Comic as an artist.  The comic is an artist motivated by the urge to be creative.  Creativity is the urge to make something new, better and less boring.  ---  03/03/1998

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy depends on distance and situation or context.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy goals: write ultimate joke, on every subject, in every type of humor.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is about saying the right thing at the right time.  How does this compare to saying the wrong thing at the right time, or saying the right thing at the wrong time?  ---  6/23/2000

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is an emotional tension reliever, like crying.  Comedy is also a logic tension reliever, lets take a break from sanity and the real world.  It is liberating.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is art.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is closely linked to sadomasochism.  (1) Comedian as sadist: putting down other people, attacking others, picking on others.  (2) Comedian as masochist: class clown seeking attention even if it requires making a fool of self.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is difficult.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy is surprise.  Surprise of action (pratfall), or surprise of thought (pun).  Comedy is the unexpected (illogical, absurd).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy vs. order and chaos.  (1) Comedy as creating chaos when too much order exists.  For example, the manic comedy of the Marx Brothers involves creating chaos against a staid, ordered society.  (2) Comedy as creating order out of chaos.  For example, seeing a joke when others see nothing.  ---  6/8/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy, like life, is absurd but not happy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy, like the arts, is just encoding and decoding of ideas.  And this encoding and decoding is just a waste of time.  ---  06/05/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy: problem resolved, person learns and acts in time to avoid disaster and pain.  Tragedy: problem not resolved correctly, person does not learn in time to avoid disaster, unhealth, and pain.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy.  (1) Comic writer.  (2) Comedian (writes and tells).  (3) Comic (tells only).  (4) Comic actor.  (5) Clown (physical comedy only).  (6) Fool (moron).  (7) Heckler, mocker.  ---  12/30/1996

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy.  A comedy is a string of jokes.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy.  Four definitions.  Comedy as: happy ending, irony, justice, or absurdity.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy.  The political explanation for comedy.  Comedians are power seekers.  To mock is to try to seize power and accumulate power by belittling others.  Mocking, or comedy, is one way that people attempt to create social pecking orders.  This may be why most standup comedians are men.  Men seek power and dominance more than women.  So men mock more than women.  So men do standup more than women.  ---  9/25/2000

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Comedy.  Three theories of comedy.  (1) Comedian as sadist.  A person with an great deal of inner anger, that they end up directing at other people by making fun of other people.  (2) Comedian as person with low self esteem, seeking the attention and approval of others through laughter.  (3) Comedian as intelligent person, with acute observatory powers, who is strongly struck by the illogical, ironic, and paradoxical nature of life, and who points out this illogic to others, causing others to instinctively laugh when they think about it, having never noticed it clearly before.  ---  07/30/1996

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Conflict yields struggle, which yields either tragedy or comedy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Contra comedy.  Comedy as pathology.  What happens when there is only comedy?  What happens when everything is one big joke?  Then you have become a hyena.  ---  10/4/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Contra comedy.  You can make fun of anything.  You can mock anything.  If your goal is simply to make jokes then the opportunities are limitless, to the point of absurdity, i.e., to the point of almost being devalued.  Thus, there is a certain futility in some types of humor.  ---  2/10/2001

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Could humor be a biologically evolved mechanism or trick to cheer us up because sadness is an unhealthy state from an adaptive point of view?  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  (1) Some words are intrinsically funny sounding.  Example, ombudsman, diphthong.  (2) Some people are intrinsically funny.  Funny sounding (voice timbre and voice patterns).  Funny looking.  Funny acting (mannerisms).  Funny thinking (see absurd, absurd logic).  (3) Some subjects are intrinsically funny?  Example, sex, scat.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  (1) Somethings are funny once.  (2) Somethings are funny many times over, again and again (they last more than once).  (3) Somethings are funny for all time and places (classics).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Best jokes are really funny and perfectly delivered.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Degree funny (eh to very).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Degree humor challenges held ideas.  How aggressively it confronts them.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Funniest comedy episode on television.  (1) Quantity and quality.  Number of jokes per episode.  Funniest jokes per episode.  (2) Scope and variety.  Most subjects covered.  Most types of jokes.  (3) Audience reaction.  Made most people laugh.  Made most sullen person laugh.  Made best critic laugh most.  (4) Total humor = sum of above.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  How insightful vs. how funny.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  How much can a perfectly written joke say?  What can it say that other forms of communication can't?  What can't it say?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  How much power can a joke ideally have?  How much power does an actual specific joke have?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Jokes power to enlighten and entertain.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Criticism of jokes.  Profundity, importance, and usefulness of the joke.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Critiquing the comedy of Andy Kaufman.  (1) Any critique of the comedy of Andy Kaufman is clouded by the fact that he died young.  He thus becomes immortalized.  How would we rank him had he lived?  (2) In some ways, the comedy of Andy Kaufman was similar to the music of John Cage.  For example, take John Cage's piece of music that was simply five minutes of silence, or another that was just five minutes of the note C.  John Cage became famous for those pieces.  But were those pieces works of genius that no one else could create?  (3) Which leads to the question, "Is the genius in the thinking, or in the doing?"  Often anyone can think of an idea, but only one person has vision to put an idea into practice.  Is taking action on a simple idea when no one else will an example of genius, or is it an example of some other psychological trait?  (4) Then there is the question of simple devices that are not immediately obvious.  Take the paperclip, for example.  The paperclip is a very simple device.  Was the inventor of the paperclip a genius?  (5) The comedy of Andy Kaufman often incorporates elements of minimalism and Zen.  ---  11/27/1999

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Definitions.  (1) The comedy is a man made artifact.   The basic unit of comedy is the joke.  A comedy is a string of jokes.  (2) Humor is an emotion.  Humor is also known as funny.  Humor often produces laughter.  (3) Happiness is an emotion.  Happiness can result from humor (funny).  Happiness can also result from other things.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Does any species of animal other than man have a sense of humor?  Does any species of animal other than man make jokes?  Does any species of animal other than man understand jokes?  Does any species of animal other than man laugh?  Yes.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  (1) Are all funny people happy (funny meaning good comedians, good joke tellers)?  No.  (2) Are all happy people funny?  No.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  Confusion of terms.  (1)(A) To say, "I feel funny.", means, "I feel strange or weird."  (B) To say, "I feel in good humor.", means, "I feel happy."     (2)(A) To say, "That is funny.", means the same as, "That is humorous", means the same as, "I see humor in that."  (B) However, "That is happy.", is something we don't say.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  Do all funny things make us happy?  Is humor a type of happiness?  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  Is humor (funny) the same thing as happiness?  That is, is humor a type of happiness?  Two cases to the contrary: (1) We can be happy without thinking something funny.  (2) We can sense humor (funny) without being happy.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  One argument is that there is no such emotion as "funny".  There is only people figuring out or "getting" jokes by thinking, and then experiencing simple happiness as the emotional response when they solve the puzzle of the joke.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny and happy.  What is the relationship between funny and happy?  They are two circles that intersect.  One circle is named "Funny".  The other circle is named "Happy".  The intersection is named "Funny and Happy".  The remainder of the Funny circle is named "Funny, but not Happy".  The remainder of the Happy circle is named "Happy, but not Funny".  ---  10/15/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Funny.  (1) Funny defined as a personality trait of someone who is good at comedy.  Can create a joke.  Can tell a joke.  Is capable of making people laugh.  (2) Funny defined as a characteristic of well crafted jokes that are capable of making people laugh.  ---  6/7/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Good comedy: important ideas, important subjects, entertaining.  Bad comedy: unimportant ideas, unimportant subjects, not entertaining.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Good humor elevates, not degrades.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Happy subject, happy story, happy ending vs. sad subject, sad story, sad ending.  This is a simplistic, childlike, neurotic pain/pleasure dualism.  There are other emotions however, and anger for example does not always have a bad ending.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  History and criticism of comedy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  How do comedians justify their comedy?  (1) People enjoy humor and laughter.  (2) Humor and laughter is healthy.  (3) Satire is a social corrective.  ---  11/15/2005

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor as rebellion, anarchy, rule breaking, mooning authority and society.  ---  08/01/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is a power.  Humor is a tool.  Like any other power or tool, humor must be used and used wisely.  Used to do good.  Used to heal.  To do otherwise is to abuse it.  ---  10/30/2003

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is best as either an existential/general or specific/topical form of rebellion, opposition, mocking, or anger.  ---  04/15/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is criticism.  It can be constructive criticism or destructive criticism.  ---  12/20/1998

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is happiness?  Happiness is letting out emotions (catharsis).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is like masturbation.  A physical and emotional outlet for stresses that would be better thought about grimly and converted into drive.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor is psychologically and physically healthy.  (1) Raises spirits.  (2) To mock something, to give it the finger, is to say it hasn't beaten you yet.  (3) Gives hope: anarchic, rebellious.  (4) Improves physical health.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor, directed at the source, and told to the source, at the time of the insult, can be a way of achieving catharsis, i.e., get even by belittling people for their mild offenses.  ---  03/19/1989

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Creating humor is an intellectual exercise.  It keeps your mind in shape.  It keeps your wits sharp.  You can sharpen your wits on others.  Creating a joke is like building a puzzle.  Hearing a joke is like doing a puzzle.  Can you figure the joke out?  Do you get the joke?  (2) Humor is an act of bravery.  You are taking a shot at someone.  You are daring them to hit you back.  You are challenging them.  Wimps are not cut ups.  Cut ups are not wimps.  ---  12/30/1995

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Humor as a useful tool in social dealings.  (2) Humor as fun or play.  ---  06/20/1994

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Humor as anger channeled.  (2) Humor as libido channeled.  (3) Humor as joy (play).  (4) Humor as creativity (art).  ---  10/05/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Humor as emotion.  (2) Humor as attitude.  (A) An existential attitude about life.  (B) A political attitude that includes: lack of respect.  Power grabbing for high-power individuals.  Mocking and wise-cracking for low-power individuals.  (C) A sexual attitude.  Double entendre's, etc.  ---  4/14/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Humor as optimism: hope and joy.  (2) Humor as pessimism: sarcasm, cynicism, bitter, dark.  ---  4/14/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) People with keen sense of humor who are not expressive.  (2) People who are expressive, but with dull sense of humor.  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  (1) Useful use of humor.  Confront problems, solve problems.  (2) Abuse of humor, pathological humor.  Avoid problems, repression.  Defuse problem situations without solving problem.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Definitions of humor.  (1) Jokes.  (2) Ability to appreciate a joke.  (3) Ability to tell a joke.  (4) Sense of humor.  (5) Wit: intellectual.  (6) Laughter: emotion.  (7) Good humor: jolly, good natured, good willed, happy, happy go lucky.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Homes where the expression of humor and appreciation of humor is encouraged vs. not.  What kind of people does it raise?  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Not all happy is funny (ex. Serious joy).  Not all funny is happy (ex. Sad clowns).  ---  2/21/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  People laugh at jokes because they realize it is play, and play is fun, and fun causes laughs of joy.  It is reverting momentarily to childhood.  Silliness.  ---  02/22/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  The link between humor and happiness.  Humor and happiness are similar but not the same.  A joke can make you smile and laugh.  When you smile and laugh your brain chemistry changes and you get into a happy mood.  This is why comedians are important, because they help make people happy.  They help guard against depression.  Jokes and humor alone are not that important.  The happiness that jokes help bring is very important.  (The same thing for fun).  ---  11/5/1999

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  The power of humor.  (1) Humor can literally keep people alive by lifting them out of severe, acute funks.  Comedy, used wisely, can keep people alive.  (2) Humor can literally kill people.  A sharp barb can pierce a fragile heart.  Constant mocking can destroy self esteem and the will to live.  Comedy, used unwisely, can kill people.  ---  4/6/2001

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Two definitions.  (1) Humor as a regression to childhood.  A time of innocence and ignorance.  This is psychologically healthy in most cases.  It can be psychologically unhealthy in some cases.  (2) Humor as antidote to excessive seriousness.  There is a real danger in taking life too seriously.  Taking life too seriously can drive you mad.  Humor helps us not take life too seriously.  This is a psychologically healthy use of humor.  ---  3/13/2000

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Two types of humor.  (1) Language-dependent jokes.  For example, the double entendres of a pun.  (2) Language-independent jokes.  For example, physical humor, visual humor, musical humor and logical humor.  ---  11/25/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  When humorous and humorless people meet, what is the dynamic?  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Humor.  Why does humor work?  Because when we look back over a lifetime, what pleases us most are the stupid inanities.  ---  5/17/2001

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  I tell jokes because I'm afraid to admit my drives, emotions, and fears, to myself and others.  And afraid to take action to do something about them.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Importance of humor and comedy.  (1) Catharsis: mental health.  (2) Unconscious survival mechanism: we laugh at illogic and stupidity and illness or weakness in any form.  (3) Shows a rebellious bravery.  (4) A type of social correction: satire.  (5) Way of confronting problems without overt negative emotions and violence.  It is diplomatic.  (5) Laughter can help you deal with stress and thus avoid physical disease.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Is comedy optimistic or pessimistic?  Can it be either, or both?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Jokes have both a thought component (you have to think to get it) and an emotional component.  Attitudes are defined as combinations of thought and emotion.  Thus, comedy, jokes and humor is all about an attitude.  ---  3/10/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Justice and truth often cause us to smile and laugh.  ---  3/10/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Laughter and smiles.  (1) Do we laugh and smile every time we are happy?  No, only sometimes.  (2) Do we laugh and smile every time we hear something funny?  No, only sometimes.  (3) Do we laugh and smile under circumstances other than happiness?  Yes, sometimes.  (4) We laugh and smile under conditions of humor.  We laugh and smile under conditions of happiness.  We laugh and smile under conditions that are a mix of humor and happiness.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Laughter.  What is the difference between laughter and happiness?  ---  11/30/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Life is tragic and life is absurd, whether we acknowledge it or not, regardless of our attitude.  Comedy should be absurd but not happy, because life is absurd but not happy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Logic and humor.  Sometimes its a joke because one logic leads in one direction, but another logic leads in another direction.  ---  4/30/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Most important ideas about comedy.  (1) The beneficial effects of laughter (happiness, joy) on one's psychological and physical condition.  (2) Development of comedy tastes in an individual or society.  Development of comedy tastes intellectually, emotionally, and ethically.  ---  11/30/1997

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Most people tell you a joke that they think is funny.  The comedian tells you a joke that he thinks you will think is funny.  ---  1/25/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Not all jokes (comedy) are funny (humorous).  Some jokes, known as "bad jokes" are not funny.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Nowadays a slightly more sophisticated notion of humor has developed in many people.  These people are keyed into humor.  They realize humor can appear almost anywhere.  These people are on the alert for humor.  In addition, they are not only able to spot a joke, and tell a joke, they are also able to write or create a joke.  In fact, when a group of these people get together, the social goal is to have a continuous friendly game of "create the joke" in any conversation.  And so the definition of funny becomes not "seeing a joke that everyone else was able to see and sharing it" but rather "seeing the joke that no one else was able to see and sharing it".  ---  8/5/2000

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Purpose of comedy.  (1) Do good, get health.  (2) Catharsis, justice.  (3) Change vs. status quo.  (4) Improve vs. destroy.  (5) Social correction.  (6) Survival.  (7) Confrontation with or without violence.  (8) Bad uses of comedy: avoid, escape, ignore, or mastabatory.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Pushing the envelope (new material, new views) vs. playing it safe (old material, conventional views).  (1) Pushing the envelope tastelessly, i.e., shock comedy (Cursing?  Obscenity?  Sex?  Violence?  etc.?).  (2) Pushing the envelope tastefully.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Recursive humor.  Consider the following jokes from the humor section of the Notes: The Critic; Coda Cola.  These jokes have a quality that is recursive, iterative, almost algorithmic.  Apparently, there is something humorous about recursion.  Many jokes take a recursive pattern, in which the logical possibilities are winnowed down to till the punchline is reached.  It is amazing that the human ability for pure logic is linked to the human emotion of humor.  ---  2/15/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  See rhetoric, struggling, persuasion.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Seeing the good guy win, and seeing the bad guy lose.  Seeing justice done.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Seeing what is funny is one thing.  Feeling what is funny is another thing.  ---  4/30/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Seriousness need not exclude humor.  Opposite of seriousness is silliness and/or apathy, unaware of metaphysical situation and ethical importance of it.  Opposite of humor is sullen, somber, emotionlessness.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Seriousness.  Life without seriousness (all humor) vs. life without joking (all seriousness).  Which is worse, jokers or stiffs?  What is worse, being humorous in a serious situation or being serious in a humorous situation?  ---  09/01/1994

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Seriousness.  Serious does not mean without humor.  The opposite of serious is trivial (i.e., not confronting life's basic problems).  The opposite of humorous is humorless.  Humorless triviality is worse than serious wit.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  The high point of the comedian's art is to tell a joke that causes the audience to emit beverage from the nose.  ---  5/25/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  The opposite of comedy (happy) is not necessarily tragedy (sad).  The opposite of comedy (silly) can be drama (serious).  ---  10/29/2005

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  The world is illogical and absurd.  Thus, comedy is a case of, "fighting fire with fire".  ---  1/1/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  There are some natural situations we perceive as funny, but they are not comedies because comedies are man made.  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  There is something savage, barbaric and primitive about comedy.  Humor is one of our more base emotions.  To mock and heckle is to lash out in an animalistic way.  ---  1/5/2001

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Timing problems.  (1) Too fast.  Rushing the setup and the rushing the punchline.  (2) Too slow.  Too slow on the set up and then too slow on the punch line.  (3) Mixed.  (A) Rushing the setup and then too slow delivering the punch line.  (B) Too slow with the set up and then rushing the punch line.  ---  5/13/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  To joke of a thing is to say that thing is unimportant?  ---  06/30/1993

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Two views of comedy.  (1) Comedy as pathology.  (A) Those to whom everything is one big joke.  (B) Practical jokers who try to deal with their own inferiority complex at other people's expense.  (2) Comedy as healthy.  (A) Always keep a sense of humor.  (B) Don't take yourself or life too seriously.  ---  10/5/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types humor.  (1)(A) Abusive: hurt, sadistic, mock.  (B) Gentle: heal.  (2)(A) Self directed.  (B) Other directed.  (3)(A) Low brow and (B) high brow.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of comedy: Topical.  Observational.  Prop comedy.  Riddles.  Jokes.  Anecdotes.  Puns.  One-liners.  ---  4/1/2002

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Dry wit.  (2) Subtle humor.  (3) Sophisticated (cultured) humor.  ---  7/11/1998

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Happy and gentle vs. trenchant and biting.  (2) Morbid or black.  (3) Loud vs. quiet.  (4) Idiocy or dumb humor vs. wit.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Humor based on reason.  Humor based on logic.  The joke as illogical.  (2) Humor based on language, word meanings.  Puns.  (3) Humor based on emotion.  Emotional release.  Release of anger.  Dispersal of sadness.  Calming anxiety.  ---  6/23/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Humor of cruelty, whether directed at other people or at oneself, is not healthy and just.  (2) Gentle humor, directed at others or self, is healthy and just.  ---  10/15/2004

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Personal humor to cheer up self.  (2) Interpersonal humor to cheer up other people.  ---  6/23/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Social satire: illogic of society.  (2) Nonsense: illogic and absurdity of life.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  (1) Writing vs. performance.  (2) Physical (slapstick) vs. cerebral (topical).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Art comedy (high quality) vs. low comedy (poor quality).  Regardless of subject matter.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Comedy can range from high art to mere entertainment.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Comedy in written, audio, and visual arts.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Comedy of the dolt vs. comedy of the superior (mocker).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Four types of comedy.  (1) Fear comedy.  (2) Anger comedy.  (3) Sadness comedy.  (4) Joy comedy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Happy clown vs. sad clown (absurd and happy or sad).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Hard core comedy vs. light comedy.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Humor as a weapon to hurt vs. humor as a weapon to seduce.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Improvisational comedy = instantaneous writing and performance.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Intelligent humor vs. stupid humor (idiocy, lunacy, moronity).  What if we all acted dumb all the time?  What is to be gained?  Freedom?  ---  11/01/1994

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Mock: illogic, stupidity, pretension and pomposity.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Object (concrete) or subject (abstract) of humor: self, others, society, god.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  One basis of humor is the mistaken identity, or the mismatch, be it idea, verbal, physical (person, place, or thing).  Other bases of humor are surprise, exaggeration, non sequitur, taboo (ex. sex, scat, obscenity), fear tension and release.  ---  12/30/1996

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Optimism vs. pessimism.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  People who like attack comedy that pokes fun at the misfortunate are merely using comedy as catharsis for their misplaced anger.  Instead, they should attack the sources of their anger, not transfer it to and take it out on innocents, which is unjust.  ---  02/22/1989

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Self deprecating humor vs. attacking other individuals vs. attacking system, society, general group.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Simple (kids) vs. advanced (adults).  Low vs. high.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Slapstick, macabre humor, ethnic humor, sexual humor, one liners, anecdotes, scat and obscenity.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  The non-sequiter is a form of fear comedy.  They don't understand it, which causes confusion, which causes momentary fear and panic.  Then they laugh because they see it is nonsense.  Fear comedy is related to the thrill people get from being scared in horror movies.  ---  02/22/1989

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  The put down of (1) The stupid (which plays on our anger) or (2) The strange (which plays on our fear).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  The wit vs. the fool.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Tragicomedy, bittersweet.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Types of humor.  Understatement vs. overstatement (exaggeration).  Mistaken identity.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  Urge to make jokes: nervousness, energy.  Urge to listen to jokes: escapism.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  What is comedy?  (1) At worst: avoidance.  (2) At middling: temporary escape.  (3) At best: gets you to confront things that you need to, yet normally wouldn't.  It does this by sweetening it.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  What makes people laugh when they hear the truth?  What makes people depressed when they are lied to?  ---  02/20/1989

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  What's the highest form of humor?  Biting, sophisticated, important subjects, really funny, really enlightening, sarcastic.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  When is comedy useful?  When is comedy not useful?  When is comedy hurtful?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  When the comedian values the laugh more than the thought behind the laugh then the comedian has become the servant of humor rather than having humor serve his ideals, goals, and purposes.  ---  12/29/2006

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  You can mock anything as being any negative trait but the best comedy says, "I think such and such is ethically wrong and epistemologically false."  Humor for truth and justice.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, comedy.  ---  You could write a happy play without any jokes, but that would not be a modern comedy.  Modern comedy = jokes.  Ancient comedy = happy ending (i.e., the opposite of tragedy which is a sad ending).  ---  3/29/2002

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.