TPST-136 Comedy
Spring for 2016-2017
No faculty information available
This introductory course offers wide-ranging critical (and creative) analysis of practices, examples and theories of comedy across a diversity of performed comedy forms and genres including plays, solo performance, film, television and stand-up. The course incorporates case studies, weekly screenings, research, and rigorous debates and discussions about why comedy is vital not only to everyday living, but to the human species as a whole. Students will examine various forms of comedy through history (commedia dell’arte, vaudeville, mockumentary, etc.) theories of how comedy works, the neurobiology and psychology behind comedy, the nature of ridicule, and political comedy. We will engage with a variety of artists and their work, including: Moliere, Chaplin, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sarah Silverman, Spalding Gray, Bill Irwin, Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, the Marx Brothers, Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, Steve Martin and Bill Cosby; we will dig into comic masterpieces including Some Like It Hot, The Great Dictator, The Simpsons, South Park, The Aristocrats, All in the Family, The Daily Show and Dr. Strangelove; we will attend stand-up comedy clubs and comic plays (as available). Finally, students will draw the connections between comedy and students’ major courses of study, as well as their ethical, human and political concerns. This course is intended for students from an array of majors.

Credits: 4
Prerequisites: None
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