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The early 1900s saw the rise of popularity of movies. It didn’t take filmmakers long to realize that audience does not simply love to watch the moving pictures – it loves to laugh much more. Even the five-second-long Fred Ott’s Sneeze – the first movie copyrighted in the US – is considered to be a comedy! At first, technology only allowed shooting silent movies, so comedies mostly relied on visual humor and timing. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd gave rise to slapstick comedies, where actors had to exercise their talent to impress the viewers without uttering a word. Time passed. Technology evolved to offer a wider range of opportunities to make the audience laugh. The addition of sound also helped to enhance the comic effect – screenwriters began to incorporate verbal humor and devise complex situations to put their characters into.
Here are the numerous sub-genres of comedies you can watch now (with examples):
- Comedy of manners satirizes the lifestyles of a social class (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Lost in Translation)
- Fish out of water comedy places the main character in an alien environment (Crocodile Dundee, Freaky Friday)
- Dark comedy makes the viewer laugh at taboo subjects like murder or war (Clockwork Orange, Fargo)
- Parodies and spoofs satirize and mock other films or genres (Scary Movie, Hot Shots)
- Gross-out films focus on toilet humor (Hangover, Eurotrip)
- Romantic comedy centers around a relationship (When Harry Met Sally, Love Actually)
- Screwball comedy became popular at the beginning of the filmmaking era; it is built on physical humor and often represents unbelievable situations (Three Stooges, Bean).
During the 1950s comedy films experienced major changes, largely because of television. More people would prefer to stay at home rather than go to the cinema to seek entertainment, which lead to cinemas’ losing the most part of their audience. Filmmakers decided to shift their products to television in order to compensate for the loss of profit. Many full length projects were morphed into series of shorter episodes at that time, marking the beginning of sitcoms. The most prominent examples of early – and still popular - sitcoms are I Love Lucy and The Abbott and Costello Show.
The evolution of technology led to the appearance of more complicated genres like sci-fi comedies, action comedies, etc. In fact, many viewers even call Back to the Future one of the funniest comedies of all time.
Do you love to laugh, too? We offer you to play Comedies quiz to test your knowledge of comedy movies of different decades and entertain yourself without having to leave your cozy couch!