ENG 118 No, Seriously...What's so Funny? Writing About Humor

Peter Sapira, T Th 10:30 AM-11:50 AM

Nietzsche called maturity the rediscovered seriousness of a child at play. What is the meaning of comedy, in light of this "seriousness of the child at play"? Why do we laugh at what, and in what way? How do we distinguish silly comedy (puns, slapstick, manners, "situation" and "sketch" comedy) from serious comedy (satire, parody, irony, and tragic-comedy)? This course will examine such questions on comic platforms including film, music, videos, short stories, comics, and more. We will explore, among other topics, the continuities and disruptions of themes and the affectivity of the comic encounter from pure "clowning" to savage social commentary.