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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ENGL 54.02 Arts of Laughter: Comedy and Criticism

What makes us laugh? Does laughter have the power to change the world? Can comedy transform society? These are only some of the questions that this course addresses. This course examines literary works, stand-up comedy, rom-coms and classic Hollywood comedy, and sit-com television (among other comedic forms) in order to consider the capacity for comedy to criticize the status quo and effect social change. It also investigates theoretical approaches to comedy and laughter, such as Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic interpretation of jokes and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of laughter, which ask why we laugh in the first place. Literary works and films may include Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, and Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck. We will also discuss stand-up performances by the likes of Aziz Ansari, Louis C. K., and Margaret Cho; sit-com programs including I Love Lucy, Blackish, and Fresh Off The Boat; and skit shows such as Saturday Night Live and Chappelle’s Show. Students will have the opportunity to not only write about comedy but also produce and perform comedy. Enrollment limited to 30. 

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:LIT; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

Course Group IV