100 Years of Comedy


Comedy has been around since the first cave man tripped coming out of the cave. And people have been laughing ever since. It’s infectious, yet it makes you feel better instead of sick. It can be loud and it can be silent. It can sneak up on you and it can be in your face. We can enjoy it alone or in a large group. It can be complex or it can be simple. It can be endearing and it can be rude. It can be flattering and it can be upsetting. It can have us smiling or shaking our heads. It can be silly and it can be serious. It can be smart and it can be stupid. Comedy is an enigma. But it makes us aware. And it makes us human.

Simply put, comedy is great and I have chosen to dissect it here. I will go back and take a look at the last century in comedy and I will attempt to pull out events, teams, movements, entities, and individuals that have molded comedy through the years. There is no way that I will be able to name them all. I will simply mention some of those that I feel are essential to comedy during this period. Please forgive me if I miss something or someone.

Wikipedia describes comedy as (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōidía) refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or to amuse by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film and stand-up comedy. It goes on to say, for the popular meaning of the term “comedy”, see Humour. So I went to Humour and found this definition, Humour, or humor—see spelling differences—is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. I think the combination of the two definitions work best.

I think real comedy is very broad. And I think that our ability to find something funny is based off of our own experiences and knowledge. That’s also another reason why comedy changes and grows. It’s very organic. And of course, it’s very topical. Things that we find funny today won’t necessarily be funny tomorrow. But that’s also one of the most wonderful things about comedy. It never ends. It will be ever changing.