How to Think Like a Comedian (And Not Be One)

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2020-05

Authors

Raju, Sindhu

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Abstract

This paper is a tribute to a fascination with comedy. It focuses specifically on humor analysis pulling apart the pieces that explain why something is funny. The three legs of this paper are how to analyze humor, what is truth in comedy, and techniques for creating humorous content. The paper does not concern itself with psychological or evolutionary explanations for humor, but rather on the preexisting elements of the content itself. The expected conclusion is a loose formula for comedy, estimated to be some combination of truth and incongruity: a reconciliation of paradox. The methodology is rooted in the three years I spent studying comedy – stand-up, improv, short stories, sketch, satire – with a fervor that is achieved only before the dream is deferred. As I plan to leave college with subdued comedic aspirations, I take this thesis as a last chance to lay it all down –to tell others and remind myself of all that I’ve learned, and the impact of internalizing the comic’s worldview.

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