humor

Choose an example from today’s media (or from the past) that is of interest and inspiration to you. This may require some creativity on your part. To give you some suggestions, in the past students have presented on topics:

political humor; internet humor; silent comedy; women in standup; ethnic/cultural humor; comedian’s mind; self-deprecating humor; comparison of comedians or shows; visual/street art humor (e.g. Banksy). Please note that physiology/chemistry of laughter will not be permitted as topics for this project.

You should choose an example of comedy that you like or are well familiar with, so that you can discuss and analyze in terms of the ideas and theories you have learned in this class. In your Presentation and Essay, you will make references to theories of humor or other ideas from the articles by Critchley and Freud (for example: incongruity or surprise as staples of humor; 3 theories of humor; the “true comedian’s” joke; sense and non-sense in jokes, and others). You should choose a topic that you like and that you will be able to write 4-5 pages about. You will analyze or compare and contrast the structures/techniques of comedy or humor genres/aspects of your choice. Make sure your essay is not a descriptive comparison but a focused analysis with claims and arguments. **If you want to change your topic from the Presentation, you can do so with my approval.

Your essay will be informed and supported by the theory of humor as we have been studying this semester. I remind you that the overall purpose of the class is to understand what makes humor humor as such. Thus, the goal of your essay is to contribute to this understanding given your chosen examples. In your essay you will discuss structural elements that produce the effect of ‘funniness’, and how your particular examples of comedy contribute to that explanation (e.g., what is a “true comedian’s joke” and how is it expressed in a comedy show or a comedian of your choice?). Your essay will have to include the following:

2 references (e.g. quotes) to theoretical readings (i.e. articles by Critchley and Freud);
1 reference (e.g. quote) to an outside source researched on your own;
Analysis of your particular examples of comedy/humor (what makes them effective and funny?).

What is an academic essay?
An academic essay is a formal expression of your researched ideas/arguments that may be based on your own opinion or ideas but that are also combined with your EDUCATED and RESEARCHED knowledge. Again, you will have to incorporate quotes or ideas from the articles read for this course.
You will analyze or compare and contrast the structures/techniques of comedy or humor genres/aspects of your choice. Make sure your essay is not a descriptive comparison but a focused analysis with claims and arguments. **If you want to change your topic from the Presentation, you can do so with my approval.

Your essay will be informed and supported by the theory of humor as we have been studying this semester. I remind you that the overall purpose of the class is to understand what makes humor humor as such. Thus, the goal of your essay is to contribute to this understanding given your chosen examples. In your essay you will discuss structural elements that produce the effect of ‘funniness’, and how your particular examples of comedy contribute to that explanation (e.g., what is a “true comedian’s joke” and how is it expressed in a comedy show or a comedian of your choice?). Your essay will have to include the following:

2 references (e.g. quotes) to theoretical readings (i.e. articles by Critchley and Freud);
1 reference (e.g. quote) to an outside source researched on your own;
Analysis of your particular examples of comedy/humor (what makes them effective and funny?).

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