The Comedy Film

Matthew Marshall
Course #
MDST 3502
Online Course?
CLAS Course
Days of the Week
Session II
Course Dates
June 20 to July 14
Course Times
3:00 pm to 5:15 pm

The Comedy Film is a survey of the development of the comedy genre studying its major styles and personalities from the Silent period until today. We will analyze the unifying characteristics that connect comedy films. Our central question is ‘What makes us laugh?’ What are the precise combinations of elements that cause laughter? Think of Comedy films as having specific genetic codes. Your task will be to look for evidence of comedy DNA in all the films you study and trace the influence of each film in subsequent films. Students will learn to identify the various types of comedy, such as slapstick, farce, deadpan, absurdist, screwball, romantic comedy, parody, satire, black comedy and study the formal and contextual conventions of the genre.