Comedic genres  

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In 1963, Roger Corman directed The Raven, a horror-comedy written by Richard Matheson very loosely based on the poem, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. It stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff as a trio of rival sorcerers.
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In 1963, Roger Corman directed The Raven, a horror-comedy written by Richard Matheson very loosely based on the poem, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. It stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff as a trio of rival sorcerers.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
comedy, humor, derision

Comedy may be divided into multiple genres based on the source of humor, the method of delivery, and the context in which it is delivered.

These classifications overlap, and most comedians can fit into multiple genres. For example, deadpan comics often fall into observational comedy, or into black comedy or blue comedy to contrast the morbidity or offensiveness of the joke with a lack of emotion.

Type Description Famous comedians/comedy shows
Black comedy or dark comedy Black comedy deals with disturbing subjects such as death, drugs, terrorism, rape, and war. Some dark comedy is similar to the horror movie genre. Television examples include Brass Eye. Chris Morris, Jim Norton, Bill Hicks, Denis Leary, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Penn & Teller, Patrice Oneal, Rich Vos, Jeff Duran, The League of Gentlemen, Christopher Titus, Sacha Baron Cohen, Doug Stanhope, Brother Theodore, Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein
Blue comedy Comedy based on sexism, racism and homophobic views, also based on Sexual jokes and in which the comedian uses a lot of swear words. Jim Davidson, Andrew Dice Clay, Bernard Manning, Jeff Duran, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, George Lopez, Doug Stanhope, Tommy Tiernan, Redd Foxx, Bob Saget, Ron White, Dave Attell
Character comedy Character comedy derives humor from a persona invented by a performer. Much character comedy comes from stereotypes. Andy Kaufman, Paul Eddington, Andrew Dice Clay, Rich Hall, Tim Allen, John Gordon Sinclair, Lenny Henry, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Ryan, Steve Guttenberg, Steve Coogan, Bip, Jay London, Larry the Cable Guy, Sarah Silverman, Rob Brydon, Peter Helliar, Harry Enfield, Margaret Cho, Little Britain, Stephen Colbert
Improvisational comedy Improvisational (sometimes shortened to improv) comics rarely plan out their routines. Prime examples of this kind of comic can be seen on the television shows Curb Your Enthusiasm Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Thank God You're Here. Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Paula Poundstone, Paul Merton, Tony Slattery, Josie Lawrence, Jim Sweeney, Steve Steen, Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Drew Carey, Greg Proops, John Sessions, Neil Mullarkey, Kathy Greenwood.
Observational comedyObservational comedy pokes fun at everyday life, often by inflating the importance of trivial things or by observing the silliness of something that society accepts as normal. Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Mitch Hedberg, Billy Connolly, Ray Romano, Dane Cook, Dave Hughes, Ricky Gervais, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Gaffigan, Kathy Greenwood, Ellen DeGeneres, Peter Kay, Russell Peters, Demetri Martin, Tommy Tiernan, Carl Barron, Lee Evans, Michael Mcintyre
Alternative comedyDiffering from traditional punchline jokes which features many other forms of comedy such as Observation, Satire, Surrealism, Slapstick and ImprovisationAlexei Sayle, Mark Steel, Dave Gorman, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, Ron Sparks, Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Sean Hughes, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmonson
Physical comedy Somewhat similar to slapstick, this form of comedy uses physical movement and gestures. Physical comedy is often influenced by clowning. Jim Carrey, Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, Conan O'Brien, Mr. Bean, Lee Evans, Max Wall, Matthew Perry, Kathy Greenwood, The Three Stooges, Lano & Woodley
Prop comedy Comedy that relies on ridiculous props, or everyday objects used in humorous ways. Carrot Top, Jeff Dunham, Gallagher, Timmy Mallett, The Amazing Johnathan
Surreal comedy Surreal humour is a form of humor based on bizarre juxtapositions, absurd situations, and nonsense logic. Spike Milligan, Eddie Izzard, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey, The Mighty Boosh, Steven Wright, Monty Python, Vic and Bob, Jack Handey, Harry Hill, The Kids in the Hall, Conan O'Brien, Tim and Eric, Paul Merton.
Deadpan comedyNot strictly a style of comedy. Telling jokes without a change in face expression or change in emotionJack Dee, Jimmy Carr, Steven Wright, Peter Cook, Buster Keaton, Bill Murray, Jim Gaffigan, The Office, Les Dawson, Mike Birbiglia, Mitch Hedberg, Bruce McCulloch, Demetri Martin, Elliott Goblet
Topical comedy/SatireTopical comedy relies on headlining/important news and current affairs. It dates quickly, but is a popular form of comedy for late night talk shows. Bill Hicks, Chris Morris Dennis Miller, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Andy Hamilton, Bill Maher, Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Chris Morris, Kathy Griffin, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Stewart Lee, Rory Bremner, Ben Elton, David Cross, Lewis Black, Dave Chapelle, The Chaser, The Late Show, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week
Wit/Word playWit and word play are more intellectual forms of comedy based on clever, often subtle manipulation of language (though puns can be crude and farcical). Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare, The Simpsons, Oscar Wilde, Woody Allen, George Carlin.
Insult ComedyInsult comedy is a form of comedy which consists mainly of offensive insults directed at the performer's audience and/or other performers. Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Andrew Dice Clay, Frankie Boyle, Sam Kinison, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, Marcus Valerius Martialis, Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli.
Mockumentary A fiction film that parodies the conventions of documentary style. Borat, This is Spinal Tap, The Monkees, The Rutles, Summer Heights High, Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo.
Cringe ComedyA comedy of embarrassment, in which the humour comes from inappropriate actions or words. Usually popular in television shows and film, but occasionally in stand-up as well. Ricky Gervais, Richard Herring, The Office, Alan Partridge, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Peep Show, The Proposal
Sketch A small episode of comedy practised and recorded. Jennifer Saunders, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, Firesign Theater, In Living Color, Catherine Tate.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Comedic genres" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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