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The Function of Comedy in Contemporary Society

In a contemporary context, comedy is defined as a piece of art, the main intention of which is to amuse, but it has other functions, including the educating one and political satire. There are different forms of comedy, namely, alternative comedy, which incorporates other subtypes such as satire and observation. Blue comedy is sexual by nature, while black one features disturbing topics such as death or war. On the other hand, character comedy involves humorous characters that are invented by comedians, and musical comedy, the humor of which is derived from music. There are also other forms, including observational comedy, sitcom, sketch, and wit. Notably, comedy is used to entertain, educate, as well as to deliver political points to viewers among others. For instance, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah highlights daily top headlines via a sharp and reality-based lens, including political news and pop culture, in a bid not only to make people laugh, but also to educate them and to make political points and to change the way they look at the world. Notably, entertaining shows such as Saturday Night Live and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as standup comedians, have taken the current entrainment industry by storm with their creativity and imagination to show their prowess and continue to make audiences laughing for as long as they live. Moreover, they reflect society and issues common for many people, even if such may be contentious or taboo, influencing their outlook and causing changes. Therefore, this essay seeks to explicate the fact that comedy is used for different purposes, other than entertainment, including educating viewers and making political points, while explaining how comic devices are used to support the aforementioned functions. Comedy is considered as a genre of entertainment and a constituent of amusement. It is a prolific contributor to many forms of entertainment, such as opera, theatre, literature, and films among others. In other words, all types of comedy use amusement in a bid to capture attention of the audience. For instance, the longest-running American animated sitcom series called The Simpsons uses situational comedy depicting the Simpson family and their life in a typical American town serving as a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle. The show uses a lot of brazen humor, wittiness, pragmatism, and intelligence to make its audience glued to their screens at home. It explains why the series has been aired for many years to the extent of surpassing Gunsmoke. The element of entertainment is widely covered in The Simpsons using sassy humor through cultural references covering a wide societal background to ensure that all types of viewers are captured within the play. The show’s background is usually spiced up with jokes and sight gags to keep the audience entertained throughout the show. In addition, the entertainment element is ensured with self-referential humor in some of its episodes, such as “She Used to Be My Girl”, where the Fox News Channel vehicle was driven in the streets with a large placard bearing the words “Bush Cheney 2004” and using Queen’s rock song “We are the Champions”. It was in an allusion to the 2004 U.S. presidential election, releasing tension from political matters, and the conformist prejudice in Fox News. Catchphrases are another method used by the animators of The Simpsons to make the audience entertained. Every character, both primary and secondary, uses a famous word, such as “Excellent” and “Ay, caramba!”. Additionally, satire is another genre of comedy that serves as an entertainment piece of art through humor. For example, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is a good example of a topical comedy that relies on auspicious news and the prevailing state of affairs to entertain its viewers. The show incorporates humorous remarks and interviews that relate to prevailing issues and act as the most entertaining element for the viewers. Notably, the whole show is designed to induce its audience to laugh continuously as well as educate them. Comedic reports on prevailing issues as well as interviews with renowned comedians and people related to these stories make the show as entertaining to the viewers as possible. Remarkably, political satire is widely used in The Daily Show as a means of entertainment and release of tension. Another type of comedy used in this show to entertain the audience is called a sketch show, which is normally shorter and is performed by recurring and exaggerated characters with comedy music or comic songs played from the background. The Daily Show is also among many of the long-running television shows in America, which is also aired by various television stations in other countries, including India and Israel. The comedy is said to be entertaining because of funny characters and witty Trevor Noah shown in all of its episodes since its start and up to date. Without doubt, most comedy genres seek to entertain the audience, and it is for this reason that most shows are said to be among the most viewed television programs of all times, as well as the longest running television series, not only in America, but also in other countries and continents. Comedy also serves as an educational tool in relation to comic devices commonly used in contemporary society. Notably, it allows people to laugh, while at the same time being able to learn from it in order to deal with certain situations in life. Comedy is used as a teaching tool because of the fact that it helps to overcome barriers to appropriate comprehension and enables people to process information with ease. Comic drama can be a fantastically powerful device to connect with students and to make learning enjoyable and noteworthy. It should be noted that surveys have been revealed that comedy viewers are more informed than those who do not watch comedy. For instance, viewers of Jon Stewart in The Daily Show, which belongs to the genre of topical comedy, are more informed of political matters than others who do not watch the show. In the recent years, political satire has become widely used in most comedy shows, especially the recent educative one called The Daily Show. The surveys reveals that viewers of the latter know more about political issues, for example, presidential candidates and election issues, as compared to those who do not watch such and related shows. Additionally, another example of an educative comedy genre is a sitcom show How I Met Your Mother, which is typically filmed on set in front of a live studio audience or on location. The comedy is said to be educative considering various aspects, including the fact that everything happens for a reason, especially because almost everything that was applied in the show came back later. For instance, Barney leads a bachelor lifestyle throughout the series to the extreme by using a playbook crammed with varied spontaneous lines and techniques to record women. Consequently, when Barney ultimately falls in love with Robin and plans to make a marriage proposal, he applies an exceptionally intricate technique that takes several chapters. However, Robin comes across the final page of Barney’s playbook detailing the technique and immediately gives in to his proposal. In such a case, viewers can learn from the show that everything that happens is for a reason, and that planning is advantageous, whereby a failure to plan means that a person is planning to fail. As such, viewers and audiences are intrigued to make plans and other necessary arrangements to be able to succeed in everything, in which they partake. In other words, viewers are advised not to take things for granted. Another educational aspect in comedy is improvisational theatre, techniques of which are not only used in drama programs to train actors in preparation for a film, but also in education as a way of enhancing expertise in communication, problem solving, and teamwork. Students can develop and apply these skills in order to become creative problem solvers, effective communicators, and good team players, especially when preparing to join the corporate world. For instance, the American comedy TV show entitled Curb Your Enthusiasm makes its viewers laugh their head off, as well as offers a unique opportunity to learn one or two things such as how to argue out and win a case rather than stand accused and convicted of crimes that they might not have committed. Audiences can learn how a witty character such as Catalan can walk freely maintaining his innocence and distancing himself from the fatal accident. In addition, the audience learns to appreciate the role played by lawyers in a case and the importance of seeking their advice before facing the jury. Therefore, comedy is indeed a source of education where viewers and audiences can learn and gain knowledge of various issues. The most vivid comic device used in Curb Your Enthusiasm includes repetition, which acts as a source of education for the audience. In most comedy shows, such as Shit My Dad Says, which was formed from a famously trending catchphrase, the use of repetition is widely used as an important tool of education. A hyperbole serves for the same purposes in most comedy shows. For example, Brian Regan is a stand-up comedian, who uses hyperbole in a bid to exaggerate statements and reflect strong feelings or communicate a strong impression as an effective way to make the audience realize the importance of such statements and gain knowledge necessary in their daily lives.