Barbara Alfaro

Another great blog post from Barbara Alfaro about comedy -- and I too am working on some comic [or what I hope will be] comic pieces. My feeling, though, is that a lot of humor -- think Dorothy Parker or Thurber -- just dates fast, the way that 30 Rock will date fast. It's because comedy is often topical, filled with proper nouns, like Cole Porter songs -- and to the extent that topics fade in importance, so do the laughs.

So, the comedy that stays with us has a few characteristics. Comedy can be a matter of language and style, like Waugh or Beckett-- or it can be a matter of what we call "character", which I think of as Dickens-Land. In Dickens, the people are funny, so the action and speech that emerges from them is funny. And then, of course, there is high concept or even farce, in which the actions themselves are funny-- so the plot itself has to yield lots of surprises and laughs.

And I think more than most forms, comedy is variable -- I hate Bugs Bunny, but he may tickle your fancy. I love The Lady Eve, but you may find it dated. Just like life, not everyone is going go laugh at the same thing.
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