Jump to content


- - - - -

The greatest works of comedy


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 tomh

tomh

    Sagredan

  • Members
  • 310 posts

Posted 06 September 2008 - 12:23 AM

What do you think are the greatest works of comedy?  Here are my choices:

Narrative: The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

Dramatic: "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare
Show me your warrant.

#2 The Heretic

The Heretic

    ironic nihilist & cheerful pessimist

  • Members
  • 3,281 posts
  • LocationEarth
  • Real name:Utter Kunt

Posted 06 September 2008 - 02:45 AM

I nominate George Carlin's stand-up material as the greatest work of comedy. Seinfeld (season 4 - 7) comes in a distant second. :mrgreen:

#3 AllBlue

AllBlue

    temporary configuration

  • Members
  • 669 posts

Posted 06 September 2008 - 03:43 AM

When I was growing up in the 1960s, we had these records that we listened to so many times we knew them by heart:
The Smothers Brothers - Think Ethnic
Alan Sherman - My Son, the Celebrity
Bill Cosby - Revenge; To Russel, My Brother, Whom I Slept With; Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow, Right!; I Started Out As a Child

Most anything by Dave Barry is pretty amusing.

The first 20 minutes or so of the movie Goin' South with Jack Nicholson.

Jean Shepherd - if you can find them, listen to some of his old radio broadcasts. And there's my husband's favorite, Shepherd's book, Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin - with Leonard Rossiter (this guy was great)

I'm with Campanella on George Carlin. And he just got better as he got bitter.

tomh - you were probably thinking more of books, but I haven't read that many that are truly comic works. Twelth Night was funny, read it a couple times. Much Ado About Nothing is also good time.

Edited by AllBlue, 06 September 2008 - 03:51 AM.
additions

knockin' myself out, gradually, by degrees

#4 parsec

parsec

    Guiduccian

  • Members
  • 691 posts

Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:13 AM

It may be a bit dated now, but I've always enjoyed it:
Who's On First?

#5 AllBlue

AllBlue

    temporary configuration

  • Members
  • 669 posts

Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:50 AM

Too funny, parsec! That one still makes me laugh!!!

Steve Martin's early stand-up routines were very funny. He's an intelligent serious sort of fellow in an interview situation, but his humor is silly stuff. His King of Hearts Come Down and Dance "card trick" is too silly for words, but it made me laugh first time I saw it. It's the same with all his early bits. Unlike Bill Cosby or George Carlin, his comedy depends on visuals. I don't think you'd want to sit and just listen to those old routines like you can Bill's and George's.

Here are a few writers I thought of:

P. G. Wodehouse’s books are very funny, especially the Jeeves and Wooster stories. A case could easily be made for his work as comic genius.

Stephen Potter’s Gamesmanship books are fabulous for tongue-in-cheek dry humor.

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books are fun. He owes a lot to Wodehouse.
knockin' myself out, gradually, by degrees

#6 Acephalous

Acephalous

    TGL Apprentice

  • Members
  • 51 posts

Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:56 PM

AllBlue said:

I'm with Campanella on George Carlin. And he just got better as he got bitter.

Eh... Carlin got more priggish as he got older in my opinion. He went from being incisive in his routines to just plain whining about every little thing that bothered him.

#7 tomh

tomh

    Sagredan

  • Members
  • 310 posts

Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:19 AM

I'm a fan of Cosby as well.

Cosby fans's trivia--name the scenario:

Oops.

Drunk: "Does he bite?"

That's all I remember.  I have to get his CD's as a Christmas present.
Show me your warrant.

#8 Xymox

Xymox

    TGL Student

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:27 AM

I thought Voltaire's "Candide" was one of the greatest, funniest satires ever penned, and Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" was by far the best satirical dark comedy ever filmed, by far.

#9 AllBlue

AllBlue

    temporary configuration

  • Members
  • 669 posts

Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:55 AM

Acephalous said:

Eh... Carlin got more priggish as he got older in my opinion. He went from being incisive in his routines to just plain whining about every little thing that bothered him.
For me, he was still very funny and very pointed in his criticisms. I'm sorry his voice is stilled.
knockin' myself out, gradually, by degrees

#10 maddog

maddog

    Guiduccian

  • Members
  • 579 posts

Posted 09 September 2008 - 12:43 AM

what do you mean by "comedy"?  What makes a particular work of comedy good?

#337

#11 BDS

BDS

    Guiduccian

  • Members
  • 987 posts

Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:44 PM

I’d like to second Allblue’s Stephen Potter nomination.  “Gamesmanship”, “Lifemanship”  and “Upsmanship” (sometimes combined into one volume) are hilarious.  I’m surprised anyone else knows these books.  I think they were written in the '50s.   Good choice, allblue!

As far as the "greatest works of comedy" -- it's too hard to choose.  Woody Allen's early stories were very funny -- but probably (like Potter's books) too "slight" to be "the greatest" -- especially if compared to Jane Austen's novels, or some of Mark Twain's novels which are just as funny, and nourish our other sensibilities as well as our sense of humor.

#12 DaveT

DaveT

    Galilean

  • Members
  • 1,676 posts
  • Real name:Dave Taylor

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:05 PM

Effective comedy is epitomised perfectly by a well-timed bottom burp.
Hola. Mi nombre es Iñigo Montoya. Usted mató a mi padre, prepárate a morir.

#13 Peter

Peter

    Torricellian Vacuum

  • Members
  • 221 posts
  • LocationUp from Pluck the Crow Point

Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:31 PM

View PostDaveT, on 02 December 2011 - 07:05 PM, said:

Effective comedy is epitomised perfectly by a well-timed bottom burp.

Like just as the coffin serenely slides into the crematorium furnace.

#14 soleo

soleo

    Torricellian

  • Members
  • 257 posts

Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:28 PM

A golden oldie for TGL:

Edited by soleo, 02 December 2011 - 10:36 PM.

...an uplifting representation of human life as a damn shame...
...only that which has no history can  be defined...

#15 DeadCanDance

DeadCanDance

    Transcendental Rebellion

  • Members
  • 1,000 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 02:47 AM

"London Fields" was a funny novel. The descriptions of the Oedipally grounded attacks of young Marmaduke against his father are so funny, I found myself literally crying with laughter- that rare, soul altering, penetrating kind of laughter. I suppose I found the scenes so funny because of the nature of power struggles between a parent a child. A child, so obviously dependent, physically weaker, etc, 'running the show' so to speak against or in spite of the desires of a parent, who at face value, it would seem in a greater position of power. Little Marmaduke is like a three year old Jackie Chan... it's just funny.

"The Big Lebowski" This movie unrelentingly pokes fun at 'nihilists'... "don't worry Donny, these men are cowards," Walter reassures. At one point Walter states, while again belittling nihlism, or nihilists more specifically, "say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, but at least they had an ethos." This film's script is one of my all time favorites. Who would have thought that German nihilists, a Vietnam vet who claims he could procure a severed toe by the end of an afternoon, a lazy, pot smoking, White Russian drinking bowler, a feminist whose works have been described as "strongly vaginal," and Steve Buscemi could make for a truly comic work of art.

"A Christmas Story" Maybe a little holiday bias here, but this deserves to be considered a great work of comedy, if anything for the scene when the young man approaches Santa Claus in the   mall / department store. It ends with Santa lightly positioning his shiny black boot on the young man's forehead and pushing him down the slide while giving a develish and sarcastic "ho ho ho." I still laugh when I see the scene.

Edited by DeadCanDance, 28 December 2011 - 02:49 AM.

"Mankind can keep alive thanks to his aptitude for keeping his humanity repressed. And now for once, you must try to face the facts, mankind is kept alive by bestial acts." - William S. Burroughs




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users