Synopses & Reviews
If you're looking for a book that will teach you how to write comedy, we suggest you keep moving. You still have time to pick up a copy of Writing Big Yucks for Big Bucks
before the store closes. However, if you want to understand the bigger picture -- what is comedy, why do we respond to it the way we do -- then you've come to the right place.
What Are You Laughing At? presents an entirely new approach to comedy theory. It challenges long-held beliefs and shows how the three main theories of comedy (incongruity, superiority, and relief) are not in conflict; but rather, work as parts of a larger model. There are many examples pulled from the author's own experiences, writing for shows such as Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family. By the end, you'll have an understanding of just what happens when man meets comedy. It will change the way you hear laughter.
This book presents a comprehensive guide to all the variables that can come into play when we come into contact with comedy.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION OVERVIEWCommon Comedy TheoriesThe Comedic EventDocumenting the Comedic EventPART I: ELEMENTS OF CONTEXT: THE RECEPTION FACTORS
CHAPTER 1: THE RECEIVER AND HIS WORLD1-1. A Comedy Frame of Mind1-2. Early Reception Factors1-3. Levels of Social InteractionCHAPTER 2: ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION2-1. Modes of Communication2-2. Device and Specific DeviceCHAPTER 3: VEHICLES3-1. Vehicles3-2. Vehicle-based Reception FactorsCHAPTER 4: LEVEL OF CONTROL AND IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE4-1. Level of Control4-2. Identifying The SourcePART II: THE INCONGRUOUS PICTURE
CHAPTER 5: FUNDAMENTAL COMPONENTS5-1. The Receiver's Brain: Hard-wired for Comedy?5-2. The Triangle5-3. The Core VariablesCHAPTER 6: INCONGRUITY6-1. Incongruity6-2. Estimating Levels of Incongruity6-3. Types of IncongruityCHAPTER 7: COGNITIVE PROCESS7-1. Cognitive Process: Overview7-2. Level One: Straightforward Information7-3. Level Two: Gap-filling7-4: Level Three: RecontextualizationCHAPTER 8: VARIATIONS8-1. Exploring the Four Corners of the Triangle8-2. What are Practical Jokes?CHAPTER 9: COMEDY AND ENTROPY9-1. Sustaining the Laugh9-2. EntropyPART III: ENHANCERS AND INHIBITORS
CHAPTER 10: HOW COMEDIC INFORMATION TRIGGERS ENHANCERS AND INHIBITORS10-1. Overview10-2. On-going Social Needs: Superiority, Identification, and Inclusion10-3. Aspects of AwarenessCHAPTER 11: ELEMENTS OF THE JOKE'S COMMUNICATION, STRUCTURE, AND CONTENT11-1. Resuming the Chart: The Joke as a Whole11-2. Elements of Communication and Structure11-3. Elements of ContentSUMMING IT ALL UPThe Completed ChartFinal Thoughts and Acknowledgments