Monday, May 6, 2013

The Looney Tunes Show

 The previous Looney Tunes theatrical shorts used an anarchic style of comedy with settings and situations which could change drastically from short to short. The Looney Tunes Show places those same characters into a stable modern setting in the form of a situation comedy. It first premiered in 2011 on Cartoon Network and has run for 2 seasons so far. 

The character designs were changed for this series. In general they have larger heads, hands, and feet and are also skinnier. In this incarnation Daffy has sharper angles and bugs remains very round. Porky is very similar but slightly thinner. Unlike the other characters Lola Bunny was first introduced in the 90s film Space Jam and has gone from being sexualized design to a goofy design. 

Even though the characters keep their animal like appearances they are treated the same as the regular humans they interact with. The two leading characters are Bugs and Daffy who have become roommates. Lola is Bug’s stalkerish girlfriend and Porky is mainly a friend of Daffy. In some ways the show is a throwback to the sitcoms of the 90s. It features adult characters who are single but dating and who have moved to the city (although they live in a suburb of it and not an apartment).

The plot lines feature a mix of everyday occurrences with common sitcom tropes. In one plotline Bugs goes to a doctor who says he has been drinking too much caffeine. This triggers Bugs to stop drinking coffee and start drinking a large number of energy drinks which turn out to be worse for him than the coffee. Everything returns to normal at the end of the episode just in time to have another zany romp in the next one.

The humor mainly comes from the characters and the situations they get into but there is still some slapstick humor and more physical violence than in a live action sitcom. The show also makes use of squash and stretch animation for exaggerated expressions.  

Fortunately there is no laugh track but the cartoon can feel like a multi-camera sitcom despite having been made in a completely different way. It has the characteristics of a multi-camera approach like the ones Newman Levine outlines in “Upgrading the Situation Comedy” in that it’s “showcasing both verbal and physical comedy” and it is “characterized by pronounced gestures and facial expressions, and loud, distinctive, and even obnoxious voices.” The music for the show is very similar in style to that form of sitcom. The show is like a single camera sitcom mainly in the way it can use the camera dynamically for many different types of shots.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Convergence Comedy Clips

Doo Daa Doo Doo (Tim & Eric--& Pierre) want to meet your dad.

Here comes the landlord, one of the originals from Funny or Die.

More recent: Michael Shannon reads Insane Sorority Letter

From 1997, Troops.

Stork Patrol.

Lazy Sunday.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recombinant Comedy, Transmedial Mobility, and Viral Video

Gurney, “Recombinant Comedy, Transmedial Mobility, and Viral Video”

Jerry Palmer’s theory says that comedy arises from the tension between plausibility and implausibility or "the way in which the comic moment plays upon preexisting notions of how things 'should be.'”

                      Box Monster Attack Prank [Click to watch]
Nothing scarier than a stockroom and a creative person.

Humor can be found in shared expectations of culture. In order to be comedic the set up and pay off must both be understood by the viewer.

Comedic timing and short length are key elements to many viral videos. In this way they are very similar to some of the first comedic films that wee made.

Metacomedy is comedy about comedy. This includes the sketch comedy of "Tim and Eric Awesome Show" with it's segment “Vista Fresh Mobile Viral Clip of the Week.” in the way the segment references elements of their own show and also parodies the involvement of corporate a sponsor. Another example of metacomedy is "Hitler finds out about the Downfall Parodies" which is a parody of previous parodies using footage of Hitler from the movie Downfall.

This refers to the parts of media that can be removed or modified without destroying the whole. This would include the individual skits on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Sesame Street.”  Viral videos act modularly within a video site and by being embedded in other sites. These videos can be used in different contexts to generate new comic texts.

In a similar way to how Abbott and Costello’s sketch comedy “Who’s on First?” routine became widely reused. The internet allows users to share their variations of previous comedic videos with a wide audience.

It is when “data of one format are coded into another.” Any pre-existing form of film or video footage can easily be converted and uploaded on to YouTube. Sound, music, photographs and many forms of art can also be used in a video. These can then be rearranged and edited into any number of combinations.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Carlin 7 Words

Pryor on SNL: Word Association

Eddie Murphy: "White Like Me"

Murphy vs. Pryor

Bringing the Black:  Eddie Murphy and African American Humor on Saturday Night Live
                                                               by Raquel Gates

Gates argues that the incompatibility between social critique and mainstream success obscures the socio-political significance of Murphy's work on SNL.  (Critics have dismissed his work as apolitical).


Pyor began in clubs and eventually performed on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show.



Murphy's main reason for success was that he placed cultural commentary into more conventional-even stereotypical-performances.  His development of his own characters gave him plenty of opportunities to do this.

Still even more characters...


Murphy's characters bolstered the ratings, allowed him to develop an even more successful movie career while "bringing the black" onto the set of SNL and eventually, it's rightful place in popular culture.

Monday, April 8, 2013

And Now ...the News?

And Now ... the News? Mimesis and the Real in The Daily Show

Mimesis & Real

*  Definition
*  The Daily Show
*  Implications

The Daily Show

*  Background
*  Description
*  Interviews
     1) Ambush
     2) On-Site
*  Extras

Jon Stewart

*  Personal Characteristics
*  Coordination of the show
*  Status

Monday, April 1, 2013

Family Guy



Family Guy " I dream of Jesus" episode from Oct-5/2008
                     " No meal on wheels" episode March-25/2007

1- Equal opportunity offender 
  •  Race

  • Religion

  • Gender

  •  Pop Culture  


  • Stereotypes

  • Culture

2- Click culture

  •  TV networks expansion online 
  • User control TV content
  • Integration into social network 
  • Merchandise-spin offs- web forums

3- Target audience
  • Male 18-34 "lost boys" = alienate certain audiences in order to appeal to others.
 4- protest
  • parents TV council
  • - Everything is categorizes at the same level  "IT IS JUST A JOKE" 

" Family Guy naturalizes the notion that its audiences everyday lived experiences is one in which everyone and everything is capable of being made fun of"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jillian Sandell
I'll Be There For You: Friends and the Fantasy of Alternative Families

"The promise of the show is that in the face of heterosexual failure and familial dysfucntion, all you need are good friends."  (p.142)

I.  Must See TV
  • Actors endorse consumer products and a way of life
  • Depicts "alternative families"
  • Excludes racial/ethnic 'others'

II.  Primetime Families

    • Ella Taylor (1989)
      • TV reflects the social shifts in society and speaks to our collective worries and yearning to improve
      • Transitions
        • 1950s - TV focused on family OR work
        • 1970s - TV focused on family AND work ("work families")
        • 1990s - the "Alternative Family"
          • focuses on a synthetic family comprised of mostly non-familial persons, relationships with friends, neighbors

III.  The Personal is Ironic
    • Jane Feuer (1992)
      • Sitcom: develops by reacting to and against previous sitcoms (p.146)
        • Identities tied to locations (couch, apartment)
      • Trauma is funny
        • Dealing with negative life events is a shared (funny) experience
        • Dealing with "                              " is more fun with friends
      • Alternative families can substitute for support where 'real' families or 'work' families have failed
IV.  Families We Choose
  • Kate Weston (1991)
    • Families "of choice" remain the focus of affective life
      • Families of choice: groups of people with common social and economic needs and resources, and with a personal past and a shared sense of future (p.147)
      • Creates a family environment, emotionally and materially supportive, with people of a close, special relationship
  • Stephanie Coontz (1992)
    • Myth of the white, middle-class family
    • Access to create "alternative families"
V.  The Fantasy of Incest
  • Failures of the members within the "alternative family" to hold relationships
    • Group does not approve
    • Lifestyle of "alternative family" does not support
      • Lack of support or disapproval of interpersonal relationships within and outside of the group
        • Both disrupt the balance and dynamic of the alternative family

VI.  The Whiteness of the Hail
  • Presented as white, consumed by white viewers
  • Difference/diversity represented by "sexual minorities"
    • Carol
    • Joey and Chandler
    • Rachel and Tad
  • White friends,... white lovers?
    • Julie vs Emily
Conclusion:  Sandell seems to be supportive of the premise of the show in regards to alternative families, but less supportive in the content of the Friends family, and how their existence is established by the absence or presentations of 'others'.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Upgrading the Situation Comedy

Sitcom Comedy and Taste

Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men

Modern Family and 30 Rock

Traditional Style-Multi Camera style

·         More economical

·         Faster

·         Requires bright, flat, even lighting to make shots from angles workable ( a look generally considered visually cheap, uninteresting, and non-naturalistic by cinematographers and craft professionals)

·         Follows typical norms of storytelling and scene construction

·         Dramatic development depends on the pattern of “setup-punch line,  setup- punch line” where the actors have to wait for audience laughter (or laugh track)- low brow humor

The basic sitcom structure

·         Showcases verbal and physical comedy

·         Encourages broad theatrical performances style (gestures/facial expressions/loud-obnoxious voices)

New Sitcom Style- Single Camera style

·         Artistically distinguished

·         More aggressive use of sound and image

·         Camerawork and editing as sources of humor

·         Realistic awkward silence verses laugh tracks

·         Prefer to be smart and observant rather than never-ending streams of jokes and gags

·         Seek to expand the range of stylistic and narrative options available to American television comedy-upgrade? (sophisticated and cinematic qualities)

“Like a Movie”- Single Camera   -The cultural status of film adds prestige to the new sitcom style when it’s understood as cinematic and anti-televisual

·         Each shot has own set up

·         Shooting schedule

·         Multiple day shooting

·         Editing and music signal humor in a mire cinematic way than verbal jokes and pratfalls

Class vs. Mass: Costs and Benefits of Up scaling

·         CBS v. NBC- Fan cults or ratings

·         New style limits the target audience


Do you feel that a sitcom that utilizes a laugh track is an insult to the audience intelligence?

·         Kind of informs the audience if the joke is merely funny or down right hilarious

Do you all watch sitcoms for pure enjoyment, or do you watch for the style and aesthetic appeal?

Good article on Modes of Sitcoms

Here's a good article from CNN on comedy and modes of production.

Heat Vision and Jack

Part One

 Part Two Embed Disabled? Go to

 Part Three

Action Family!

Part One Part Two Part Three

Monday, March 4, 2013

Robot Chicken meets George Lucas

I'm Gonna Git You Suker

Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show

Directed by Porter for Edison.


Bakhtin explores Rabelais’ folk humor during the Middle Ages and Renaissance era.  He argues that Rabelias concepts were misunderstood.  Explores two concepts based on Rabelais's humor.

I.   Carnivalesque humor
  • There are no hierarchical existing in religious, political and moral values  during carnival; allows for atmosphere of humor and chaos. The time of carnival everyone is seen as equals
  • Through costume and mask, individuals are allowed to temporarily exchange their  bodies or images to reflect that of another.  Fools become wise and royalty become beggars.
  •  Examples: clowns, jugglers, giants, and dwarfs
II.  Grotesque realism
  • Rabelais works displayed scatological humor.
  • Essential principle is the lowering of all that is high, spiritual, ideal, abstract. (Bakhtin)
  • Parodies during the mid evil period involved grotesque body concepts.
  • Focus was on the lower body and midsection; involved discussions and images of devouring,    defecation, urination, eating drinking and birth.
  • Use of unrealistic characters were seen as humorous.

 Modern examples of Rabelias' images and characters.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


This response is meant to be very reflective. Consider how the reading and lecture talked about how comic performances can have various layers that you recognize while watching: the character, the actor as character, the actor as someone you've seen before. How do these layers contribute to or impact your experience of the film and particular scenes?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Anarchic Comedy in The Big Lebowski

The scene in The Big Lebowski that introduces the character of Jesus is a great example of anarchic comedy. The scene is performance orientated and removes itself from the narrative of the story. Additionally, the style in which it is shot differs greatly from the rest of the scene. The character almost gets his own "music video" to perform in as he is introduced. The film also has other moments in which the narrative is forgotten for the sake of comedy in the dream sequences that Lebowski has throughout the film.

Freddy got fingered: Anarchic Comedy

This Comedy from Tom Green is new age example of an Anarchic Comedy. Tom Green plays a cartoonist whose career is going nowhere quick so he comes up with a plan to reach success using his brother. In this clip of the funniest moments from the movie you can see why its movie may not be popular in the theaters  but became a cult classic!

Monty Python

Monty Python in general is a good example of Anarchic comedy because of its non stop jokes and comedy gags. In this particular scene, King Arthur is disrupted on their journey for the Holy Grail and challenged by a Black Knight to a dual. This scene, and the entire movie, is not meant to be taken seriously and is a play on a series of comic gags, and exaggeration.

Father's Day at Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital is a TV series by David Wain. It follows a group of doctors working at a...Children's Hospital. The show is highly anarchic, containing several random physical gags that have nothing to do with the preceding scene in every episode. The clip I have selected shows the group at their apartment, talking about their plans for Father's Day. The conversation then turns into a class on similes and metaphors.

Clip starts at 2:08.

Scrub's Daydreams

These are some of the clips that happen when the protagonist J.D. from Scrubs has his daydreams. He is a textbook anarchic character because he constantly flies off the narrative storyline to show comic relief. Similar to the animated series, Family Guy, Scrubs uses its cut scenes to really emphasize that this show is a comedy. Many of the daydreams that J.D. has occur when someone has a ridiculous statement or analogy and he just visualizes in his own way. Though much of the story happens actually in the hospital in Scrubs, most of the comedy comes from the anarchic style created in J.D.'s head.

Hot Shots!

Anarchic comedy emphasizes affective immediacy, keeping the audience engaged from the first scene to the last scene usually through comic gags. This type of comedy utilizes recognizable performers, and highlights individual performances rather than narrative development. The film Hot Shots! Is a great example of anarchic comedy. Hot Shots! is a 1991 comedy parody film starring Charlie Sheen, a very popular and recognizable actor.This film carries the same comedic characteristics as Airplane!, and primarily spoofs the 1986 film Top Gun,but also uses material from various films such as Rocky, Superman, and Terminator to name a few. The plot centers around an unstable fighter pilot attempting to overcome the disgrace of his father's past, and complete a mission to attack an Iraqi nuclear plant. The film's narrative, in alignment with anarchic comedies, lacks in development and is pieced together through separate comedic performances which lead to an absurd, and rather appropriate, shoot-out ending. The following are examples of the comedic bits that keep the story line progressing:

Key and Peele and Gender

This clip from the first episode of Key and Peele presents an interesting way to talk about gender and comedy.

Mommmmm......The meatloaf

In this clip from the movie "the Wedding Crashers" we can see how the narrative is being disrupted by Will Ferrell's character. This is one of the most funny moments from this moment but irrelevant as well. It is clearly a comedy but it has nothing to do with the narrative or the story. The clip shows how John (Owen Wilson) is talking to Chazz (Will Ferrell) but Chazz keeps interrupting the conversation. He is constantly screaming to his mom to bring some meatloaf ( Min 1:20, 2:45, 3:55) in a childish behavior, not proper for someone of his age. The interruptions makes this clip an example of disruption of the narrative , but a really hilarious one.

Jim Carrey Dumb & Dumber Movie Clip - The Most Annoying Sound in the World

Jim Carrey/ Jeff Daniels Dumb and Dumber Move Clip "Most Annoying Sound in the World."

This movie clip was taken from the movie "Dumb and Dumber where both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play the characters Lloyd and Harry. Both of them are in a van shaped as a dog and proceeds to pick up "one of the other character." who is trying to go after them.  However, both Lloyd and Harry thinks that the person is a hitchhiker and explains that they don't pick up hitchhikers. But they pick him up anyways. So, both of them entertain the other person by first playing game called "You're It." Then, both Lloyd and Harry makes a weird shrieking noise that annoys the heck out of the guy. Finally, the person requests to turn on the radio but both Harry and Lloyd doesn't have one. Therefore, both tell the person, we'll sing to you instead and the song they both sing is "Mocking Bird." made as a comedy. Hopefully this fits has an example of "Anarchic Comedy."

Two Scenes of Spectator Address

Here is the opening sequence of Fatty & Mabel Adrift:

Here is the movie queue scene from Annie Hall:

Shake-a-spear in love

Scary Movie (2000) is a spoof on the numerous teen slasher films that came out around the mid-late 90’s. The movie follows the same plot line of Scream/ I know what you did last summer by having a group of teens hunted down and murdered. In this scene Brenda and Ray head to the movie theater for a date, Ray leaves to go to the restroom and leaves Brenda in the theater by herself. Brenda begins to ruin the other moviegoers experience by doing all the things that should not be done during the movie. Unknowingly to Brenda the killer sits right beside her. The Anarchic comedy starts when the audience starts to murder Brenda instead of the killer. Some of these audience members include a Rabbi, a Buddhist monk, and the Pope.

Anchorman Fight Scene

This fight scene (and its aftermath) may be an example of "narrative enclosures" characteristic of current Comedian Comedies as described by Drake (citing Seidman).

In Anchorman, I think there is also a broader cultural referencing going on, beyond that of the individual performers. For example, another narrative enclosure might be this impromptu harmonizing:

Anchorman is thus providing broader pleasures of "retro" comedy, where there is pleasure in laughing at 70s music as well as network news (not to mention fashion and hair styles).

Three Stooges on the Jersey Shore

The quality of this clip is terrible (it is recorded off someone's TV screen) but it is an interesting example of "intertexts" and different registers of comic performance. Of course, there is also a major  twist on "comedian comedy" since these aren't or can't be the "real" or original Three Stooges. It is, however, the real Jersey Shore cast.

Ferris Bueller Day Off Twist And Shout

This is the scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off that the three friends are at the parade while skipping school and instead of trying to lay low Ferris decides to make the most of his day and ends up singing on one of the floats in the middle of the parade. His performance appears to be at random along with the people dancing down the steps, the construction workers on the scaffolding, and Ferris' father in his office. The rules of skipping school don't apply in this scene, keeping a low profile has gone out the window and it becomes much more about having fun that not getting caught.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Drake - Additional Visuals

Example of Presentational Mode of Performance

In this episode of Martin, the main character Martin, addresses the live audience and viewers at home watching directly, who are all in on the joke. By doing this, Martin is colorfully bringing attention to the fictionality of the moment, which is best captured at the 1:28.

Look at me perform! 

In a different episode of Martin, Martin is losing his case in court and goes to drastic measures to get out of it. In this scene he is not only performing for people watching live and at home but for the "extras" and other actors of the series. In our textbook, Drake uses the example of Jim Carrey's performance in Liar Liar, which also took place in a courtroom. Both scenes demonstrate how characters are given time and space to perform for an audience. For the Martin clip, this is best captured at 53 seconds, and for the Carrey clip, this is best captured from 11 seconds to a minute. Also note, that the extra actors in both clips react in astonishment to the behaviors of the star performer. Drake believes the background actors react this way to motivate narrative and to react as if they are committed to conventions of classical realism.

Low Blows? Theorizing Performance in post-classical comedian comedy

Drake's main argument: Analysis of performance in comedian comedy adds depth to concept and can be used to understand performances of other genres

Understanding Performance

  • Graham Thompson - "mode of assessment," textual/character/actor interaction with audience
  • Performer first → Actor (recognized as celebrity, previous roles) → code/conventions (performance style, genre, typecasting)
  • Multiple semantic frames
  • Special decoding skill, specific to culture
Post Classical Comediam Comedy
  • Steve Seidman - "comedian comedy"
  • Centered on actors
  • Acknowledges role of comedian 
  • Opposition v. Hollywood
Performance and Narrative Motivation 
  • Comic performance - mode of performance 
  • Comedy performance - context/situation makes it funny
  • Loose narrative, logical justification 
    • Nutty Professor & Me, Myself, and Irene
  • Scenes for space "Look at me perform!"
    • Liar, Liar & Martin
  • Presentational mode of performance
    • SNL & In Living Color 
Physical Comedy, Ostentation, and Pastiche 
  • Jim Carrey - The Mask 
    • Cocobongo Club scene 
  • Autonomous - Bracketed sequence of performance, internal audience 
  • Integrated - Performance subject to narrative
  • Coherence holds little power 
Body Comedy and Cultural Value
  • Excessive v. Praised 
    • Low, dumbed down 
  • Social Disruption 
  • Quotation and intertextuality 
    • "Alrighty then!" - The Cable Guy/Ace Ventura
  • Laughter depends on orientation 
  • Audience witnesses/conspirators 
Dumbness of film less important then recognition of performer and references to his or her star image.