Dark Humor Black Humor/Comedy or Dark Humor/Comedy: The

Dark Humor
 Black Humor/Comedy or Dark Humor/Comedy:
o The subgenre of comedy and satire in which laughter arises from
cynicism and skepticism.
o Black humor is often a satire on the topic of death.
o Jonathan Swift is generally regarded as the originator of the this
subgenre; you might remember him as the guy who wrote that essay
about eating babies (“A Modest Proposal”).
o In black humor, topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo,
specifically those related to death, are treated in an unusually humorous
or satirical manner while retaining their seriousness.
o The intent of black comedy, therefore, is often for the audience to
experience both laughter and discomfort, sometimes simultaneously.
o This always provocative form of comedy emphasizes three interrelated
 Man as beast.
 The absurdity of the world.
 The omnipresence of death.
o While populism views human nature as inherently good and the world
as rational, with life after death, black comedies typically make life out
to be a cosmic joke.
o At its essence, dark humor skewers society's most sacred serious
subjects—especially death.
 Some of Mr. Ambrose’s favorite examples of dark humor:
o As I Lay Dying (novel by William Faulkner)
o Catch 22 (novel by Joseph Heller)
o Choke (novel by Chuck Palahniuk, who also wrote Fight Club)
o Fargo (film by the Coen brothers)
o Hostel (film by Eli Roth)
o Little Miss Sunshine (film by Michael Arndt)
o “Kim” (song by Eminem)
 Can you list any other examples of dark humor that you know?
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English 11 Honors: American Literature
Mr. Ambrose
Dark Humor
Dark Humor in Little Miss Sunshine
View chapters 13 and 14 (“A Long Life” and “Never Give Up”). – 10 minutes
In what ways does this scene demonstrate dark humor?
What other similarities to As I Lay Dying do you note in the film?
Dark Humor in As I Lay Dying
How do the following scenes from As I Lay Dying demonstrate dark humor?
 Anse’s desire to get new teeth (chapter 9: Anse)
 Dr. Peabody’s visit to the Bundrens’ house (chapter 11: Peabody)
 Vardaman’s drilling holes in the coffin (chapter 16: Tull)
English 11 Honors: American Literature
Mr. Ambrose