A comedy aimed at British audience Romantic

Comedy started of as a silent film in 1985 where it first began to
show in television programmes
In those days comedy relied very much on slapstick comedy as it
was very hard to portray comedy in another form with the absence
of dialogue and speech
First ever comedy movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IooPPi1YzkM ‘Watering The
Most modern audiences might not find this funny at all, but however
this is more likely to be funny to a traditional audience as this is the
only form of comedy there were being exposed to. So therefore we
can assume the consumers in the 19th century were still ‘passive
audiences’ – they were convinced to believe what they see on
comedy movies to be funny. Whereas, active audiences, who are us
modern consumers have been exposed to more of the media and
different forms of comedy so therefore we have the chance to
choose what we find funny.
Chaplin relied very much on slapstick comedy which is
based on natural events, e.g. falling off a bike because of a
flat tyre. Audiences are able to relate to this therefore they
find it funny. Many directors in this modern society has been
influenced by Chaplin’s approach and include these types of
slapstick features in modern trailers/movies. This just shows
how the history of comedy still has an influence in modern
humour, even though us modern audiences have a different
sense of humour to traditional audiences. Therefore
suggesting that the old humour is still there but it has just
become even more engaging and interesting with the
inclusion of dialogue and speeches in movies.
Old comedy: (written by Aristophanes) consists satire, where the government and public figures were criticised.
Also included farcical events, sexual innuendos and a lot of fooling around.
New comedy: based solely on love and relationships
Due to the advance in technology, silent movies started becoming the least popular trend in the 1930’s –
1950’s and now comedy is being taken into a new level.
In the 1960’s darker and serious comedies then started to come in which included surreal events.
Verbal communication in trailers started becoming more in spirit, and slapstick is being used less and less.
Verbal humour includes: puns, innuendos, sarcasm, parodies, etc.
For example: ‘Two Thousand Maniacs’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta14crhEWaM
Now in our recent trailers:
We include a bit of all. Although verbal comedy has become more popular, Slapstick comedy is used as
well as Verbal comedy in our recent trailers. Slapstick appealing to more of a younger audiences and
includes trailers like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Hangover’. Although Black comedies are rare today, quite recent
ones include ‘In Bruges’. Many recent comedy trailers include aspects of old comedy and new comedy. For
example romantic comedies such as ‘Think like a man’ includes aspects of new comedy and trailers such
as: ‘Grown-ups’ include nudity which are aspects of old comedy.
One other point! In the early 1900s black people used to mocked in shows and were seen as comical
figures with white men painting themselves black and as clowns. However regulations has become strict
over the years – this will not be accepted in movies or trailers.
What makes
us laugh?
Farcical: comedy is achieved through exaggeration and extreme characters in outrageous
circumstances that seem to lose control and become absurd. A lot of this is played in The
Simpsons movie by Homer
Timing: In comedy, a beat is usually used to enhance a joke. A beat is a small pause that is
usually used after the character expresses the joke, giving the time for the audience to react
back to the joke, however often the pause is placed before a line to build expectation. This is
used many comedy trailers E.g. ‘The Internship’.
Unexpected events: for example in the trailer ‘Grown-ups 2’ we see a bull in the character’s
Sarcasm: It is often used in response to an initial statement or comment in order to mock the
stated idea or statement. Sarcasm often features irony (for instance, someone drops an item
someone else shouts "Ooh, that was SO clever.")
Irony: Irony is where the opposite of what is expected happens or where someone says the
opposite of what they mean.
Double entendre: this is a typical cheeky British humour. When a statement has a double
meaning. Typically one of the interpretations is rather obvious whereas the other is more subtle.
The more subtle of the interpretations is typically sexually suggestive.
Satire: mocking the public and government figures; it is based on social criticism. E.g. the play
‘The School for Scandal’
Misunderstandings: take this scenario for example: Joe is holding a large girder in the round.
Fred is holding a large hammer.
Joe: "When I nod my head, you hit it." Joe nods.
Fred hits Joe over the head with the hammer.
Stereotypes: stereotypes work because we immediately recognise the character and so we are
familiar with what sort of person this is without too much information needing to be given.
•David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard state that being funny includes
the following:
• Pain: this includes both physical and emotional pain, for example hitting
someone, or someone falling down. This type of humour has been
included in comedy through out the years, including the tradition
comedies in the early years. Remember the first slapstick comedy
‘Watering the Gardner’ and the trailer ‘Life of Brian’ – they all include
some type of pain. Also it seems to be that ethnic jokes which are
emotional pain are also really funny.
• The Unexpected: for example you tell a joke and no one laughs, it is
funny because you did not expect that to happen.
• Word play: Saying words in different ways is funny. It’s just like laughing
at someone with a different accent because you find their pronunciation
hilarious. This is common in African and Asian accents.
• Puns: e.g. ‘Did you hear about the man who was jabbed in the back with
a set of keys? His back locked up.’
I have searched up on a lot of funny clips on YouTube, just so I have
a general idea of what makes people laugh. Here are a few examples:
(it seems to be that hurting others so David J Parker was right about pain being the top subject of humour)
 Twentieth century fox cooperation
 Produced The Simpsons movie
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEpuQtfJEqA
 What was so funny about this movie? Homer’s juvenile character. He is meant to be an adult but
acts as a child, which makes us laugh. A bit of slapstick comedy is included as well – Bart and
Homer always falling over and also Bart’s naked appearance is shown for a comical effect. This
could raise concerns to the public but considering it is a PG13 and it is shown in the form of a
animation it is acceptable to show nudity. Also it seems to be that watching others get hurt makes us
laugh, watching Homer being hit in the eyes by the hammer makes us laugh. Also includes farcical
features were there is a lot of exaggeration
Produced The Internship movie
What was so funny about this movie? Includes a lot of verbal
comedy ‘you’re interns, shut up… you look old’ – mocking other
characters. The man with the Asian accent is funny. He’s accent
stands out from the rest and this is what makes us laugh. Men
being kicked in the private area seems to make us laugh as well.
Though this film is also rated PG13, compared to ‘The Simpsons’
movie, this could attract a much older audience because a lot of
the comedic features in the trailer is verbal rather than physical
 Columbia productions
Produced Grown ups
What was so funny about this trailer? The fact that children speak
about getting ‘wasted’ but don’t know the meaning behind it makes us
laugh. The animal in the scene also makes us laugh as it is very
unexpected. The scene where the policemen was meant to arrest the
characters but then ends up making a joke out of it. Therefore it seems
to be that making a joke out of serious situations is also funny. Notice
that the policeman is black and is meant to be representing a serious
role in the scene but he doesn’t giving the impression that black
characters as the race who are less ‘important/serious’
Screen Gems
Think Like A Man (Romantic comedy)
What so funny about this trailer? Kevin Hart’s character. First of all, he’s height makes us
laugh, the fact that he is short and tries to pick up fight with taller characters is hilarious.
How have they portrayed romance in this trailer? The storyline is based on the conflicts
in relationships. Dinners, dates and sex are included in the trailer, which are all typical
conventions of romantic comedy trailers. Romance has also been represented in the
mise en scene. For example women wearing red, which signifies love. Maybe
representing women as the more loving and emotional characters in relationships.
However this can also be perceived in the other manner, where the colour red is used to
embrace the women’s beauty which then leads to the idea of women being seen as sex
objects. This therefore highlights The Male Gaze theory by Laura Mulvey who stated
that women are normally represented in tight clothing's and sexually dressed which men
receives sexual gratifications from. Moreover, this trailer presents Californian and Los
Angeles women as beautiful and stunning.
Since I will be working on a low budget, I have decided to concentrate on independent institutions and how
they make their trailers funny and also consider the properties and equipment they use.
Lionsgate Films
40 days and 40 Nights (Romantic Comedy)
Looking at this trailer, it seems to be that the topic of ‘sex’ is very entertaining and humorous, in Romantic
comedy. Going into further details, this trailer portrays a stereotypical view of women being seen as the
sex objects and men receiving sexual arousals from women. This trailer therefore supports Laura
Mulvey’s theory of ‘The Male Gaze’. The male character in this trailer receives sexual gratifications (also
known as voyeurism) from watching other women who are portrayed wearing mini skirts and tight tops.
This can also be linked to scopophilia - the pleasure the male character gains from looking at the females
body. From watching the trailer, we find the sexual gratifications that the male characters receive very
funny. In some way this trailer degrade male characters – portraying them as immature and characters
who care about nothing but sex.
What else is funny about this trailer? The slapstick events. It seems to be that many comedy trailers
include slapstick events which means that producers and film makers are still influenced by Chaplin’s
style of comedy.
It seems to be that independent intuitions use regular properties which reflect back on the real word. For
example, the clothes that is worn in the trailer, the setting and the way the characters look is what we will
expect to see in the real world. Whereas, filming conglomerates include artificial styles and visual effects
in their mise en scene. Take Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises into consideration.
The Weinstein Company
Scary Movie
Although this comedy is not solely based on romance, I
have considered it as part of my research for my genre
as it has been a quite successful comedy produced by
an independent company.
What is funny about this trailer? Dopey characters.
There is a stereotype here of how blonde girls are
represented as the dumb character, which makes her
type of character even more hilarious.
The fact that a joke is being made about the world
ending is funny. You have a president who is unfazed
about the planet being attacked by aliens.
Remember comedy is subjective. Black/Dark comedy will appeal to a
different audience compared to the audience of slapstick comedy. For
example black comedy might appeal more to adults, whereas slapstick
captures more of a teenage audience. Romantic comedies may appeal
more to females and comedies which includes a bit of action may
appeal more to males. Comedy is also based on your background and
understanding, for example the majority of British people will might
not understand the banter behind Bollywood movies. For this reason I
have decided to base my comedic genre on a specific subgenre which
is Romantic comedy. This conclusion was based on my second
questionnaire, as romantic comedy was the most popular genre,
however it was mostly the females that chose this.
It is important to consider that American humour can be
different to British humour. The trailers I have previously
analysed are mainly based on American humour. Though these
American trailers are popular in the U.K such as The Internship
and Hangover III, it is still important to bare in mind British
comedy as I am targeting a British audience. I have researched
on British comedy and what British people found funny.
• In the following video people have stated what makes
them laugh: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldclass/23824586
• E.g. people stated that ‘stupid things made them laugh’ or ‘
people falling over’
• From my questionnaire people stated a lot of slapstick
events e.g. ‘falling down the stairs’ or ‘someone getting
Here is what some people have said about the change in
British comedy?
“Stand up comedy has become even less popular. Comedy has
got nastier in the last twenty years. Ruder. More unpleasant. It’s
now got that F**** off! What are you staring at? kind of attitude.
Kicking people when they’re down. Trying to outdo each other by
being as crude as possible.” by John Davies
“Comedy has changed in the last 40 years. Oddly alcoholism was
considered comical back then whereas today it's not considered
something to joke about. Not to extent as in the old Hollywood
movies and television shows. Women were fair game in the 50s
and the joke about women drivers was fodder for many comics.
Women are now off limits and men are fair game.”
Situation comedies can be defined as ‘characters sharing the same
common environment, such as a home or workplace, with often
humorous dialogue’ Although it has been argued that situation comedies
used to be very popular in the Britain but has now decreased, many of
the British viewers still watch sitcoms. As a result to this I will consider
certain comedic aspects in modern sitcoms such as: ‘Vicious’ when
producing my trailer.
The Telegraph has announced that, British comedy in the past used to
stereotype gay characters as camp and effeminate, but now Vicious
represents gay characters as comical figures.
Clip of a sitcom
• Hot Fuzz (popular in the U.K)
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NiQfvx_qrE
• Looking at this trailer, it seems to be that there is not much of a
difference between the American trailers and the British trailers.
They both use similar conventions in comedy. The usual is
portrayed. For example, a juvenile and stupid adult who plays the
role of the policeman which we expect to be mature and serious.
This is unexpected so we found it funny. Also slapstick events are
included again, for instance when the policeman falls over the
fence. It seems to be that Chaplin’s style of comedy will never be
forgotten. However, the main difference is the accents. An
American person may watch this movie and find this even funnier
because of their accents, but British people will not as they are
used to hearing this accent.
• Another British comedy I have decided examine is ‘Chalet girl’
which is based on a romantic comedy.
The comedy trailer I am producing is going to appeal to a British
Based on the results from my questionnaire it seems to be that American
comedy is very popular in the U.K as my ‘my wife and kids’ was the most
preferred comedy from the rest. Looking into this in greater depth, although
the ethnic groups that preferred ‘My wife and kids’ was mainly within the
black race, there was still a diverse range of ethnicity that preferred ‘my wife
and kids’ which shows that comedy which was originally aimed at the ‘black
race’ has become more varied, reaching a wider a range of audience. As well
as that, based on personal experience, I have come across a lot of people in
the white race which claim that ‘Think Like A Man’ is one of the best comedy
movies they have ever watched, again this is a comedy which is based
mainly on the black race.
Moreover, from my questionnaire, when asked to state the trailer they found
really funny and a lot of them stated American comedy, which included
American pie and Hangover. As well as results from my questionnaire,
Hangover III is the 10th most popular watched movies in the U.K which proves
that it is a popular comedy that people enjoy watching. It is seem to be that
American comedy is quite popular in the U.K
• A comedy aimed at British audience
• Romantic comedy (for the storyline of my trailer I will
consider romantic trailers like ‘Hitch’)
• It will include slapstick features (as slapstick was the
second most popular type of comedy), as well as verbal
comedy. As well as that, researching on what others found
funny shows that slapstick comedy is quite popular
• I will look at shows like ‘My wife and Kids’ and films like
‘Hangover’ so I know what comedic features to include in
my trailer so I can appeal to my audience
Comedy can be very offensive at times - this is what makes people laugh. E.g. South park,
which has had a lot of complaint about offending other religions. However whether the
comedy in the film is just banter or offensive is sometimes down to the audience. For
example some audiences are known as ‘active audiences’. These type of audiences are
viewed as individuals who choose to either accept the message, reject the message or
select which bits they agree with. In comedies such as South park, active audiences may
decide to reject the offensive message as they have an understanding of the film and
therefore view it as a comedy. This is known as the Reception theory stated by Stuart
However, some people are passive audiences. They may watch the South park film and
view it very offensive instead. For example a religious person from another country who
lack of understanding e.g. Iraq may watch South park and they will be offended by it,
maybe because they are not exposed to these types of comedy. This is known as the
Effects Theory
Also it is very easy for younger kids to view such type of comedy and so therefore as a
result this could lead to the cultivation theory. As children will start getting used to what
they see on T.V and eventually it will not have an effect. In this example children may
watch South park, which have offensive comments about religion – children may pick up
comments and eventually they’ll think it’s alright to offend others with those comments.