Comedy is a genre of film that uses humor as a driving force. The aim of a comedy film is to illicit laughter from the audience through entertaining stories and characters. Although a comedy film may take on some serious material, most have a happy ending.
Comedy film has the tendency to become a hybrid sub-genre because humor can be incorporated into many other genres, listed below:
- a sub-genre of comedy that uses stream-of-consciousness humor. The humor in these films tends to be nonsensical with exaggerated characters and situations. Anarchic film often uses slapstick tendencies, yet is considered to be less psychically violent.
Examples: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blazing Saddles, Animal House.
- this sub-genre combines action with humor. Action-Comedy relies on the characters to bring out the humor, while the action scenes tend to be less intense than in the traditional action movie.
Examples: Beverly Hills Cop, Rush Hour, Hot Fuzz.
- a sub-genre of both Comedy and Satire. These films often explore concepts and topics that are considered taboo. Black Comedy takes topics and situations that are commonly held as serious and explores them in a comical way. Because of this approach, Black Comedies often cause the audience to laugh and feel uncomfortable simultaneously.
Examples: Fargo, Harold and Maude, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
- Combines comedy with traditional horror movie themes and characters. Because of the subject matter, Horror-Comedy films can cross over into the Black Comedy sub-genre. Horror-Comedy films aim to scare the audience, but also provide comical outlets that let the audience laugh at their fear.
Examples: Beetlejuice, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead.
- a genre that has a dramatic tone, yet has important elements of comedy. In Dramedys, the amount of drama and comedy are almost equally balanced. This balance provides comedic relief for the audience, while still addressing serious issues.
Examples:Little Miss Sunshine, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation.
- a sub-genre of Comedy film that bases itself in reality. These films impersonate, ridicule, or scoff at serious situations and people. These films rely heavily on satire and can be used as a means of social or political commentary. Parody/Spoof films can also take the form in a fake documentary called a "Mockumentary".
Examples: Life of Brian, Naked Gun, Scary Movie.
- a genre that attempts to catch the viewer’s heart with the combination of love and humor. This sub-genre is light-hearted and usually places the two protagonists in humorus situation. Romantic-Comedy film revolves around a romantic ideal, such as true love. In the end, the ideal triumphs over the situation or obstacle, thus creating a happy ending.
Examples: Roman Holiday, When Harry Met Sally, Knocked Up.
- a sub-genre of film that incorporates physical comedy into the story. Slapstick uses visual action, such as harmless violence and horseplay, to depict humor. Slapstick film often relies on comedic timing and a controlled psychical performance of a single actor or actress.
Examples: Caddyshack, Safety Last!, Tommy Boy.