black comedy

comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor

Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark comedy, dark humor or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Writers and comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, by provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Thus, in fiction, for example, the term black comedy can also refer to a genre in which dark humor is a core component. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence, discrimination, disease, and human sexuality. Black comedy differs from both blue comedy—which focuses more on crude topics such as nudity, sex, and bodily fluids—and from straightforward obscenity. An archetypal example of black comedy in the form of self-mutilation appears in the English novel Tristram Shandy; Tristram, five years old at the time, starts to urinate out of an open window for lack of a chamber pot. The sash falls and circumcises him; his family reacts with both hysteria and philosophical acceptance. Whereas the term black comedy is a relatively broad term covering humor relating to many serious subjects, gallows humor tends to be used more specifically in relation to death, or situations that are reminiscent of dying. Black humor can occasionally be related to the grotesque genre. Literary critics have associated black comedy and black humor with authors as early as the ancient Greeks with Aristophanes.
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genre: black comedy

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Great Expectations

1861 novel by Charles Dickens

author: Charles Dickens

1860

A Clockwork Orange

1962 novel by Anthony Burgess

author: Anthony Burgess

1962

The Casual Vacancy

novel by J.K. Rowling

author: J. K. Rowling

2012

Slaughterhouse-Five

novel by Kurt Vonnegut

author: Kurt Vonnegut

1969

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