Slapstick. How Violence Can Be Funny
The fact is supported by Charney, who claims that in slapstick “cruelty is mitigated by wit” (172) and consequently turned into a comic element. Further, Neale and Krutinik points out that lack of pain has been a condition of comedy since the time of Aristotle (77). In a nutshell, the viewer is permitted to laugh about the misfortunes and even physical pain of the slapstick victim because of the comic context and the na-ture of pain being first and foremost gag-based and unrealistic, with no intention to evoke pity.
To put the principle idea behind the notion slapstick in one sentence: „Punishment to the male body is forever funny, and is at the core of slapstick”. (Dale qtd. in Mills 118) Moreover, slapstick is rather versatile mode of comedy and is implemented in vari-ous situations and episodes as it can be seen on the example of Fawlty Towers. It is important to keep in mind that its victim’s body is presented as highly indestructible and no actual harm is ever done to it. It is this indestructability that prompts the viewer to see past the presumable pain and see the performance as purely comic. As a result, laughing about at times excessive violence in a sitcom context is not disgraceful for a viewer, because it is intended to be funny. Finally, it could also be beneficial to analyze slapstick against the backdrop of humor theories, which was not done in this essay due to space limitations, but could be a topic for further research.
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