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"Black humor" and "black comedies" ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jared_B, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    I saw both of these phrases posted in a recent thread. I've never heard them used before.

    I've heard "dark humor" and "sick humor", but never "black humor". Is this phrase actually in common use today?

    (Edit: I just want to know if you've heard this phrase before, and if you knew immediately what it was referring to.)
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Yep, I'd widen the definition to "twisted sense of humor". To me, a film like Heathers is a black comedy.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Yep, I've heard and understood "black humor."

    The one that's always stumped me is "dry humor." Or a person described as having "a dry sense of humor."

    What makes humor dry vs. wet? [​IMG]
     
  4. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Screenwriter

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    Yes, same as dark humor.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Dry humor is more cerebral (Steven Wright's type of humor), not gut-busting humor.
     
  6. Scott Van Dyke

    Scott Van Dyke Supporting Actor

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    I would've listed movies such as Friday, The Truth about Cats and Dogs, or the like to be "Black Comedies".
     
  7. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Malcolm R wrote (post #3):

     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Yes and yes
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I also assumed that "Black Comedies" reffered to movies like "Blankman", "Booty Call", etc. (basically any Wayans film).
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    black comedies usually refer to movies that deal with a taboo subject (death, murder, etc.) in a "light-hearted" manner.

    heathers, war of the roses, very bad things, shallow grave are all pretty good examples.

     
  11. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    Yep, I new right away what you were talking about. Occasionally when I make that reference a friend thinks I am making some racial epithet. My friend is so smart in other ways.
     
  12. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    clay pigeons, very bad things, dark comedies [​IMG]
     
  14. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Pootie Tang rocks!
    Never even heard of it but rented it anyways and laughed my ass off.
    Maybe we can try bussing to integrate comedies..... nah it'll never work
    (Note: The above is a stab at dark humor explaining black comedies)
     
  15. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    eating raoul
     
  16. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Wow Josh Lowe, you took the words right out of my mouth.
     
  17. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    What an ironic thread-- I was just talking to a friend of mine (who is black) about the fact that the phrase "black comedy" has already been taken (meaning a comedy based on a morose or otherwise serious subject), and that I don't know of a term for "comedies that are targeted to black audiences." I've used the term "dark comedy" for years (dark comedies and British comedies being two of my favorite film genres), but "black comedy" is the same thing.

    IMHO, "dry" and "wry" are not synonymous, although related: "Dry" refers to the absence of warmth and feeling, often conveyed (ironically) by a lack of "normal" (i.e., slapsticky) humor in its conveyance and hidden within an abundance of sullen, serious, and oftentimes terse expression. Much like this treatise on the etymology of comedy terms. [normally, a smily is inserted here... to which I will elaborate shortly].

    In fact, I would submit that "dry comedy" and "dark comedy" are both forms of "wry humor," in that they are both twisted, however in different ways. Furthermore, "dark comedy" frequently relies on a "dry" presentation, because the subject matter is normally serious. One of the distinct problems with conveying dry humor, is that it is invariably a visual form, like the aforementioned Steven Wright, in which the audience must get a sense that this stuff reaaallly is funny, and not just weird. Occasionally, visual cues don't even help the audience, as was the case with Andy Kaufman (RIP). It doesn't get much drier than Kaufman. Unfortunately, in written form, "dry" humor is very often confused with "droll" and "boring"... so much so, that people using the form must resort to the use of smilies and other emoticons in order to elicit the necessary sense that the writer doesn't actually have a bug up his a$$ and is, in fact, just a very dry person. [​IMG] See. That's what I'm talking about. [​IMG]

    Now, for my list of notable DARK or BLACK COMEDIES:

    Dr. Strangelove, Very Bad Things, and Heathers (as mentioned previously)
    M*A*S*H
    Fargo, Raising Arizona (pretty much all Coen Bro. movies)
    Brazil
    Harold and Maude
    American Beauty (yes, mostly a drama... but many overtones of dark comedy)
    Pulp Fiction (again, alot of drama over the dark comedy)
    To Die For (also, another Kidman flick: Birthday Girl)
    American Psycho (so dark, you'll feel sick if you actually think it's supposed to be a comedy) [​IMG]


    And now a list of some notable COMEDIES THAT ARE EASILY CONFUSED WITH THE TERM "BLACK COMEDIES", BUT FOR LACK OF ANY OTHER PHRASE ARE HENCEFORTH REFERRED TO AS "TARGETED MOSTLY TO BLACK AUDIENCES"[​IMG]

    Booty Call (one of the funniest movies I've seen in recent history)
    House Party (also very funny)
    Barbershop (unusually serious overtones in it, but otherwise funny and with great performances!)
    Bebe's Kids (was just... OK)

    OK. I'm done. [​IMG]
     
  18. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  19. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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