Evolution of comedy
“Why did the Jedi cross the road?” You’ve probably heard or made the odd ‘crossing the road’ joke. Although simple, it offers comic relief. Humour is a contagious and overwhelming emotion, and how we view it and produce it has evolved throughout time.
The human desire for laughter is addictive, which businesses have capitalized on, especially in the media and entertainment world. Large media corporations, such as ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC), have built various comedy brands and networks over the last 30 years. Just think of MTV and Comedy Central, and The Late Show and The Late Late Show, to name a few.
Rewinding to 1951, the sitcom I Love Lucy aired on CBS and quickly became a fan favorite of the time. Today, it is considered iconic. Despite this, certain jokes would be tasteless in today’s political climate. For instance, in an episode, the characters switch traditional gender roles to convey that being a housewife is more demanding than a stereotypical career. Nowadays, this would probably not be well received. That’s not to say I Love Lucy isn’t a classic. But, the times have changed. So, although these older shows are great pieces of their time, they simply don’t age well.
Although sitcoms are still popular, stand-up comedy has exploded across all streaming platforms in recent years. You can watch stand-up specials on-demand at a click of a button, on Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Amazon Prime (NASDAQ: AMZN), and YouTube (NASDAQ: GOOGL).
Over thousands of years, comedy has been contemplated. Aristotle described comedy as depicting people as “worse than they are.” But that view may be a product of his time and personal views.
Comedy has been discussed throughout the ages. But the question remains, has comedy evolved? People, along with the social and political climate, are constantly changing. With that comes a need for a change in comedy. Like how the Jedi crossed the road to get to the dark side, comedy itself seems to cross the line.