Comedy is Tragedy Plus Time

A fitting topic for discussion, given my literature studies currently focus on modern and classical tragedy – and as some of you may know, this is my favourite mantra. So much more eloquent than the usual ‘shit happens’, right? It certainly inspired my choice of essay question (Do comedy and humour have any part in tragedy?), but as much as I want to I must resist the urge to use this as a reference. This is in part due to the difficulty in tracking who said it first (the earliest form of this expression allegedly appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1957) but primarily as it lacks some validity when applied to theatre. I first heard it when playing Portal 2, but whatever….



I suppose any ‘validity’ to the phrase depends greatly on your sense of humour and perspective. I mean, if it was me accidentally standing in a bear trap then finding out in hospital that I would lose my leg due to a reaction to the metal itself I wouldn’t find it funny. Well, as funny. Given time, I will laugh off almost anything. This is a poor example of tragic irony, but easy enough to understand (stage cue: everybody laugh).

Moving away from literature and theatre, as I’m sure no one wants to read about my studies (though if you do let me know in feedback, nerds and bibliophiles), it’s an interesting test of your humour to seek mirth from your own failings and suffering. Sometimes I laugh, but it’s usually only 1 of 3 parts laughing. There’s a lot of irony in my own experience – there’s no danger of a deficiency there (cue: pity laugh). Most recently, I had just gotten used to the idea that I wasn’t going to meet anyone on a similar wavelength at uni and would have to seek companionship only from my crazy friends back home, life throws a curve-ball in the form of a companion that fits the bill. The humour of the situation is that in discussing our messy histories what were once tears came out as laughter – well, mostly anyway.


I know and accept I have a somewhat twisted sense of humour, but I am learning that some elements of a darker nature are still funny. This is common, right? I realise now that I haven’t really cared what ‘normal’ people think and feel, so maybe the answer is redundant. I know now that wherever I go, there will be more friends to be made with emotional instabilities, morbid humour and crazy dreams – it has been pointed out to be, more times than I care to admit, that these do tend to be the kind of people I attract. As far as I’m concerned, this just means I have a target audience out there for my ramblings. So in as far as what Gym-Nut Gary and Slut-Face Sally have to say, I don’t think I’ll miss out on any constructive criticism or ‘deep insight’.


P.S. If I have offended any gym-nuts, slut-faces, Garys or Sallys – I appologise for the use of stereotypes and easy alliterations. Not because I care about your insecurities, but because it’s polite.


Listening To: The Ultimate Collection – Billy Joel


Image Source: Google Images

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