Student Blog: The Power of Comedy

Why comedy deserves an extra standing ovation

By: Jun. 01, 2024
Student Blog: The Power of Comedy
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What do you look for when you go to the theater? A big catharsis as you cry with the protagonist? A nail-biting thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat? Drama is intoxicating and has led to many historic performances throughout the years. Dramatic performances replicate life and the human experience. It is always impressive to watch two actors fight or cry on stage and produce such real emotion. While drama is super important to the theater industry, the value of comedic productions cannot be ignored. Comedy deserves just as much recognition and praise as drama receives. 

Just as much talent and hard work goes into creating a fantastic comedy show as any heartbreaking drama. Comedy is a skill practiced and mastered, just like dramatic acting. The inflection and timing used to deliver a comedic line can make or break a joke. Actors have to navigate the fine line between being big on stage and not being too over the top that it is distracting. 

While the actor’s delivery of a comedy seals the deal, the success of a comedy begins with the writers. Comedy writers have a difficult job. In comedy, the possibilities are limitless. The writers can be as absurd as they want. But what will create the desired reaction from the audience? Just as the actors have to find their perfect balance, the writers have to work and try out different jokes to see which ones perform better. The entire script cannot be joke after joke, or else the audience will not be able to comprehend what is going on. The writers have to take time to set up the comedic moments and allow time for them to build. 

We cannot devalue shows that are created for the sake of pure enjoyment. Not all audience members seek a revelation or lesson when attending the theater. Some people are looking for an escape from the harsh realities of the real world! This is where the power of comedy comes in.  For example, the show Spamalot has had two successful runs on Broadway without having any tense conflict or sharing commentary on humanity. Instead, Spamalot features a killer bunny and knights who say “Ni!” Comedic theater still allows for catharsis, though it presents differently than in dramatic theater. It has just as strong of an impact as any dramatic play or musical. Comedy lets us let go and laugh and fills us with life.

Comedic theater is not for everyone. Just as dramatic theater is not for everyone! But comedic shows should in no way be considered “cheap” or “less than” just because they are meant to be fun. Comedies require attention to detail and precise performances. Every comedic actor and writer deserves to be recognized as much as dramatic actors and writers are. Without both drama and comedy, the theater industry would be dull and limited.


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