A Companion to Film Comedy
December 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
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“’Make 'em laugh!’ may be a Hollywood musical imperative, but exactly how to make em' laugh-- and what it means when they do-- is harder to figure out. For this provocative, eclectic, and, yes, amusing compendium of essays, editors Andrew Horton and Joanna E. Rapf have corralled a gifted ensemble of comic-minded film scholars to ruminate over the pratfalls, wisecracks, and zany antics that--from custard-pie-thick one-reelers to sappy rom-coms--have left motion picture audiences rolling in the aisles and rolling their eyes. In examining the mechanics and cultural meanings of the serious business of film comedy, the essayists herein tackle a dizzying array of laugh-inducing genres (slapstick, screwball, sophisticated, ethnic, and gross-out, to name a few) and people (Charles Chaplin, Ernest Lubitsch, Jacques Tati, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Ben Stiller, to name a very few). Best of all, the essays in this film companion are themselves all sharp-witted and good-humored: in dissecting film comedy, they manage not to kill the patient.”
- Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University
“An impressive array of our best critical thinkers and an invaluable spectrum of comedians from Max Linder to Jim Carrey – it’s a vital, challenging addition to film comedy studies."
- Ed Sikov
“The most wide-ranging collection on the topic to appear in years, this volume features essays by both leading scholars and new voices that will both redefine and expand the ways we think about many kinds of film comedy and the artists who create it.”
–Matthew H. Bernstein, Emory University