And now for something completely out of left field.
The other day I heard something on the radio and went to Youtube to look it up, and found some of it completely hilarious. Give that school hasn’t quite started yet, it prompted an unusual deep thought. Most performance art (plays, musicals, film) gets broken down into two categories: comedy and drama. One of the international symbols for theater is even those two little masks (one happy, one sad) representing the concept of comedy and drama which were handed down from the Greeks.
We all know that there is in fact an overlap, and especially in the last 40 years, there has been a propensity to blend (perhaps “Dr. Strangelove” was one of the first effective film examples). But, what makes comedy and drama so different? It has to be more than what the masks symbolize: it can’t just be one makes you happy, the other makes you sad. And not to cut off the literati, but it has to be more than just some structure imposed at some point.
One of the things I have noticed is that drama is very structured. Even when it appears to be surreal or existential (like Waiting for Godot or anything by Kafka), there is structure there. That is everything appears for a reason. Things tend to not randomly appear for no reason. I would even guess that randomness like that is a sign you are reading/watching a bad drama.
Comedy can certainly be structured, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes inserting something that has zero relevance to the story, plot, characters, etc can be hilarious. I’m not talking about “random happenstance” that forms the basis for a lot of Shakesperean comedies and the ilk (which are great works of art, please don’t get me wrong). But take for example, the works of Mel Brooks or the Zucker/Abrams collaborations. Sometimes the funniest parts are those that seem to be somewhat random.
That prompted me into a really weird place about the duality of a deterministic universe vs. a one that is based on randomness … maybe the fact that our universe has equal parts comedy and drama parallels the idea that there is an underlying pattern to the random events that make up the universe.
Anyway, here are the two clips I was talking about: Randy Moller is the play-by-play voice for Florida Panthers hockey. Not all of his goal calls are funny, but some had me in stitches.
My favorites are the references to 48 Hours, Animal House, and Rounders (you can never have enough Teddy KGB references).