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Henri Bergson's Laughter

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Laughter is an interesting topic. Mainly because of the lack of thought that goes with it as to why we laugh. In an article titled Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic by Henri Bergson, the theory behind why things are funny is explored. He mentions many different things in his article pertaining to the comic, however, there are a few that stand out more than others. He talks directly about the fact that things are only funny if they relate to humans. Then he touches on the idea that accidents are funnier than planned events. Finally, he speaks on laughter being directly related to social setting. The 1992 film Noises Off is a perfect demonstration of everything that Bergson writes about. Henri Bergson’s essay on laughter is perfectly supported by the film Noises Off.
One of the first things that Bergson’s article attributes to a comic is that we only find things related to humans as
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To explain, he says, “A man, running along the street, stumbles and falls; the passers-by burst out laughing. They would not laugh at him, I imagine, could they suppose that the whim had suddenly seized him to sit down on the ground. They laugh because his sitting down is involuntary” (Bergson). It is the same reason why in Noises Off, when the director tells Timothy not to fall because they don’t have insurance for him and he goes on to fall anyways, it is so funny. It is funny because it was not planned, it was clearly an accident. Another example that the movie offers is that Frederick always gets nose bleeds. The fact alone that his nose bleeds is not overly funny. On the other hand, when tied in to the fact that he is always getting them and they are accidents, like when Brooke flips her head up while looking for her contact lens, makes his nose bleeds funny. The accidents that Noises Off displays proves that accidents make a comedy more of a
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