Laughter By Henri Bergson, The Theory Behind Why Things Are Funny

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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 being funny. He states, “Comic does not exist outside the pale of what is strictly HUMAN” (Bergson). The author is making the point that if people find something to be funny it is only because they have been tied to the human world. For example, in the movie, Noises Off, there is a scene where a character is trying to open the door and the doorknob comes off. The fact that the door knob came off is not very funny by itself. What makes it funny is the fact that the actor was attempting to get out of the room and the door knob came off. Therefore, he ended up trapped, and then the situation becomes funny. Without the human side of the story, it would not be funny. Earlier in the movie, Brooke pops out of the linen closet and thinks that she lost her contact lens. The fact that she lost her contact is not funny at all. Howe... ... middle of paper ... ... Bergson makes so many great points as to what makes humor acceptable and recognizable. The movie Noises Off illustrates many examples of everything that he talks about in his article. He writes how comedy is seen through human attributes. The movie shows just how true that is. The author tells that laughter is circumstantial and that what makes things funny is simply that they happen by accident. Things are not funny when they are planned and executed perfectly. The film is a collection of everything happening by accident, proving how funny accidents are. Finally, Bergson makes the point that whether something is funny or not is dependent on the social setting around a person. By taking in the dynamics of the audience of the play, one can imagine very easily how true that is. Overall, Bergson’s article perfectly describes why Noises off is so funny.

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