End of the Life of Brian
Posted by Linden on May 05, 1998 at 19:37:22:
In response to Difficult.., written by Cheryl on May 04, 1998 at 12:30:13
] I don't know that one can make a universal definition of comedy, it is so very subjective. I will use your example of the crucifixion in Life of Brian; many thought it hilarious, many thought it offensive.
] I will borrow the US Supreme Court Justice's definition of pornography and apply it to comedy: "I can't tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it!" ;-)
All the same, I think we can have a go at pointing out some common features.
Take the crucifixion at the end of the Life of Brian: what makes it funny (and possibly also offensive) is that last song, "Always look on the bright side of life.)
It's so absurd to try to look on the bright side of life while being crucified. What makes it more than just absurd is what it's saying:
(a) about the Hollywood epics which it's sending up: they always try to bring something cheerful in at the end of a tragic story (eg the end of Spartacus when at least we know that Spartacus's wife and child are safe)
(b) about Christianity: I think it's saying that the apostles had to find something good about Jesus's crucifixion, which looked like a disaster, which is the point of the resurrection story.
If Monty Python is saying (b), then it is very offensive - but what a way to say that the resurrection is a myth! Which is why it's also funny.
I think that this sort of analysis is possible of comedy and comic scenes: any thoughts?
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