Friday, July 1, 2016

Mr. Bean's theory of the physical comedy hero, never mind

As I mentioned in my blog post in July of 2015, I am working on an article on the humor in A Confederacy of Dunces. In that post, I appealed to anyone who might know the source of a list of qualities articulated in a documentary starring Rowan Atkinson. I was quite taken by the list of qualities of the physical comedy hero.

Since then, I have done a good deal of reading in the theory of comedy, and I have come to the conclusion that the list from the documentary is not correct. That list is an excellent description of characteristics for many heroes of physical comedy, but it does not actually define physical comedy. Many of the items in the list describe humor that is disparaging, which physical comedy often is. However, the basis of physical comedy is physicality, not disparagement.

So for all those of you who wrote in trying to help me with the source of the list .... wait, no one ever wrote in. Oh well, till next time.