Last week, hubby and I were watching a French film – Moliére. It was an amazing movie about the playwright, done in the style of Shakespeare in Love. In the film, Moliére and his troupe are famous, summoned to Paris to create an original play for the King. Moliere wants to do something spectacular, something to show that he really has talent. He wants to write and perform a tragedy. But he’s famous for comedy and that’s what the King wants to see. Frustrated, he tries in vain to write a tragedy that will change his reputation, gain him the respect that comedy never will. He can’t, and a reminder from an old friend revives memories from his past that will form his most popular, and most hysterical play.
I feel for Moliére. Good comedy requires great skill and talent, yet it never receives the respect and recognition that tragedy does. In movies, the comedies seldom get nominated, let alone win the awards. And the same is true with books and plays. Even I’m guilty of it. I’ll read two stories: one that makes me laugh out loud, and other that brings tears to my eyes. It’s the one that makes me cry that I tend to rate higher, even if the prose is not any better than the comedic story. Why is it that sorrow gets the nod of artistic approval, while comedy often gets scorn? We clearly love comedy. We spend a fortune on funny movies and books. People may make fun of Tyler Perry’s work, but he’s happily flying off into the sunset in his private G6 while “serious
Unapologetic Book Junkie
Quentin Tarantino is awesome! “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead. ” Comedy is not given its due. It is much harder to make people laugh, than to make them cry. The IRS specializes in making people cry every day, but they couldn’t make someone laugh unless they cheaply resorted to slapstick. Sam is the queen of hilarity!
I have to agree with you, Debra. It is so true that comedy isn’t taken as seriously despite the fact it can be a lot harder to write (at least for most people). Not to mention you can have deeper meanings in comedy just as easily. The only difference is the pill is easier to swallow. One example would be the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire”. Much of it was funny, but a couple parts really had me misty eyed.
Anyway, great post. I think this is a topic that should be considered more.
Thanks! The movie we were watching was a good example – funny, but with some poignant parts. Even the characters I thought would be flat comic-relief had subtle redeeming qualities. Multi-dimensional comedy is a work of art!
Now see, I just about only pay attention to comedies. If I want tragedy, I’ll tune in to real life. But it is frustrating that Serious Literature (read: drama & tragedy) gets all the love, while stuff that’s just created to entertain (like, say, comedy) doesn’t earn serious attention. Except from me…
I agree. It’s not easy to make people laugh and forget about life for a while. Comedy deserves respect!