The Birth of (somewhat) Sophisticated Comedy

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baywax

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Looks like the Greeks had one up on Monty Python.

"Ancient Greeks pre-empted Dead Parrot sketch"
This may be offensive to some people since the Greeks used a slave instead of a parrot in their comedy sketches.

By Daniel Flynn

ATHENS (Reuters) - "I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it."

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.

The 1,600-year-old work entitled "Philogelos: The Laugh Addict," one of the world's oldest joke books, features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died, its publisher said Friday.

"By the gods," answers the slave's seller, "when he was with me, he never did any such thing!"
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/081114/odds/odd_us_comedy [Broken]

If anyone has any really old comedy links or texts... like ancient Egyptian/Sumerian/Indian etc.. Humour... please post it here!
 
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mgb_phys

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How many Hittites does it take to change a lamp wick?
 

baywax

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How many Hittites does it take to change a lamp wick?
In the dark?

OK, my guess,

47. 1 king to preside, 9 states-people to form a quorum and decide to send 30 warriors to attack the village with all the lamp wicks, 7 village folks to dip the wicks in oil and light them.

and a partridge in a... ok, not many trees around there.
 
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baywax

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I don't quite get what's funny here...
Divine Comedy versus Message of Forgiveness

Scholars and critics of comparative literature are at logger head on the extent of the influence of the “Message of Forgiveness” written by the great Arabic poet abul-Ala’al- Ma’arri (973-1057 AD) on Dante Aligieri’s Divine Comedy”. The central theme of both works is the description of heaven and hell in the hereafter.

A number of Impartial scholars believe that this theme has clear roots in ancient Egyptian literature which tackled this theme in many works. It was evident in “The Book of the Dead”, “The Book of the Gates”, and in the story “Isis, Osiris and the World of Dead “.

Ancient Egyptian writers expressed their imaginative vision of the journey of the soul after leaving the body to the sky until it reaches the court where the deceased’s heart is weighed against “Ma’et’s feather” that symbolizes justice, truthfulness, rightness and bounty. Then, the deceased is sentenced to eternal paradise or hell.
I guess its a kind of funny Ancient Egyptian irony or justice.
 

baywax

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I've managed to dig a little deeper into history back to the age of Aristophanes, 456 B.C to 380 B.C.

Of Aristophanes, the greatest comedian of his age, and perhaps of all the ages, history contains few notices, and these of doubtful credit. Even the dates of his birth and death can only be inferred from his works, the former being estimated at 456 B.C. and the latter at 380. Many cities claimed the honor of giving him birth, the most probable story making him the son of Philippus of Ægina, and therefore only an adopted citizen of Athens. On this point some confusion has arisen from an attempt of Cleon to deprive Aristophanes of his civic rights, on the ground of illegitimacy, in revenge for his frequent invectives. The charge was disproved, thus pointing to the Athenian parentage of the comic poet, though as to this there is no trustworthy evidence. He was doubtless educated at Athens, and among other advantages is said to have been a disciple of Prodicus, though in his mention of that sophist he shows none of the respect due to his reputed master.


STREPSIADES: Great gods! will these nights never end? will daylight never come? I heard the cock crow long ago and my slaves are snoring still! Ah! 'twas not so formerly. Curses on the War! has it not done me ills enough? Now I may not even chastise my own slaves--they never wake the whole long night, but, wrapped in five coverlets, fart away to their hearts content. Come! let me nestle in well and snore too, if it be possible . . . oh! misery, 'tis vain to think of sleep with all these expenses, this stable, these debts, which are devouring me, thanks to this fine cavalier, my own son, who only knows how to look after his long locks, to show himself off in his chariot and to dream of horses! And I, I am nearly dead, and my liability falling due. . . . Slave! light the lamp and bring me my tablets. Who are all my creditors? Let me see and reckon up the interest. What is it I owe? . . . Twelve minæ to Pasias . . . What! twelve minæ to Pasias? . . . Why did I borrow these? Ah! I know! 'Twas to buy that thoroughbred, which cost me so dear. Oh! curses on the go-between who made me marry your mother! I lived so happily in the country, a commonplace, everyday life, but a good and easy one--had not a trouble, not a care, was rich in bees, in sheep and in olives. Then forsooth I must marry the niece of Megacles, the son of Megacles; I belonged to the country, she was from the town; she was a haughty, extravagant woman, a true Cœsyra. On the nuptial day, when I lay beside her, I was reeking of the dregs of the wine-cup, of cheese and of wool; she was redolent with essences, saffron, tender kisses, the love of spending, of good cheer and of wanton delights. I will not say she did nothing; no, she worked hard . . . to ruin me. Later, when we had this boy, what was to be his name? 'Twas the cause of much quarrelling with my loving wife. She insisted on having some reference to a horse in his name. I wanted to name him after his grandfather. She used to fondle and coax him, saying, "Oh! what a joy it will be to me when you have grown up, to see you, like my father, Megacles, clothed in purple and standing up straight in your chariot driving your steeds toward the town." And I would say to him, "When, like your father, you will go, dressed in a skin, to fetch back your goats from Phellus." Alas! he never listened to me and his madness for horses has shattered my fortune.
This is from a play by Aristophanes known as " the comedy monolog of a man" and could well be describing the financial turmoils of todays banking magnates.

Both quotes from:

http://www.theatrehistory.com/ancient/aristophanes001.html
 

mgb_phys

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Comedy didn't mean funny - it used to mean fantastic/imaginary.
Thats why Shakespeare's comedies aren''t funny.
 

baywax

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Comedy didn't mean funny - it used to mean fantastic/imaginary.
Thats why Shakespeare's comedies aren''t funny.
Ah ha!

Well, my Oxford says this about comedy:

comedy |ˈkämədē|
noun ( pl. -dies)
professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh.
• a movie, play, or broadcast program intended to make an audience laugh : a rollicking new comedy.
• the style or genre of such types of entertainment.
• the humorous or amusing aspects of something : advertising people see the comedy in their work.
• a play characterized by its humorous or satirical tone and its depiction of amusing people or incidents, in which the characters ultimately triumph over adversity : Shakespeare's comedies.
• the dramatic genre represented by such plays : satiric comedy. Compare with tragedy (sense 2).
PHRASES
comedy of errors a situation made amusing by bungling and incompetence : the comedy of errors that is Medicare’s physician payment schedule.
DERIVATIVES
comedic |kəˈmēdik| adjective
ORIGIN late Middle English (as a genre of drama, also denoting a narrative poem with a happy ending, as in Dante's Divine Comedy): from Old French comedie, via Latin from Greek kōmōidia, from kōmōidos ‘comic poet,’ from kōmos ‘revel’ + aoidos ‘singer.’

Thesaurus
comedy
noun
1 he excels in comedy light entertainment, comic theater, farce, situation comedy, satire, pantomime, comic opera; burlesque, slapstick; informal sitcom. antonym tragedy, drama.
2 the comedy in their work humor, fun, funny side, comical aspect, absurdity, drollness, farce. antonym gravity.
 

mgb_phys

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Perhaps the composers of the OED think Shakespeare's comedies are funny - nobody who has had to watch them does.
 

baywax

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Perhaps the composers of the OED think Shakespeare's comedies are funny - nobody who has had to watch them does.
From A Comedy Of Errors
by Bill Shakespeare

The pleasing punishment that women bear. (1.1.47)

I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself. (1.2.36)

A wretched soul bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain. (2.1.35)

Every why hath a wherefore. (2.2.45)

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast. (3.1.29)

They brought one Pinch, a hungry, lean-faced villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A threadbare juggler, and a fortune-teller,
A needy, hollow-eyed, sharp-looking wretch,
A living-dead man. (5.1.239)

Let ’s go hand in hand, not one before another. (5.1.432)
http://www.shakespeare-online.com/quotes/comedyquotes.html


:rofl:

I see what you mean!
 
I found Aristophanes' Lysistrata pretty funny when I read it a few years back.
⚛
 

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