Black Comedy or Dark Comedy: Definition

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      Black Comedy as also known as Dark Comedy or Black Humor is the humor that makes fun of serious subject matter such as death and religion. The term Black Comedy is translated from the French comedie noire. It is offensive to some, hilarious to others. It often refers to the juxtaposition of morbid and farcical elements to create a disturbing effect. Black comedy is a sub-genre of comedy and satire where grave topics like death, rape, murder, marital affair, human annihilation or domestic violence are treated in a satirical manner. It is often used by Jews during the Holocaust. This form of drama displays cynicism and disillusionment, human beings without hope or convictions, their lives being controlled by fate or unknown and incomprehensible powers. This is a popular genre in the second half of the 20th century, when the absurd predicament of mankind is increasingly in the focus of literature.

      Black comedy corresponds to the earlier concept of Gallows humor. It is often controversial due to its subject matter. Breton coined the term for his book Anthology of Black Humor (Anthologie de I’humour noir), in which he credited Jonathan Swift as the originator of black humor and gallows humor, and included excerpts from 45 other writers. Breton identified Swift as the originator of black humor and gallows humour particularly in his pieces Directions to Servants (1731), A Modest Proposal (1729), A Meditation upon a Broom-Stick (1710), and a few aphorisms.

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