Black Humor

Let us deviate from the more common black themes and talk about black humor today. What comes to mind when you hear the term “black humor?” Me, when I initially heard it, I thought of sarcasm. Sarcastic humor. Evil glee. Things of that sort. And I found out it’s true definition doesn’t really deviate much from my assumption of its meaning.

Defined as “a mordant, aggressive, iconoclastic type of comedy”, the term “black humor” was first used by Andre Breton, a French surrealist poet and critic. He used in the book he published in 1940, the title of which was Anthologie de l’humour noir (Anthology of Black Humor).

Irony and ambivalence – these constitute the prevailing tone in black humor. The fundamental values and assumptions of society are questioned or simply turned upside down. Language and logic are disturbed. An example is Eugene Ionesco’s play The Bald Soprano (1953), which attacks the cliches of the usual social discourse. Reason and the power of reason to uncover are attacked.

The general goal slash effect of black humor? To offend, puzzle of simply disorient the audience. Indeed a comedy if you can call it comedy with much twist not for the narrow-minded.


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