Hello friends and welcome to a breakdown of comedic genres, which you and me, both love to watch these days. (Nahi bhai, main the Kapil Sharma Show ki baat nahi kar raha!)
With Comicstaan streaming live on Amazon Prime video, I felt that it is my moral duty to bring these 25 types of comedy (comedy types or comedic genres) to your notice. TVF (The Viral Fever), AIB (All India Bakchod), EIC (East India Comedy), Screen Patti, etc. are celebrated comedy kings among Indian audiences, for the skills they have used to make Indians laugh. You surely don’t find so many YouTube subscribers on the channels for no good reason.
Not just this, comedy in India has been highlighted by the Sakht Launda fame Zakir Khan, Kanan Gill, Mast Aadmi fame Biswa Kalyan Rath, BB ki Vines fame Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchlani Vines fame Ashish Chanchlani, AIB fame Abhish Mathew, Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan & Ashish Shakya, different Comedian like Kanney Sebastian, Kanez Surkha, Naveen Richard and many others.
Now that the scope of comedy in India is quite visible, let us explore the 25 comedy types that I had mentioned earlier. (Ye janne ke baad, aap comedy judge nahi ban payenge, lekin samjh jayenge ki kaunsi type ki comedy ho rahi hai aapke samne!)
1- Alternative Comedy:
Developed in 1980’s, alternative comedy is an alternative to the mainstream of present days comedy. Alternative comedy has no traditional punchline jokes, such as those on racism and feminism, which have become traditional nowadays.
Alternative comedy meaning is an unconventional comedy. Alternative comedy is known for bringing other forms of comedy or combination such as observational comedy, satire comedy, surrealism, slapstick or maybe improvisation.
In other contexts, it is the nature of the form that is "alternative", avoiding reliance on a set standard of punchlines or jokes.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Alternative comedy:
Stewart Lee, Tony Allen, Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Alexei Sayle, Dan Harmon, Mark Steel, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, Ron Sparks, Ben Elton, Dave Gorman, etc.
2 - Anecdotal Comedy:
Anecdotal comedy meaning is very simple - it is composed of anecdotes(real-life incidents stories), which are funny real-life incidents or comic personal stories. These anecdotes which are used in anecdotal comedy may be wholly or partially real but are humorous and comedic in nature.
Anecdotal comedy is a type of comedy in which a person must bear being laughed at. One can go on narrating amusing stories while doing anecdotal comedy. This is what makes open mic comedy so awesome!
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Anecdotal comedy:
Kevin Hart, Louis CK, Patrice O'Neal, Bill Burr, John Mulaney, Russell Peters, Aries Spears, Deon Cole, Roy Wood, Hannibal Buress, etc.
Most of the Indian comedians do anecdotal comedy. Biswa Kalyan Rath and Zakir Khan are the most popular Indian comedians who do anecdotal comedy.
3 - Anti-humour Comedy:
Anti-humour as the name seems something serious. It is a type of comedy, which is indirect in nature. Anti-humour comedy happens when the comedian or joke-teller performs something which is intentionally not funny, or lacking in intrinsic meaning.
There will be underlying humour or the irony expressed will in itself be of comedic value. The essence of anti-humour comedy is the surprise factor of absence of an expected joke.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Anti-humour comedy:
Andy Kaufman, Norm Macdonald, Ted Chippington, Bo Burnham, John Thomson, Paul Putner, Andy Milonakis, Eric Andre, Neil Hamburger, etc.
Popular TV Shows:
The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, The Inbetweeners.
4 - Black Comedy or Dark Comedy:
Black or dark comedy meaning is not actually like Black’s Rani Mukherji performing a comedy act. It is a type of comedy in which grim or depressing humour is used.
Black comedy deals with disturbing subjects such as death, drugs, terrorism, rape, and war, making the taboo subjects a subject of comedy. Black or dark comedy can sometimes be related to the horror movie genre too, but it is rare to find.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Anti-humour comedy:
Coen brothers, Jim Norton, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Jimmy Carr, Louis C.K., Frankie Boyle, Ricky Gervais, George Carlin, Denis Leary, etc.
5 - Blue Comedy:
Blue comedy meaning is not blocked for browsing in India. But as the name indicates, blue comedy is typically sexual in nature.
It may involve bordering bawdiness or gross indecency, using sec as the material for making fun of weaknesses that manifest themselves in human genders.
The blue comedy involves the use of profane language; sometimes using gender or race-based humor. It is a type of comedy which is used to break down the sexual conventions and values, which have little or no significance in today's world.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Blue comedy:
Roy 'Chubby' Brown, Jim Davidson, Amy Schumer, Frankie Boyle, Eddie Murphy, Frank Skinner, Bernard Manning, Martin Lawrence, Redd Foxx, George Lopez, Doug Stanhope, etc.
6 - Character Comedy:
Character comedy, as the name goes is a type of comedy in which a character is used to do comedy. Comedians using character comedy devise humour from a character invented by a performer.
Mostly, these characters are devised out of stereotypes to mock at them. The comedian performing character comedy imagines himself as the character. A good deal of comedians have earned fame through character comedy.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Character comedy:
Bob Nelson, Phyllis Diller, Andy Kaufman, Steve Guttenberg Catherine Tate, Paul Eddington, Jerry Sadowitz, Andrew Dice Clay, Rich Hall, Tim Allen, John Gordon Sinclair, etc.
7 - Cringe Comedy:
We have arrived at the 7th type of comedy. Cringe comedy is all about embarrassment, in which the humor comes from inappropriate actions or words.
The cringe comedy performers are popular in television shows and film, but occasionally in stand-up as well. Cringe comedy basically drives laughter out of social awkwardness.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Cringe comedy:
Richard Herring, Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Rufus Hound, Bob Saget, Alan Partridge, etc.
8 - Deadpan Comedy or Dry Comedy:
Deadpan comedy is not strictly a type of comedy, but yes it is a style of telling jokes. In deadpan comedy, the comedian performs the whole act, without a change in the facial expression or change in the emotion.
Dry comedy deliberately presents a silence at the ridiculousness of the subject being talked about in comedy. It is the comedy type in which the comedian has blank expressions. It is truly tough and deserving to be appreciated type of comedy.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Deadpan or Dry comedy:
Bob Newhart, Milton Jones, Steven Wright, Jack Dee, Jimmy Carr, Les Dawson, Peter Cook, Dylan Moran, Craig Ferguson, Christopher Walken, W. Kamau Bell, etc.
9 - Heritage Comedy:
Heritage comedy is the type of comedy, which is based on the stereotypes of the culture or heritage. A person performing a heritage comedy act usually acquired the dress code and accent of the region, to deliver the comedy act. It involves making fun of things peculiar to one geographic location to highlight the comedy hidden in everyday life there.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Heritage comedy:
George Lopez, Richard Pryor, Pat Cooper, Jeff Foxworthy, Yakov Smirnoff, Bill Engvall, Gabriel Iglesias, Jackie Mason, etc.
10 - Improvisational Comedy:
Improvisational comedy is a type of comedy in which most of the things are unplanned or situational. The comedians usually take a clue from the audience or from other sources to improvise their plot and carry on.
The script is spontaneously created by the performer based on the clues and a scene is made up at the moment.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Improvisational comedy:
Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, Bob Nelson, Paul Merton, Paula Poundstone, Tony Slattery, Jim Sweeney, Josie Lawrence, Steve Steen, Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles, etc.
Popular TV Shows for Improvisational comedy:
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Thank God You're Here.
11 - Insult Comedy:
Insult comedy is a tricky balancing act. It may be easy to make fun of people but it is harder to consistently be funny and original while doing it. The insults in insult comedy are usually directed at the performer's audience and/or other performers.
However, the insults are given a humorous touch so that they do not become offensive. It is almost difficult to base an entire career on insult comedy but still, this world has a sufficiently long list of insult comedians.
Famous Comedians, you can google to learn more about Insult comedy:
Bob Saget, Don Rickles, Ricky Gervais, Seth MacFarlane, Jimmy Carr, Andrew Dice Clay, Jerry Sadowitz, Sam Kinison, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, Frankie Boyle, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, etc.
12 - Mockumentary:
Mockumentary meaning is easy to understand if you have watched Indian news channels. A mockumentary is a form of comedy used to mock a serious subject by way of hilarious incidents. In other words, a documentary style parody is known as Mockumentary.
Mockumentaries offer a powerfully hilarious storytelling device but only a few comedians can master this type of comedy.
Popular TV Shows and Films based on Mockumentary:Borat, This is spinal tap, Fubar & Fubar 2, The Monkees, The Rutles, Summer Heights High, Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo, The Office, Bruno, Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, Come Fly with Me, Angry Boys, The Complete Al, Trailer Park Boys, etc.
13 - Musical Comedy:
Musical comedy is a form of comedy where humor is mostly derived from music with or sometimes without lyrics. The dialogues used by comedians while doing musical comedy are interspersed with songs to make it more funny.
The songs are sung by characters and interwoven into a story. Sometimes the musical comedy is accompanied by dancing too. Such acts when presented in the theatre, produce tons of laughter.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Musical comedy:
Denis Leary, Ninja Sex Party, Bill Bailey, The Lonely Island, Les Luthiers, Mitch Benn, Flight Of The Conchords, Tim Minchin, Tenacious D, Spinal Tap, Stephen Lynch, etc.
14 - Observational Comedy:
Observational comedy is one of the most creative types of comedy. It involves joking at the common everyday incidents, which the stand-up comedian or open mic contestant has observed in his surroundings.
Observational comedy aims to poke fun at everyday life, and is one of the most practiced forms of comedy at open mics. It is characterized by the inflation of importance of trivial things or by observing the silliness of something that society accepts as normal.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Observational comedy:
Craig Ferguson, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Mitch Hedberg, Louis C.K., Billy Connolly, Russell Howard, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael McIntyre, etc.
15 - One Line Joke:
By the name itself, one line joke is humour expressed in a single line. A good one-liner joke is one which is concise and meaningful, making the audience laugh in the intended pauses.
Comedians and actors use this comedic method as a part of their act to give a better introduction of their comedic skills. The next time you come across this type of comedy, make sure you laugh out loud!
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about One Line Jokes:
Rodney Dangerfield, Steven Wright, Tommy Cooper, Stewart Francis, Ken Dodd, Milton Jones, Henny Youngman, Mitch Hedberg, Tim Vine, Jimmy Carr, Demetri Martin, etc.
16 - Physical Comedy:
Physical comedy is much similar to slapstick. It is a form of comedy which focuses on the manipulation of the body for a comedic effect. Physical comedy uses physical movement and gestures.
The performance of a clown in a circus and of Mr. Bean in the famous TV series are examples of physical comedy only. It is all about making the silent gestures hilarious and fun.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Physical Comedy:
Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jim Carrey, Bob Nelson, Norman Wisdom, Jacques Tati, Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, John Ritter, Conan O'Brien, etc.
17 - Prop Comedy:
Prop comedy is done with the help of a non-living object, which supports the theme of comedy. It relies on the ridiculous props, casual jackets or everyday objects, which the comedian uses to entertain the audience.
However, prop comedy did not earn much fame to the comedians. It is often considered as the lowest form of comedy among all types of comedy.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Prop Comedy:
Bob Nelson, Jeff Dunham, Gallagher, Carrot Top, Tape Face, Howie Mandel, Tommy Cooper, Harpo Marx, Timmy Mallett, Red Skelton, Jerry Sadowitz, etc.
Indian Movie Using Prop Comedy:
Dil Hai Tumhara
18 - Shock Comedy:
Shock comedy is a form of comedy using shock value to entertain the audience. It invokes a strong negative emotion about the situation being talked and then covers it up by a comedic genre.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Shock Comedy:
Howard Stern, Eric Andre, etc.
Popular TV Shows and Films based on Shock Comedy:
Family Guy, Jackass, and Da Ali G Show.
19 - Sitcom or Situational Comedy:
A sitcom is the short form for situational comedy and is widely used in the videos we watch every day. It is one amongst the types of comedy, in which the characters use scripted dialogue to create a thematic situation.
A sitcom is a comedic genre which most of us enjoy but don’t know. A popular list of sitcom television series is given below.
Popular Sitcom TV Shows:
The Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld, Friends, That '70s Show, The Office, The Cosby Show, My Wife and Kids, I Love Lucy, The Simpsons, Open All Hours, Only Fools and Horses, Dinner Ladies, Modern Family, Melissa & Joey Fawlty Towers, Black Books, Porridge, Dad's Army, Blackadder, Gavin & Stacey, All in the Family, etc.
20 - Sketch Comedy:
Sketch comedy is a comedic genre and not the pencil sketch which kids make. Sketch comedy involves short comedic scenes, which are one to ten minutes long. It is a shorter version of a sitcom, typically performed live.
Popular Comedians, you can Google to learn more about Sketch Comedy:
Dawn French, Craig Ferguson, Jennifer Saunders, Lorne Michaels, Catherine Tate, Armstrong and Miller, etc.
Popular TV Shows for Sketch Comedy:
Monty Python, Armstrong and Miller, Saturday Night Live, Chappelle's Show, Firesign Theatre, In Living Color, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Mad TV, Key & Peele.
21 - Spoof Comedy:
Spoof comedy is a sub-genre of comedy, characterized by a satirical imitation, a parody, reuse or deception of something in a humorous manner. Spoof comedy may involve the recreation of a book, film, or play in a humorous way, which makes the whole thing comedic.
Spoof comedy adds a new look to the old things, making them hilarious and funny at the same time.
Popular TV Shows for Spoof Comedy:
French and Saunders, Mitchell and Webb, Peter Serafinowicz, Mel Brooks, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Weird Al Yankovic, Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker; Films and TV shows: Hot Shots, Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights, Shriek, Look Around You, C. S. Amudhan, etc.
22 - Surreal Comedy:
Surreal Comedy is a form of humor based on bizarre juxtapositions, absurd situations, and nonsense logic, which gives pricking feeling to the audiences. You will like a mad person has come up on the stage of open mic, if the comedian chooses to do surreal comedy.
It would be weird, bizarre and ridiculous, hence funny. If you happen to be watching something that has a surreal comedy, it would definitely be worth your time.
Popular Comedians, you can google to learn more about Surreal Comedy:
Jay Kogen, Eddie Izzard, J. Stewart Burns, Ross Noble, Spike Milligan, Bill Bailey, Brent Butt, The Mighty Boosh, Eric Andre, Trey Parker, Monty Python, etc.
23 - Topical Comedy or Satire:
Topical comedy or satire requires knowledge of external events to do comedy. It is a type of comedy that bases itself on headlines or important news and current affairs, to make jokes and entertain others. Topical comedy dates quickly, but is a popular form of comedy for late night talk-variety shows and open mics.
Popular Comedians, you can google to learn more about Topical Comedy or Satire:
George Carlin, Jon Stewart, Dennis Miller, Conan O'Brien, Russell Howard, Craig Ferguson, Dave Chappelle, The Chaser, Punt and Dennis, Ian Hislop, Brent Butt, Paul Merton, Mort Sahl, Kathy Griffin, Jon Holmes, Stewart Lee, Mark Thomas, Matt Groening, Rory Bremner, David Letterman, etc.
Popular TV Shows based on Topical comedy or Satire:
The Daily Show, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, The News Quiz, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, South Park, etc.
24 - Wit or Word Play:
Wit or wordplay is an intelligent form of comedy. When a comedian is able to write or present that is cleverly funny, it is called wit comedy. It includes subtle manipulation of language, puns, and comparisons.
Popular Comedians, you can google to learn more about Wit or Wordplay:
Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare, Demetri Martin, Bo Burnham, Firesign Theatre, Myq Kaplan, Jay Jason, Oscar Wilde, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Tim Vine, Crazy Mohan, Harry Hill, Stephen Fry, etc.
25 - Tafri:
All of us are aware of this comedic genre and we love it, for we know only this type of comedy. We practice it in daily life, whenever we have idle fun!
Popular Comedians, you can google to learn more about Tafri:
You and me.
So, these were the 25 comedic genres (with the last one created specifically by Indians) which various comedians across the globe practice and present.
Now that you know these genres, you can challenge your friends and grab exciting treats at your favorite cafes!
PS: You can invite me too! (Tafri hai bro!)