The Art of Comedy
- Mark Twain
"From there to here, From here to there, Funny things are everywhere."
- Dr. Seuss
There is a famous saying usually credited to Robert Frost that goes: "Poetry is what gets lost in translation." For the student of comedy, a variation on this familiar maxim might be: "Comedy is what gets lost in explanation." It certainly has been my experience that the more you explain a joke, for example, the less funny it becomes. And students have routinely told me that knowing too much about how comedy works can spoil some of its fun. Yet those same students will return to say that their knowledge, finally, made them appreciate good comedy more and tolerate bad comedy less. If that is so, then for the successful course in comedy, we’ll hope that: "Comedy is what gets found in explanation."
- Larry Eilenberg, Introduction to The Art of Comedy