The Elements of Comedy

The problem with breaking something apart to understand it is that you break the thing you are trying to understand. But comedy is so complex, we need to start somewhere. So to understand comedy as it exists now, let’s look at four primary elements:

• Physiological
• Cognitive
• Psychological
• Semantic

These elements are ways of looking at Comedy, and they correspond to particular components of the phenomenon:

• Physiological (Laughter)
• Cognitive (Funny)
• Psychological (Humor)
• Semantic (Comic)

Or, to put it slightly differently:

• Laughter is a physiological mechanism.
• Humor is a psychological mechanism.
• Funny is a cognitive mechanism.
• Comic is a semantic mechanism.

Comedy is all of the above.