The Divine Comedy: Funny Movies and Shows That Have Something To Say After The Laughs - Arts & Culture

The punchline is that these comedies are full of drama.

If you listen closely, many comedy projects actually have a deep message that resonates once the laughter has faded.

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This is no coincidence.

Richard Taflinger, in his Theory of Comedy, proposes that humor contains six elements.

These must appeal to the intellect rather than emotions, are mechanical, inherently human with the capability of reminding us of humanity, have established societal norms that are familiar, inconsistent or unsuitable situations and its component parts, and ultimately, are harmless or painless.

“Something is funny only insofar as it is or reminds the audience of humanity,” Taflinger wrote.

This is why audiences relate deeply to comedy despite the genre being “critically underrated.” As penned by Michael Arell in his study, there is a “lack of critical and scholarly attention given to the film genre of comedy.”

Here are comedy movies and TV series to get you laughing and thinking when you watch them on April Fool’s Day.

3 Idiots

Synopsis: “Two friends are searching for their long-lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently. Even as the rest of the world called them ‘idiots.’”

Aamir Khan’s greatest hero role was none other than in 3 Idiots, where he underscores the value of education. And the best kind of learning, he proved, is one that liberates.

Four Sisters and a Wedding

Synopsis: “Four sisters unite to stop their young brother’s pending nuptials upon meeting his fiancée’s demanding family, revealing long-simmering family issues.”

This instant classic has more than just a star-studded cast and jokes to continue holding our attention. It also has monologues that serve to inspire endless memes and to remind us about family values at the heart of the Philippines.

Frances Ha

Synopsis: “A New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams. Even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.”

Protagonist Frances Halladay unwittingly lives by the movie’s ironically perfect signature quote. “I like things that look like mistakes.” Watching her thrive is proof that adulthood might suck, but you’re doing it right as long as you continue.


Synopsis: “Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.”

People forget that Parasite is a comedy due to its heavy subject matter toward the film’s second half. But it is—a black comedy to be specific. Although the plot twists are impossible to predict, director Bong Joon-ho unsurprisingly delivers another message about class and society.

The Big Lebowski

Synopsis: “Ultimate L.A. slacker Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for a rug ruined by debt collectors, enlisting his bowling buddies for help while trying to find the millionaire’s missing wife.”

The Dude has it all figured out as the personification of “it is what it is.” The movie consciously starts but does not finish several plot threads. Other films would be faulted for this, but here it totally makes sense. The Big Lebowski, without being insensitive, is a good example of the power of mindsetting.


Synopsis: “This hit sitcom follows the merry misadventures of six 20-something pals as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life, and love in 1990s Manhattan.”

Friends is the OG, the template, and the success story. Nevermind the way it paved for other sitcoms. It practically gave audiences a path forward as we encountered our own life misadventures. Which are really not too different from those of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, or Joey.

Modern Family

Synopsis: “This Emmy-winning sitcom follows Jay Pritchett and his eclectic family as they deal with the challenges of contemporary life in Los Angeles.”

Modern families have modern problems, and this sitcom is the modern solution. The eponymous family shows how the most unlikely people put have all the same love as traditional familial setups. No barrier is too big: language, sexuality, or what have you.

Schitt’s Creek

Synopsis: “Legendary comedy duo Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy reunite. They play a glamorous but bankrupt couple living in a motel with their two adult children.”

This riches to rags story effectively surprises audiences by depicting a newly bankrupt family. Slowly, they mature and grow into empowered individuals with each passing season. It deserves every award and achieved just that with its last season that hauled all the major Primetime Emmys for Comedy.

The Good Place

Synopsis: “When Eleanor dies and winds up in an afterlife paradise reserved for only the most ethical people, she realizes she’s been mistaken for somebody else.”

The Good Place provides a blueprint for how differently bad people, even demons, can work toward being better versions of themselves. Who would’ve thought that a sitcom about philosophy would be so infotaining?

The Office

Synopsis: “This hit comedy chronicles the foibles of disgruntled office workers. Led by deluded boss Michael Scott—at the Dunder Mifflin paper company.”

The Office subverts the idea of the professional workplace setting into a running joke. It even illustrates how coworkers can become best friends, if not family. Together, they survive everything from office drama and mergers, to prank wars and managerial antics.

Banner Photo via Schitt’s Creek’s Instagram

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