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What's the definition of comedy? Banana. - Addison Anderson

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What makes us giggle and guffaw? The inability to define comedy is its very appeal; it is defined by its defiance of definition. Addison Anderson riffs on the philosophy of Henri Bergson and Aristotle to elucidate how a definition draws borders while comedy breaks them down.

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  • Educator Addison Anderson
  • Director Anton Bogaty
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Bergson’s essay titled, Laughter: An essay on the meaning of comic

Here's an English translation of Aristotle’s Poetics.

"All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses..." Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Here's a topic posted in the TED-Ed Community about standup comedy. It asks the question, "Is standup viewed as a crappier art?"

Jerry Seinfeld's web series is really fun. It's called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. That's right. It's just that simple.

Speaking of Seinfeld, here's an interview he did with the New York Times about how to write a joke.

So, while it’s true that nothing is less funny than trying to explain why a joke is funny, it’s still worth asking: What makes the long-joke work?

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Addison Anderson
  • Director Anton Bogaty
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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