black humor essay

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Black Humor: Critical Essays (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities)

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Black Humor: Critical Essays (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities) 1st Edition

  • ISBN-10 0815306199
  • ISBN-13 978-0815306191
  • Edition 1st
  • Publisher Routledge
  • Publication date December 1, 1992
  • Language English
  • Dimensions 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • Print length 408 pages
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All the Little Raindrops: A Novel

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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Routledge; 1st edition (December 1, 1992)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 408 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0815306199
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0815306191
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • #9,084 in Humor Essays (Books)
  • #25,674 in Literature
  • #35,328 in Fiction Satire

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Black Humor on the Film Screen: From Folk to Popular Culture

Profile image of Lada Stevanovic

2020, Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology

The paper is dealing with the complex phenomenon of black humor. Starting from different definitions about its origin, the author questions its folklore origin in Greek antiquity. Through the prism of the theories of Olga Freidneberg and Michael Bakhtin, parody and/or carneval appear as a worldview contrary and at the same time parallel to the serious, official, hierarchical order. Exactly this image of the world, and conceptualization of death on its grounds, lead in ancient Greece to the appearance of the theatre and comedy, that is regarded to be the predecessor of black film comedies. Pointing out the intertwinement of laughter and death, as well as the existence of black humor in the Greek antiquity, the author also deals with interesting connection between film black comedies and Serbian performative ritual games with motives of death and the dead. Such motives and the atmosphere that they provoke are easily recognized in the Serbian black comedies. As an example, i.e. a case ...

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Black Humor

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By Paul Beatty

  • Jan. 22, 2006

My introduction to black -- excuse me, Black -- literature happened during the summer between eighth and ninth grades when the Los Angeles Unified School District, out of the graciousness of its repressive little heart, sent me a copy of Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It was the first book I'd ever opened written by an African-American author. Notice I said "opened" and not "read." I made it through a few pages before I began to get suspicious. Why would a school district that didn't bother to supply me with a working pair of left-handed scissors, a decipherable pre-algebra text or a slice of pepperoni pizza with more than two pepperonis on it send me a new book? Why care about my welfare now?

I read another paragraph, growing more oppressed with each maudlin passage. My lips thickened. My burr-headed Afro took on the texture of a dried-out firethorn bush. My love for the sciences, the Los Angeles Kings and scuba diving disappeared. My dog, Butch, growled at me. I suppressed my craving for a Taco Bell Bellbeefer (remember those?) because I feared the restaurant wouldn't serve me. My eyes started to water and the words to "Roll, Jordan, Roll," a Negro spiritual I'd never heard before, rumbled out of my mouth in a sonorous baritone. I didn't know I could sing. I tossed the book into the kitchen trash. I already knew why the caged bird sang -- my family was impoverished every other week while waiting for my mother's paydays -- but after three pages of that book, I knew why they put a mirror in the parakeet's cage: so he could wallow in his own misery.

After this traumatic experience, I retreated to my room to self-medicate with James Clavell, John Irving, Joseph Wambaugh, the Green Lantern and Archie and Jughead. It would be 10 years before I would touch another book written by an African-American. As my wiser sister Anna says, "Never trust folks like Maya Angelou and James Earl Jones who grow up in Walla Walla, Miss., and Boogaloo, Ark., and speak with British accents."

It's always struck me as odd that there hasn't been a colored Calvin Trillin, Bennett Cerf or Mark Twain. Hell, I'd settle for a cornball Dave Barry who'd write, for the rap magazines, columns with titles like "Boogers: The Ghetto Sushi." The defining characteristic of the African-American writer is sobriety -- unless it's the black literature you buy from the book peddler standing on the corner next to the black-velvet-painting dealer, next to the burrito truck: then the prevailing theme is the ménage à trois.

After throwing away Angelou's book, I was apparently on some urban watch list. I'd been discovered by a consortium of concerned teachers who, determined to "get through" to me, introduced me to the expansive world of African-American literature, which in those days consisted of four books: Angelou's autobiography, Richard Wright's "Black Boy," Alice Childress's "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich" and James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the Mountain." That was pretty much the entire black canon, though every SAT prep book that ever put me to sleep confirmed the existence of at least one poem written by an African-American. ("In the line, 'What happens to a dream deferred?' the poet dreams of: (a) equal rights (b) showing up at school naked (c) a white Christmas (d) a fancy car, diamond in the back, sunroof top, so he can dig the scene with a gangster lean (e) all of the above.")

My journey to black literary insobriety isn't so different from how I came to appreciate free jazz after growing up in a house that contained two records, the soundtrack to "Enter the Dragon" and "Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan." It turns out that I enjoy never fully understanding what's in front of me, and I masochistically relish being offended while thinking about why I feel offended and if I should feel offended. I also live in Manhattan's East Village.

I found the work of the novelist Darius James while passing through Cathy's bookstore on Avenue B and at the Living Theater on Third Street, hearing him deliver voodoo shibboleths as unruly as his stringy dreadlocks. No one laughed harder at his jokes than he did.

"Lil' Black Zambo was a little nigger boy," he wrote in his 1992 novel, "Negrophobia." "Or pickaninny. Or jigaboo. Or any number of names we have for little colored children -- shine, smoke, snowball, dinge, dust, inky, eggplant and chocolate moonpie. And since Lil' Black Zambo lived with his mammy in a one-room hut made of mud and leaves near a croc-infested swamp in the Jungle, we can call him 'gator bait, too. . . . Zambo's pappy, Tambo, who liked to drink cheap coconut wine, ran off long before Zambo was born, so Zambo and his mammy were very, very poor. They didn't give out welfare checks in the Jungle. The Jungle was uncivilized. Or at least that's what Zambo's mammy, Mambo, said. 'When we gwine git civilized so I can git on d'welfare?' "

Bob Holman, then a director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, probably feeling guilty for offering to pay the royalties on my first collection of poetry in draft beer, gave me a first edition copy of the poet Bob Kaufman's "Golden Sardine" (1967). I'd heard the name, dropped by aging Beats looking to reaffirm their movement's diversity. I read that, and quickly snapped up Kaufman's "Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness" (1965) from St. Mark's Bookshop, and therein found the answer to what happens to Langston Hughes's deferred dreamers -- they become what Kaufman called (in his made-up word) Abomunists, as demonstrated by these selected riffs from his book "Abomunist Manifesto" (1959):

Abomunists join nothing but their hands

+or legs, or other same. In times of national peril, abomunists, as

reality Americans, stand ready to

drink themselves to death for their country. Abomunists never carry more than fifty

dollars in debts on them. Some black humor I found on my own bookshelf. I reread Zora Neale Hurston's freewheeling story "Book of Harlem," written circa 1921. ("And she said unto him, 'Go thou and buy the books and writings of certain scribes and Pharisees which I shall name unto you, and thou shalt learn everything of good and of evil. Yea, thou shalt know as much as the Chief of the Niggerati, who is called Carl Van Vechten.' ") I heard Richard Pryor shout-out Cecil Brown on "Bicentennial Nigger," and figured that if Pryor was giving the man some dap, then Brown's novel "The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger" (1969) must be worth a look-see. It is.

My friends were the biggest help. I'll never forget the film director Reginald Hudlin shaking his head in pity when I told him I'd never read George Schuyler's 1931 novel "Black No More." ("Don't you know who that is?" a character in Schuyler's novel asks. "Why that's that Dr. Crookman. You know, the fellow what's turnin' niggers white. See that B N M on the side of his plane? That stands for Black-No-More.") The poet Kofi Natambu practically refused to speak to me until I read Ishmael Reed, and the novelist Danzy Senna smiled wistfully when she showed me the cover of Fran Ross's hilarious 1974 novel, "Oreo." I'm usually very slow to come around to things. It took me two years to "feel" Wu Tang's first album, even longer to appreciate Basquiat, and I still don't get all the fuss over Duke Ellington and FrankLloyd Wright. But I couldn't believe "Oreo" hadn't been on my cultural radar.

The writer Steve Cannon, professor emeritus of the Lower East Side, pointed me in the direction of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where I stumbled on the black-faced minstrel jokes of Bert Williams, typed on yellowed parchment. The paper was dry, but the century-old wit was still surprisingly fresh. Even more of a shock was my discovery that W. E. B. Du Bois, the pillar of African-American stolidity, had a sense of humor. His 1923 essay "On Being Crazy," while by no means hilarious, is at least an example of the great man letting his "good" hair down to engage in a little segregation satire.

I wish I'd been exposed to this black literary insobriety at an earlier age. It would've been comforting to know that I wasn't the only one laughing at myself in the mirror.

ESSAY This essay is adapted from Paul Beatty's introduction to his new book, "Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor."

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  • Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut

  • Literature Notes
  • The Vonnegut Humor
  • Book Summary
  • About Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Kurt Vonnegut Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Understanding the Bombing of Dresden
  • Predestination and Free Will in Slaughterhouse-Five
  • The Anti-Hero and Billy Pilgrim
  • The Presence of the Narrator in Slaughterhouse-Five
  • The Song of Roland and Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Slaughterhouse-Five on Film
  • Full Glossary for Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Essay Questions
  • Cite this Literature Note

Critical Essays The Vonnegut Humor

Vonnegut's humor is demonstrated primarily through the medium of black humor, a literary technique that makes us laugh so that we don't cry. Black humor is humor discovered in agony, despair, or horror. It can exist as an individualized hell or as a generally pessimistic view of the universe. In Slaughterhouse-Five , Vonnegut embellishes the scope of black humor by incorporating irony and by using vocabulary that creates a mock-serious tone, often leading to absurdity.

One example of Vonnegut's black humor concerns the British officers who welcome the American prisoners to the POW camp. These British officers, functioning in what would ordinarily be considered a demoralizing environment, manage to make the war experience seem less horrific than it really is. They treat the American POWs to a musical version of Cinderella during the first night in camp, an entertaining fare one would not typically expect in a German POW camp. With their incredible morale and elevated esprit, the British officers delight even the Germans who hold them captive. However, juxtaposed to this fantastical way of life is the fact that the Englishmen readily use objects of inhumanity without remorse. For example, their candles and soap, made from human fat rendered from Nazi war victims, are accepted without question. Slaughterhouse-Five is replete with such horrible compromise, yet the severity of these events is masked by Vonnegut's black humor.

On an individual level, the best examples of the novel's ironic black humor concern the hobo and Edgar Derby. The 40-old hobo, captured along with the American soldiers, continually assures his comrades that things "ain't so bad." He has been in boxcars before, he announces, but after nine days of confinement, he dies. Such situational irony is also evident in Derby's plight. He survives the bombing of Dresden, but he does not survive what follows. Having stolen a teapot, a minuscule item indeed, he is executed for the offense. For Vonnegut, the personal irony of the hobo's and Derby's situations magnifies the injustices of war, which often lead to the demise of individuals and their untimely deaths in absurd circumstances.

One additional technique that Vonnegut employs to set the tone of the novel's black humor is his use of words or phrases as a form of mock seriousness that gives way to the absurd. On the night of the Dresden bombing, Billy and his fellow POWs, as well as some of the guard detail, are underground in a meat locker that is used as a bomb shelter. Vonnegut's use of the term "meat locker" emphasizes that the prisoners are viewed not as humans by their captors, but as animals; after all, they are held in a slaughterhouse for animals. just as animals were previously killed in the Dresden slaughterhouse, so too, in theory, will many prisoners and civilians be killed — only the killers will not be Germans, but rather the American prisoners' fellow Allied soldiers. Other German guards, Vonnegut tells us, have "gone to the comforts of their own homes in Dresden. They were all being killed with their families." This tone of irony contrasts the human condition of life and family with the despair of death.

Another example of mock seriousness dissolving into absurdity is demonstrated in the dialogue of Wild Bob, the American infantry colonel who loses his entire regiment in battle. Waiting to be loaded into the boxcars destined for the POW camp, Wild Bob assures his men that there are dead Germans lying all over the battlefield who despair to God that they ever encountered the 405th Infantry Regiment, the regiment under Wild Bob's command. The seriousness of the situation quickly descends to absurdity as we realize that Wild Bob, critically injured and about to die, is losing his mind. The men to whom he speaks are not even part of his former regiment, yet Wild Bob hallucinates that they are. Even more pathetically absurd is his notion that the Germans died wishing they had never heard of his regiment: Wild Bob's soldiers, not the Germans, died on that battlefield.

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black humor essay

The following essay is excerpted from Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style by Kurt Vonnegut and Suzanne McConnell, published by Seven Stories Press in November 2019.

Suzanne McConnell

Vonnegut’s ‘black humor’.

I had made her so unhappy that she had developed a sense of humor, which she certainly didn’t have when I married her. —  from Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard  (1987)

This line from Bluebeard ’s narrator remarks on another kind of humor, the black humor Vonnegut is best known for. Its source is helplessness and despair. He explains:

Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there’s nothing else he can do.

A scene in Cat’s Cradle illustrates it as well as any in Vonnegut’s oeuvre. The character Phillip Castle is telling another about a catastrophic shipwreck off the fictional island of San Lorenzo. It washed a load of people onshore.

“At Father’s hospital, we had fourteen hundred deaths inside of ten days. Have you ever seen anyone die of bubonic plague?’” [He describes blackened bodies, swollen glands, “stacks of dead.”] . . .

“. . . Father worked without sleep for days, worked not only without sleep but without saving many lives, either.” . . .

“. . . Anyway, one sleepless night I stayed up with Father while he worked. It was all we could do to find a live patient to treat. In bed after bed after bed we found dead people.

“And Father started giggling,” Castle continued.

“He couldn’t stop. He walked out into the night with his flashlight. He was still giggling. He was making the flashlight beam dance over all the dead people stacked outside. He put his hand on my head, and do you know what that marvelous man said to me?” asked Castle.

“‘Son,’ my father said to me, ‘someday this will all be yours.’”

This quintessential Vonnegut mousetrap — dark as pitch, funny as hell — is well known to Vonnegut fans. Let me tell you how one of those fans employs it.

Like Jon Stewart, who said, when introducing Kurt on The Daily Show , that “as an adolescent he made my life bearable,” Joshua confided, at a fledgling Vonnegut book club in New York, that Vonnegut’s books had saved him as a teenager. When he discovered that Vonnegut had majored in anthropology, he did too.

What has he done with that degree?

Worked all over the globe for NGOs, starting in Sri Lanka during their civil war, first working for an organization that assisted victims of one side of the conflict, then for an organization that assisted the other side. A very Vonnegut-like thing to do indeed! Kurt would have loved that. He’d be proud. He’d laugh.

At that moment, Joshua was working to rebuild houses of people hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

A year or so later, he sent me the following e-mail:

I’m writing from the disputed Ukrainian/Russian border. I am working for the Danish Refugee Council, leading the planning and implementation of shelter for Ukrainian refugees displaced by the conflict. . . .

I thought of you today when I quoted Vonnegut. I was orienting a new aid worker. I told him, “Someday this could all be yours.”

The term “black humor” was coined by writer Bruce Jay Friedman, who compiled an anthology of contemporary writers in 1965 entitled Black Humor . Vonnegut objected to that classification at first, since the writers were a diverse lot. Eventually he had quite a lot to say about it.

In the Modern Library edition of The Works of Freud , you’ll find a section on humor in which he talks about middle-European “gallows humor,” and so it happens that what Friedman calls “black humor” is very much like German- Austrian-Polish “gallows humor.” . . . One of the examples Freud gives is a man about to be hanged, and the hangman says, “Do you have anything to say?” The condemned man replies, “Not at this time.”

“This country has made one tremendous contribution to ‘gallows humor,’ and it took place in Cook County Jail.” Kurt reported that Nelson Algren told him this incident. “A man was strapped into the electric chair, and he said to the witnesses, ‘This will certainly teach me a lesson.’”

Laughter is a response to frustration, just as tears are, and it solves nothing, just as tears solve nothing. . . . The example [Freud] gives is of the dog who can’t get through a gate to bite a person or fight another dog. So he digs dirt. It doesn’t solve anything, but he has to do something . Crying or laughing is what a human being does instead. . . . My peak funniness came when I was at Notre Dame, at a literary festival there. It was in a huge auditorium and the audience was so tightly tuned that everything I said was funny. All I had to do was cough or clear my throat and the whole place would break up. . . . Martin Luther King had been shot two days before. . . . There was an enormous need to either laugh or cry as the only possible adjustment. There was nothing you could do to bring King back. So the biggest laughs are based on the biggest disappointments and the biggest fears. . . .

One of my favorite cartoons—I think it was by Shel Silverstein—shows a couple of guys chained to an eighteen- foot cell wall, hung by their wrists, and their ankles are chained, too. Above them is a tiny barred window that a mouse couldn’t crawl through. And one of the guys is saying to the other, “Now here’s my plan. . . .” It goes against the American storytelling grain to have someone in a situation he can’t get out of, but I think this is very usual in life. . . . And it strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems. There is that implication that if you just have a little more energy, a little more fight, the problem can always be solved. This is so untrue that it makes me want to cry—or laugh.

Jim Siegelman, a “nugget,” the term Vonnegut’s Harvard students gave themselves, tells this anecdote about Kurt’s humor:

Kurt taught us death was the world’s biggest joke, the ultimate punch line, the last laugh, so to speak. I wrote a story that was a parody of Love Story , which was all the rage then, and presented it in class. The hero, Sidney, a Harvard freshman, falls in love with a svelte Radcliffe senior, Leslie, who comes down with a terminal case of mercury poisoning.

But the real punch line of my story was this one, which took place during a moment of post-coital reflection:

“There’s just no communication between me and my parents,” said Sidney.

“Whose fault is that?” asked Leslie.

“It’s nobody’s fault really,” he said. “They’re both dead.”

Siegelman says, “That broke Kurt up. I never saw anybody laugh so hard.”

At the Iowa workshop, sometimes Vonnegut tried out jokes on us in class. One day he told us that the crucifixion story didn’t teach compassion. What the story really illustrated was that it was okay to murder somebody: just be sure he’s not well connected. He laughed until he wheezed when he told us. We laughed hard too.

In a revised, more moral story, he said, a nobody would be crucified. Just before he died, God would adopt him. That story would teach that any nobody could be the son of God. Our response let him know we thought the joke and the idea superb. And there it is, in chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five .

One thing Kurt never tried on us was his own wit at our expense. If something irritated or angered him, he was direct and outspoken about it.

The fact that we’re animals conscious of ourselves as alive and simultaneously of our impending demise makes fecund soil for gallows humor. Talk about helplessness! The tragic! Sure, Kurt found death the world’s biggest joke.

He jokes about it even in the unlikeliest places. In Cat’s Cradle , a man is working on a huge mosaic of a beautiful woman. The narrator wants to take the artist’s picture. But he doesn’t have his camera. The artist replies,

“Well, for Christ’s sake, get it! You’re not one of those people who trusts his memory, are you?”

“I don’t think I’ll forget that face you’re working on very soon.”

“You’ll forget it when you’re dead, and so will I. When I’m dead, I’m going to forget everything—and I advise you to do the same.”

Vonnegut told a graduating class in 2004,

I am, incidentally, honorary president of the American Humanist Association. . . . We Humanists behave as honourably as we can without any expectations of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community. . . .

If I should ever die, . . . God forbid, I hope some of you will say, “Kurt’s up in Heaven now.” That’s my favorite joke.

In Timequake , written when he was closer than ever to the heaven he didn’t believe in, Vonnegut applies the phrase several times.

O’Hare [his war buddy Bernard O’Hare], having become a lawyer for both the prosecution and the defense in later life, is up in Heaven now.

A boyhood friend of mine, William H. C. “Skip” Failey, who died four months ago . . . is up in Heaven now.

The nicotine habit plagued Vonnegut all his life.

In Jailbird , the narrator, Walter, confesses that he used to smoke “four packs of unfiltered Pall Malls a day.” But he quit. The day he’s released from prison, tobacco-free for years, he has a nightmare.

In the dream my damp, innocent pink lungs shriveled into two black raisins. Bitter brown tar seeped from my ears and nostrils.

But worst of all was the shame .

Vonnegut himself quit smoking a few times. Never for long.

He considered smoking a form of suicide, as he says in the preface to Welcome to the Monkey House . Late in his life, he turned this lifelong struggle and self-accusation against committing suicide by tobacco into a joke.

I am going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Pall Mall cigarettes, for a billion bucks! Starting when I was only twelve years old, I have never chain-smoked anything but unfiltered Pall Malls. And for many years now, right on the package, Brown and Williamson have promised to kill me.

But I am now eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats.

He didn’t get off scot-free, though. He suffered from emphysema, guilt, and was once hospitalized for smoke inhalation from a fire caused by his cigarettes.

How do you acquire the knack for the blackly comic? Again, it’s partly a native talent. According to his daughter Edie, even when he was a youngster, Kurt displayed that sensibility.

It can also be cultivated. All you have to do is take a look around through that lens. As I write, we’re in the middle of a political campaign that’s enough to make you cry—or laugh.

As I edit this manuscript months later, we’re in the middle of a presidential administration that threatens to turn most citizens of our nation into black humorists. It has succeeded in provoking superlative Saturday Night Live sketches, as well as John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and other comedians.

You don’t have to endure catastrophe or a war. But it might help. The following anecdote may illustrate that.

Biafra was a fledgling nation of the Ibo people—the writer Chinua Achebe among them—which for many reasons declared independence from Nigeria in 1967. War ensued. A blockade caused massive starvation. Images of the starving created a cause celebre in the US. Miriam Reik, daughter of the famous psychoanalyst Theodore Reik, invited Kurt Vonnegut and Vance Bourjaily, both World War II veterans, to go there as witnesses in 1970 as the nation was falling, and to write about it.

“It was like a free trip to Auschwitz when the ovens were still going full blast,” Kurt reported.

The worst sufferers there were the children of refugees. . . .

At the end, a very common diet was water and thin air.

So the children came down with kwashiorkor [a rare disease caused by a lack of protein]. . . .

The child’s hair turned red. His skin split like the skin of a ripe tomato. His rectum protruded. His arms and legs were like lollipop sticks.

Vance and Miriam and I waded through shoals of children like those at Awo-Omama. We discovered that if we let our hands dangle down among the children, a child would grasp each finger or thumb—five children to a hand. A finger from a stranger, miraculously, would allow a child to stop crying for a while. . . .

. . . When little children took hold of his fingers and stopped crying, Vance burst into tears.

The three of us spent an hour with him [the Biafran president, General Odumegwu Ojukwu]. He shook our hands at the end. He thanked us for coming. “If we go forward, we die,” he said. “If we go backward, we die. So we go forward.” . . .

His humor was gallows humor, since everything was falling apart around his charisma and air of quiet confidence. His humor was superb.

“Later, when we met his second-in-command, General Philip Effiong, he, too, turned out to be a gallows humorist. Vance said this: “Effiong should be the number-two man. He’s the second funniest man in Biafra.”

They’re all up in heaven now: Kurt, Vance, Miriam. Ojukwu and Effiong.

In Biafra, Vonnegut noted,

Miriam was annoyed by my conversation at one point, and she said scornfully, “You won’t open your mouth unless you can make a joke.” It was true. Joking was my response to misery I couldn’t do anything about.

Kurt mentioned Miriam’s comment in person, ruefully. He couldn’t stop himself there, he said, from making jokes.

The worst thing about a writer’s having a joke-making capability, of course, as James Thurber of Columbus, Ohio, pointed out in an essay years ago, is this: No matter what is being discussed, the jokester is going to head for a punch line every time.

Some smart young critic will soon quote that line above against me, imagining that I am . . . too dense to know that I have accidentally put my finger on what is awfully wrong with me.

What is “awfully wrong” about that? In terms of writing, Vonnegut says it’s this:

But joking is so much a part of my life adjustment that I would begin to work on a story on any subject and I’d find funny things in it or I would stop.

The problem is that jokes deal so efficiently with ideas that there is little more to be said after the punch line has been spoken. It is time to come up with a new idea—and another good joke.

A therapist might say that to joke relentlessly is to avoid your real feelings, and that acceptance and expression of your authentic feelings is a primary goal to self-actualization.

For whatever reason, American humorists or satirists or whatever you want to call them, those who choose to laugh rather than weep about demoralizing information, become intolerably unfunny pessimists if they live past a certain age.

It’s true. Kurt became more pessimistic and less prone to joking about everything as he aged.

Maybe this is one reason: aging is all it’s cracked up to be.

According to his doctor-son, Mark, damaged brain chemistry was the cause.

Here’s Kurt’s explanation, speaking in 1979 as a late-middle aged man:

Religious skeptics often become very bitter toward the end, as did Mark Twain, I do not propose to guess now as to why he became so bitter. I know why I will become bitter. I will finally realize that I have had it right all along: that I will not see God, that there is no heaven or Judgment Day.

Whatever the complexity of causes, Vonnegut’s later novel Hocus Pocus features this sober jokester:

Everything, and I mean everything, was a joke to him, or so he said. His favorite expression right up to the end was, “I had to laugh like hell.” If Lieutenant Colonel Patton is in Heaven, and I don’t think many truly professional soldiers have ever expected to wind up there, at least not recently, he might at this very moment be telling about how his life suddenly stopped in Hué, and then adding, without even smiling, “I had to laugh like hell.” That was the thing: Patton would tell about some supposedly serious or beautiful or dangerous or holy event during which he had had to laugh like hell, but he hadn’t really laughed. He kept a straight face, too, when he told about it afterward. In all his life, I don’t think anybody ever heard him do what he said he had to do all the time, which was laugh like hell [italics mine].

For more information and to order Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style , visit Seven Stories Press’s website .

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Black Humor

Definition of black humor.

Black humor is a literary device used in novels and plays to discuss taboo subjects while adding an element of comedy . Cambridge dictionary defines it as a non-serious way of treating or dealing with serious subjects. It is often used to present any serious, gruesome or painful incidents lightly. The writers use it as a tool to explore serious issues, inciting serious thoughts and discomfort in the audience .

In literature, this term is often associated with tragedies and is sometimes equated with tragic farce . In this sense, it makes the serious incident or event bit lighter in intensity. Although it is often inserted to induce laughter, it plays a significant role in advancing the action of the play or novel . Etymologically, black humor is a phrase of two words black and humor. The meanings are clear that it is a humorous way of treating something that is serious. It is also called black comedy, dark comedy or gallows humor.

Examples of Black Humor from Literature

“Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren’t necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next.”

( Kurt Vonnegut ,  Slaughterhouse-Five , Chapter 2)

These lines are taken from the second Two of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. The writer explains that the protagonist of the novel, Billy Pilgrim never had control over his life. He illustrates the war-torn mentality of Billy that has disturbed the normal pace of his life. Billy thinks that he has already visited all the events of his life. His planetary movements and theories about life and death have left a profound impact on his real life. This description proves black humor as it contributes to the novel’s anti-war message.

“They’re trying to kill me,” Yossarian told him calmly. No one’s trying to kill you,” Clevinger cried. Then why are they shooting at me?” Yossarian asked. They’re shooting at everyone,” Clevinger answered. “They’re trying to kill everyone.” And what difference does that make?”

( Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Chapter- 22)

These lines occur in chapter twenty-two of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The protagonist, Yossarian, is expressing his fears to his friend. Yossarian thinks that everyone intends to kill him, while Clevenger takes it in a very light way, implying death is something normal on the war-front. To him, death is an accepted reality during wars, so it should not be taken seriously. Therefore, he suggests that they are not specifically trying to kill Yossarian but everyone. This is a sort of humor for the readers when the tragedies become too heavy for them.

“Since she happened to be clutching the long broom, she tried to tickle him from the door way. This had no effect, and so she grew annoyed and began poking Gregor. It was only upon shoving him from his place but meeting no resistance that she became alert. When the true state of affairs now dawned on the charwomen, her eyes bulged with amazement and she whistled to herself. But instead of dawdling there, she yanked the bedroom door open and hollered into the darkness ; “Go and look it’s croaked; it’s lying there absolutely crooked.”

( The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka )

These lines occur toward the end of the text, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. These lines show the attitude of the woman hired by the family to clean Gregor’s room. After the gruesome incident, the demise of Gregor. Here the word “crooked” refers to Gregor’s death, which adds the element of black humor in the situation. The miserable plight of Gregor is narrated absurdly. Ironically, his death provides solace to his family and also illustrates that his metamorphosis was a must to alter the circumstances of his family. This incident presents black humor as it provides the audience to see the way the death of a family member has been described as if he is really an insect.

“ESTRAGON Let’s go. VLADIMIR We can’t. ESTRAGON Why not? VLADIMIR We’re waiting for Godot.”

(Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket, Act- I Scene-II, Lines 91-94)

This is another example of black humor from the play, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket. There are two characters in the scene. They are talking about the Godot, whom they are waiting for. These lines show that this wait never allows them to go for independent choices . Vladimir is so promising that he does not want to move until he meets Godot. This black humor shows the audience a chance to see their sufferings with a wry smile on their faces.

Functions of Black Humour

Black humor is a type of hiatus or pause for the audience after a heavy dose of tragic or serious incidents and similar to comic relief . It also gives them a chance to experience laughter and discomfort at the same time. As black humor means to end the tragic seriousness of the previous scenes or incidents, it often makes the same subject or topic or incident a bit lighter than it is. For example, it could be the discussion about the death as in Catch-22 , or silliness of the very serious situation in which the fate of people is in someone’s hand but it is made a common absurd situation such as in Waiting for Godot.

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Tony-winning playwright Christopher Durang dies at 75

The Associated Press

black humor essay

Playwright Christopher Durang appears on stage with producers to accept the award for best play for "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, on June 9, 2013, in New York. Also on stage are actors, background from left, Shalita Grant, Kristine Nielsen and Billy Magnussen. Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP hide caption

Playwright Christopher Durang appears on stage with producers to accept the award for best play for "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, on June 9, 2013, in New York. Also on stage are actors, background from left, Shalita Grant, Kristine Nielsen and Billy Magnussen.

NEW YORK — Playwright Christopher Durang, a master of satire and black comedy who won a Tony Award for "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist with "Miss Witherspoon," has died. He was 75.

Durang died Tuesday at his home in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, of complications from logopenic primary progressive aphasia, said his agent, Patrick Herold. In 2022, it was revealed Durang had been diagnosed in 2016 with the disorder, a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.

Durang's plays were infused with a smart, high-octane sense of absurdism. His works include "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You," ″Baby with the Bathwater," ″The Marriage of Bette and Boo," "Betty's Summer Vacation" and ″Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge."

"I am one of those people who laughed at not funny things," Durang told the crowd at a Dramatists Guild conference in 2013. "If you watch the adults around you make the same mistake 20 times in a row, at a certain point you want to jump out the window or you laugh. I was one of the ones who laughed."

The playwright had arguably his brightest career moment with "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," a sweet and witty play inspired by Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" and "Three Sisters" with a huge pop culture appetite that made it to Broadway starring David Hyde Pierce, Sigourney Weaver and Kristine Nielsen.

Stephen Sondheim is cool now

Stephen Sondheim is cool now

It centers on three middle-aged siblings named after Chekhov characters who are uneasily negotiating with age. Two of them — Vanya and Sonia — have been sitting around their Pennsylvania home and bickering for years ever since their parents died. The sibling who escaped, Masha, has become an insufferable movie star and has returned to sell the house, leaving her sister and brother with the prospect of being homeless and penniless.

Durang flung all kinds of references into his word processor: Angelina Jolie, Snow White, Maggie Smith, global warming, Norma Desmond, William Penn, "Peter Pan," the HBO show "Entourage," Lindsay Lohan, ancient Greek drama, voodoo and, of course, Chekhov. "I am a wild turkey," one character says, a riff on Chekhov's "The Seagull."

"I knew I was writing a comedy, but for all I knew it could turn out comically despairing. I was surprised the play was less bitter than I thought it would be," Durang told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2013.

The Associated Press called it "all a bit silly, a tad daffy and very, very sweet," while The New York Times said "there's something deeply comforting about Durang, of all people, delivering Chekhov's lost souls from their eternal misery, if only for one night."

As theaters scramble to reach new audiences, three get $1 million each

As theaters scramble to reach new audiences, three get $1 million each

In his Tony acceptance speech, Durang noted that he wrote his first play in second grade in 1958. "It's been a long road but I'm very happy to be here," he told the crowd.

His other plays included Broadway's "Beyond Therapy" — about two therapists trying to counsel two people looking for love who are as needy as the patients they are trying to help — and "The Actor's Nightmare," about a man pulled from the audience into a play he's completely unfamiliar with.

He was nominated for a Tony for best book of a musical in 1978 for "A History of the American Film" — about Hollywood's Golden Age — and named a Pulitzer finalist in 2006 for "Miss Witherspoon" — about a woman who wishes to die but is continually reincarnated on Earth.

Eli Browning, the executive director of Aux Dog Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said in 2010 that Durang made catharsis possible through humor.

″People don't like to be preached at, but if you get them to laugh at something or at themselves, then you have a chance to sneak the truth in for them to consider," he told the Albuquerque Journal.

In The Rush To The Tonys, A Late Glut For Theatergoers

In The Rush To The Tonys, A Late Glut For Theatergoers

A New Jersey native, Durang was born to an alcoholic architect and a homemaker — both Catholic. He liked to talk about his first play, written when he was 8. It was a two-page version of an "I Love Lucy" episode and he got to cast and direct. Later he wrote a musical with a friend at a Catholic, all-boys prep school.

Durang attended Harvard College, studying under William Alfred, and the Yale School of Drama, where he was taught by cartoonist Jules Feiffer and met Weaver, with whom he wrote and co-starred in the satiric cabaret "Das Lusitania Songspiel" and who went on to star in many of his plays.

Durang was co-chair of The Juilliard School's playwrights program since its inception, in 1994, with Marsha Norman and has also taught at Yale and Princeton. He retired from his position at Juilliard in spring 2016. His students included playwrights Stephen Belber and David Lindsay-Abaire. The latter took over for him at Juilliard.

Durang's other Broadway credits include "All About Me" in 2010 and "Sex and Longing" in 1996. He also wrote screenplays for such films as "The Adventures of Lola" and "The Nun Who Shot Liberty Valance." He was a staff writer for "Carol and Robin and Whoopi and Carl" in 1985.

Broadway audiences are getting a little bit younger and more diverse

Broadway audiences are getting a little bit younger and more diverse

He was also an actor, with his first speaking role being a put-upon executive in Herbert Ross' "The Secret of My Success" starring Michael J. Fox. Durang was a regular on a 2001 sitcom called "Kristin," starring Kristin Chenoweth. He also acted opposite Debra Monk in 2005 in a revival of "Laughing Wild" at The Huntington Theater in Boston.

In 2000, he won the Sidney Kingsley Playwriting Award. A year later, he won an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1995, he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writers Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. Over his career, he won three playwrighting Obie awards.

He is survived by his husband, John Augustine.

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Joaquin phoenix, joel coen & todd haynes among 150 signatories of open letter in support of jonathan glazer’s oscar speech , breaking news.

‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ Producer Launches Comedy Indie To Amplify Working Class, Female Voices

By Max Goldbart

Max Goldbart

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Dreaming Whilst Black

EXCLUSIVE: Gina Lyons , a producer on Dreaming Whilst Black and Amazon Freevee’s upcoming Dinner with the Parents , has launched a comedy indie to amplify working class, female voices.

Gobby Girl Productions recently closed finance on a £1.3M ($1.6M) British feature film starring big talent that will roll cameras in June. The company is also nearing greenlight on two shows for UK broadcasters.

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black humor essay

Gobby Girl will therefore focus on amplifying these voices and has already got the ball rolling.

“The goals and aspirations of the company became clear when Gina looked at the inequality of TV and film production and realised that she was in a minority as a working-class female and mother in producing, specifically in comedy,” the company’s website says. “Gobby Girl wants to celebrate the underdog and promote their voices.”

Lyons’ past credits include buzzy comedy series Dreaming Whilst Black and Sky’s Martin Freeman-starrer Breeders. She is also a producer on Freevee’s upcoming Dinner with the Parents, the U.S. remake of hit Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner, which premieres in two weeks.

Lyons has produced several short films which were selected to play at film festivals including Encounters, Rhode Island and Raindance.

She launches in a tricky market that is being hit by the ad recession, inflation and the hangover from the U.S. strikes. Lyons joked on X that this is the “worst time in TV for 30 years to set up shop.”

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Mr. President: If you force me to choose, you will lose

OPINION: The Biden administration's proposal to cut funding to the Charter Schools Program will leave parents little choice come November.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I vote in every election. When it comes to casting a ballot, whether it’s for president, Congress, state legislators, governor, mayor or city council, I am always going to vote based on what’s best for my child. There is nothing a candidate can say about any issue that will change this calculus. If I don’t believe my child will be better off with that person in office, they will not get my vote.

And I am not alone. There are millions of Americans — white, Black, Hispanic, Democrat, Republican, rural, suburban, urban — who will make the very same decision come November. Choosing to put our kids first is not a political issue; it’s just how we are wired.

This is why President Biden faces significant headwinds as we approach November. And so do other Democratic candidates up and down the ballot who seem to be unclear about the priorities of some of their most important constituents, parents.

Parents of K-12 students make up 40% of the U.S. electorate and according to a  survey  commissioned by the Harris Poll, 82% of them are willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s position on education, which is a particularly acute issue for Black mothers like me.

For decades, we have been promised that brighter days are ahead and that elected leaders are working toward creating equity in areas like education and the workforce. But now we are tired of waiting. We want something better right now.

That is why it was initially encouraging to hear during the State of the Union address when President Biden announced a laudable goal of all children reading by the third grade. The optimism was short-lived.

Just a couple of days later, President Biden’s proposed budget called for cutting investments in charter schools , which predominantly serve Black and brown students.

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I was understandably puzzled. How, exactly, are we supposed to get to this laudable goal by slashing the only source of federal funding for the startup, growth, replication, and expansion of these public schools that serve our students so well? There is never a cost to attend a charter school and, according to research from Stanford, the average charter student gains an equivalent of 16 additional learning days in reading in a year, and six additional days of learning in math.

It’s hard to interpret a proposed cut to the Charter Schools Program as anything other than harmful to our children.

We want our kids to at least have a fighting chance at achieving their dreams. We want them to be prepared for great careers that will help diminish income inequality. We are not talking about theories and hypotheticals. These are our children, and it is time to move with more urgency.

I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 1963 letter from Birmingham Jail , in which he responded to those encouraging Blacks to just “wait.”

Dr. King remarked, “There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”

Sixty years later, we remain impatient and rightfully so. Black children are still behind their white peers in reading and math. Their median weekly earnings , among those ages 16 to 24, is $133 less than white workers. And they are far more likely to end up in poverty or prison.

It is no wonder that according to a recent  poll  of Black single mothers, 69% believe the country is heading in the wrong direction and only 7% believe it’s on the right track. Fatigue is making us quite restless. Black women voters are an important voting bloc. Why? Because we tip elections.

To begin to rebuild trust, President Biden must demonstrate that he’s listening to us.  

He must show that he understands the value Black voters place on education and having better public school options by demonstrating his support for the schools we choose. President Biden must understand that if we’re going to reach the literacy goal he set out, it’s only achievable if Black and Brown families can actually access high-quality schools.

My home state of Florida can serve as a cautionary tale for President Biden. In 2018, Andrew Gillum ignored the wishes of Black voters and came out against school choice options that met the needs of underserved communities throughout the state. Gillum received around 40,000 fewer votes among Blacks than fellow Florida Democrat Bill Nelson received in his Senate race that same election day. Gillum lost to Ron DeSantis by 32,463 votes .

President Biden, do the math and please don’t take our vote for granted. 

black humor essay

Debbie Veney is a senior vice president at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Never miss a beat:  Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter .  

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF Black Humor: Reflections on an American Tradition

    "Black humor literature is similar to the literature of existentialism in that it begins with the same assumption—that the world is absurd." This is how Alan R. Pratt defines the term in the introduction to his edited collection, Black Humor: Critical Essays. He then illustrates his definition with a passage from Jean-Paul Sartre.

  2. Black humour

    black humour, writing that juxtaposes morbid or ghastly elements with comical ones that underscore the senselessness or futility of life. Black humour often uses farce and low comedy to make clear that individuals are helpless victims of fate and character. Though in 1940 the French Surrealist André Breton published Anthologie de l'humour ...

  3. Contemporary Black Humor Criticism: Black Humor In American Fiction

    New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1973. [ In the following essay, Weber considers the development of black humor in American fiction during the 1960s, tracing its beginnings to social ...

  4. Contemporary Black Humor Critical Essays

    Contemporary Black Humor. The following entry presents an overview of black humor, a type of literature that uses darkly satirical comedy in order to ridicule and express the absurd reality of the ...

  5. Contemporary Black Humor Criticism: Technique And Narrative

    In Black Humor: Critical Essays, edited by Alan R. Pratt, pp. 197-214. New York, N.Y.: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993. [ In the following essay, originally published in 1980, Heller writes about ...

  6. Black Humor: Critical Essays (Garland Reference Library of the

    Scholars familiar with l'humor noir have probably read almost all the essays anthologized, including Bruce Jay Friedman's foreword to his anthology Black Humor and Max Schultz's "Toward a Definition of Black Humor." Two-thirds of the essays in this anthology were published prior to 1980, and all but two of them are reprints.

  7. Black Humor on the Film Screen: From Folk to Popular Culture

    Black Humor, Critical Essays, edited by Alan R. Pratt, xvii-xxv. New York and London: Garland Publishing. Schulz, Max. 1985. Black Humor. Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century. Eds Frederick Ungar and Lina Maineiro, 4 vol., 271-272. New York: Ungar. Stevanović, Lada. 2009. Laughing at the Funeral: Gender and Anthorpology ...

  8. Black humor : critical essays

    Secret Integrations: Black Humor and the Critique of Whiteness. W. Solomon. History. 2003. The category of black humor has a racial resonance when applied to American fiction of the 1960s. A recurrent object of critical interest in this body of comic writing was the function of "blackness"…. Expand.

  9. Analysis and Application of Black Humor in American Literature

    The concept of black humor has been constantly improved. The so-called "black humor" is use seemingly absurd, ugly, cruel and dark "black" things to express positive social awareness. Black humor is also called black comedy. With the continuous development of American literature, black humor has gradually developed into a social expression method of education. Mark Twain's black humor is a ...

  10. Black Humor

    Paul Beatty essay holds that defining characteristic of African-American writer is sobriety, but things really get interesting when one finds black literary insobriety; notes humorous authors ...

  11. Dark Humor in Literature

    Dark humor or black humor in literature is a distinct literary device characterized by its use of dark, ironic, and often morbid humor to illuminate the absurdities and contradictions of human existence. It thrives on juxtaposing themes that are traditionally considered serious, such as death, suffering, and societal dysfunction, with humor ...

  12. Black Comedy in Literature and Theory

    Black comedy in literature is a genre that navigates the delicate balance between humor and dark, often morbid subject matter, employing satire, irony, and absurdity to explore the human condition in unconventional ways. Originating from a term coined by André Breton, this genre delves into social taboos, critiques norms, and challenges ...

  13. The Vonnegut Humor

    Black humor is humor discovered in agony, despair, or horror. It can exist as an individualized hell or as a generally pessimistic view of the universe. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut embellishes the scope of black humor by incorporating irony and by using vocabulary that creates a mock-serious tone, often leading to absurdity.

  14. Contemporary Black Humor Criticism: Development And History

    Aldridge, whose 1968 essay for Atlantic was the most detailed, justly praised Black Humor for revitalizing the novel at a time when many were predicting its death, but his prognosis called for yet ...

  15. Black Humor on the Film Screen: From Folk to Popular Culture

    Black Humor, Critical Essays, edited by Alan R. Pratt, xvii-xxv. New Y ork and London: Garland Publishing. Schulz, Max. 1985. Black Humor. Encyclopedia of W orld Literature in the T wentieth .

  16. Black Humor: A Literary Device

    Definition of Black Humor. Black humor, as a literary device, is a form of humor that finds comedic elements in subjects and situations that are typically serious, dark, or taboo, such as death, suffering, and tragedy. It uses irony, satire, and absurdity to highlight the incongruities and absurdities within such topics, often challenging ...

  17. Black humor : critical essays in SearchWorks catalog

    Also called "comedy of the absurd, " and "entropic comedy, " black humor is associated with the late 50s and beyond, but some critics argue that it's been around for centuries witness the earliest known example of "gallows humor" from 1739. This volume gathers essays (spanning some 30 years of criti. (source: Nielsen Book Data)

  18. Essay

    The term "black humor" was coined by writer Bruce Jay Friedman, who compiled an anthology of contemporary writers in 1965 entitled Black Humor. Vonnegut objected to that classification at first, since the writers were a diverse lot. Eventually he had quite a lot to say about it.

  19. Table of Contents: Black humor

    The Nature of Black Humor - Defining Black Humor. "The Black Humorists" / Time Essay. "Preface, Anthologie de L'humour noir" / Andre Breton. "Foreward, Black Humor" / Bruce Jay Friedman. "Some Observations: Bruce Jay Friedman Looks Back" / Bruce Jay Friedman. "Black Humor, Existentialism, and Absurdity: A Generic Confusion" / Bruce Janoff.

  20. Examples and Definition of Black Humor

    Definition of Black Humor. Black humor is a literary device used in novels and plays to discuss taboo subjects while adding an element of comedy.Cambridge dictionary defines it as a non-serious way of treating or dealing with serious subjects. It is often used to present any serious, gruesome or painful incidents lightly.

  21. Staff View: Black humor

    New York : Garland Pub., 1993. Description: xxv, 375 p. ; 23 cm. Language: English. Series: Garland studies in humor vol. 2 Garland reference library of the humanities vol. 1503. Subject: American wit and humor -- History and criticism Black humor American wit and humor.

  22. Contemporary Black Humor

    "Contemporary Black Humor - Daniel Green (essay date summer 1995)" Contemporary Literary Criticism Ed. Tom Burns and Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 196. ...

  23. Tony-winning playwright Christopher Durang dies at 75 : NPR

    NEW YORK — Playwright Christopher Durang, a master of satire and black comedy who won a Tony Award for "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist with "Miss ...

  24. Contemporary Black Humor Criticism: Overviews And General Studies

    "Contemporary Black Humor - Mathew Winston (essay date winter 1976)" Contemporary Literary Criticism Ed. Tom Burns and Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 196. ...

  25. 'Dreaming Whilst Black' Producer Launches Comedy Indie To Amplify

    EXCLUSIVE: Gina Lyons, a producer on Dreaming Whilst Black and Amazon Freevee's upcoming Dinner with the Parents, has launched a comedy indie to amplify working class, female voices. Gobby Girl ...

  26. Mr. President: If you force me to choose, you will lose

    There are millions of Americans — white, Black, Hispanic, Democrat, Republican, rural, suburban, urban — who will make the very same decision come November. Choosing to put our kids first is ...