Anthony Caputi and Vulgar Comedy

I took the term Vulgar Comedy from Anthony Caputi and his book “Buffo – The Genius of Vulgar Comedy”. I think it is a very useful and describing term since it means both popular and rude. Both translations are right, but together they really describe the genre.

Caputy’s book is much about the carnival and he talks about how Vulgar Comedy was developed through five stages: Ritual Revels, Dramatic Rituals, Dramatic Exercises, Emergent Plays into Fully Developed Comic Forms.
His definition of Vulgar Comedy is based on six basic elements that it has to involve at least a few of:

  • The comic, dramatic combat, between youth and aging, husband and wife, Carnival and lent…
  • The destruction or dethronement of the old man. It is the patriarch that must be defeated. He who represent old age and power, who must – in the spirit of Carnival – leave room for youth.
  • The wooing and sexual union between youth, with its origin in the May feast and is the usual ”happy end”.
  • Stupidity, animal behavior and/or amorality, driven by lust or hunger.
  • Transformations like love potions, magic, disguises among others.
  • Frenzy, the power and tempo that drives the audience to roar with laughter and leave all forms of realism.

3 Responses to Anthony Caputi and Vulgar Comedy

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  3. Pingback: Theories of Laughter and Comedy – Part 2 | Commedia dell'Arte & Vulgar Comedy

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