Exploring the Medieval Comedy Genre

Anytime the framework of comedy is switched out, it can put something in a new perspective. Putting modern concerns or even just ones that have been plaguing humans since the middle ages and beyond in front of a castle just makes these issues seem more classy somehow. It also comes with an amazing sandbox of kingdoms, fairy tales, singing virgins, and dragons to play with. So why are there so few Medieval Comedies out there? As far as I can tell, to do well in this genre takes vast amounts of writing skill to make the scenes funny yet relevant, demands perfect timing of the actors, as well as staying in the golden cheese/tongue-in-cheek level. Balancing the cheese levels alone has to be maddening, so I understand how certain parts of Your Highness, for example,  turned rancid. The main issue with Your Highness is that I am sure on paper it was all freaking hilarious. Once put on film, however, you have moments that are inspired followed by moments that suck any enjoyment out of you. I was so excited to see that film for the first time, and it still saddens me because it was close to being amazing. Damn you cheese level! Sometimes everyone involved in a project can fall so in love with the cheese that it screws the balance.
There is a possibility that I am overly concerned about this because soon there will be two more entries to this brand of comedy, both of which seem very promising. Into the Woods will be released in theaters on Christmas Day, and then the television miniseries Galavant on January 4th. As an added bonus, they are both musicals! Musical Medieval Comedy, rarest of breeds, and love of my life! Since Into the Woods is remade from the Stephen Sondheim creation of the same name, I have very little to worry about there. The filmed original Broadway production is already one of my favorites, and the movie looks incredibly faithful to it. The only nitpick I have is that I wish Bernadette Peters had come back as the witch, but I can overlook this. Probably. Galavant is more of the unknown quantity. It looks amazing, has Alan Menken writing songs for it, and Timothy Omundson as King Richard is so perfect in the promos I would watch the series just for him. The only pause I have is for the horrible reviews already circling the production. This is not enough to keep me from finding out for myself if I will like Galavant anyway, especially since reviews are not the most reliable source when it comes to predicting my tastes. Here’s hoping for more wondrous comedy with castles in the new year!

The World of Existing Medieval Comedy Movies and the One Miniseries So Far Ranked by My Particular Love of Them

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

2. Army of Darkness

3. The 10th Kingdom

4. Into the Woods (Filmed Broadway Version)

5. The Princess Bride

6. The Court Jester

7. Ella Enchanted

8. The Sword in the Stone

9. Shrek

10. Brave

11. How to Train Your Dragon

12. A Knight’s Tale

13. Erik the Viking

14. Robin Hood Men in Tights

15. Your Highness

16. Once Upon a Mattress

Exploring the Nerve Endings of My Funny Bone

As a modern lady, I face certain widely differing expectations regarding every aspect of my life. If I paid much attention to this anymore, I would always feel either too girly or not girly enough at all times. This is no way to live a full life, so I have pulled the plug and now simply endeavor to try to be honest with myself about what I actually enjoy, and what I want. Expectations be damned.

Humor is something so universal, yet men and women seem to have their own separate groups that they are meant to enjoy. Actually, men are supposed to watch comedy, and women have had a “women’s comedy” genre made for them. Why the separation? Why not have everything together, and just label the different brands of comedy? Family, Relationship, Sex, Parents, Men ( comedians of both genders talk about the sexes ), Women, Gross, Politics, Religion, The World, etc. There are Women comedians, and then there are Women’s Issues and Experiences comedians. These are different things, because a great deal of female comics talk mainly about the human experience, not just the solely woman’s perspective. In fact, a female comedian that only talks about dating men, waxing, and other various lady activities usually comes across as annoying to us. This actually makes me admire the very few that can take this brand of comedy and bring something fresh and honest to it, and basically do not end up coming off like a frivolous ditz. The rest of the lady comedians I admire because they take on the whole of life, and they grab it by the balls just as thoroughly and hilariously as a man. Here I lay out my top ten Stand-ups, Comedy Movies, and Comedy TV Shows. They encompass both genders, and they define my sense of what is funny. Not as a lady, but as a person who happens to be female.

Favorite Stand ups:

1. Patton Oswalt

patton_oswaltBrands of Comedy: Star Wars, Geek Life, Depression, Bit of Drugs, Sex, Growing Up, Marriage, Kids

2. Louie C.K.

Louis-ckBeing a Father, Marriage, Divorce, Kids, Sex, Food, Women, Idiots, Money

3. Dylan Moran

0910_dylan_h_208595tVery Irish, Matter of Fact, Family, Alcohol, Kids, Cake, Love, State of the World

4. Eddie Izzard

British, Executive Transvestite, Politics, History, Life, Religion, Star Wars

  5. Garfunkel and Oates

BN-EC794_oates_G_20140814161302Relationships, Sex, Work, Honest Observations of Life, Idiots, Funny Gorgeous Songs

6. Michael Ian Black

michael-ian-black-11-29-2011-5Well Phrased Structure, Frankenstein, Airplanes, Marriage, Kids, Lightweight Reactions to Alcohol, Friendly Sarcasm, Life, Being a Non-Traditional Man

7. Chelsea Handler

1350326674_chelsea-handler-290  Having a Vagina, Men, Alcohol, Traveling, Friends, Loyalty, Life, Dealing with Embarrassing Situations, Chunk, Owning her Experiences

8. John Mulaney

mulaney-picMatter of Fact, Being a Man-child, Law and Order, Impressions, Life, Friends, Growing Up, Relationships

9. Iliza Schlesinger

Iliza_small  Dealing with Girls as Friends, Dating, Sex, Going Out, Men, Snarky Observations of Life, Honest

 10. Aziz Ansari

azizansari2Geek Life, Reality of his Fame, Kanye West, Family, Women, Grand Showman

Favorite Comedy Movies:

1. The Heat

the-heat-1 A Lady Cop Meets a Lady FBI Agent and Becomes My Favorite Cop Buddy Movie Ever, Shit Happens That’s Why You Need a Partner That Has Your Back, Dealing With Bosses, Taking Down Criminals, Paperwork, Alcohol, Family

2. Hot Fuzz

hot-fuzzThe Middle of the British Cornetto Trilogy, Police Movie Satire, Friendship, Small Town Life, Puns and Wordplay, Deadpan

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty-Python-Holy-GrailMiddle Ages Humor, Superstitions, Politics, People from Other Lands, Magic, King Arthur Legend, Archeology, British

4. Megamind

Megamind-movie-image-12The Ultimate in Taking on the Superhero and Villain Tropes, Satire, Growing Up, Dating, Expectations, Friendship

5. Kung Fu Hustle

kung-fu-hustle-6Stephen Chow Does Buster Keaton and it is Amazing, Kung-Fu Humor That is Actually Funny

6. Super Troopers

2801885-supertroopersCanadian Humor, Broken Lizard at Their Best, The Group of Offbeat but Good Guys Overcome the Assholes

7. Young Frankenstein

1297635399Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, and Mel Brooks Play with the Frankenstein Tale, Satire, Family Issues, Workplace Issues, Dealing with the Local Government, Marriage

8. Horrible Bosses

horrible _bosses01Workplace Horrors, Realities of the Current Economic Environment, What Happens When Three Guys Try to Regain Control of Their Lives and Things Do Not Go According to Plan

9. Cold Comfort Farm

Flora and SethVery British, Based on Novel of the Same Name That Made Fun of the Many “Dark and Moody” Novels Popular in the 1930s, Satire, A Balm for People Tired of Downton Abbey

10. Ghost Town

GHOST TOWNBritish, Dry, Some Romantic Comedy Elements, Anti-Social Dentist Kinda Sorta Dies and Then is Forced to Live an Actual Life

Favorite Comedy TV Shows:

1. Bob’s Burgers

Bobs-burgers-seaplaneLoren Bouchard is The Man!, Animated Family Comedy, Perfect Cast, Hilarious and Well Done Songs, Owning a Small Business, Marriage

2. Archer

maxresdefaultWorkplace Comedy First, Then Spy Comedy, Family Issues, A Sprinkling of Mad Men Moral Satire, Dating, Crazy Rich People, Politics, Sex

3. South Park

s18e03_480Still Going Strong, South Park; Puts Life into Perspective by Laughing at the Ridiculousness of it

4. Red Dwarf

Red DwarfLost in Deep Space Comedy, British, Last Man in the Known Universe and his Driven to the Brink of Madness Ship Computer, Evolved Cat, and Smeghead Hologram “Friend”

5. The Penguins of Madagascar

tumblr_m79nqsoRxX1rx0k2do1_500Technically a Children’s Show but There is More to it for Adults to Enjoy as Well, Superspy Satire Done With Penguins, Genius!

6. The Ricky Gervais Show

rickygervais04-660Animation of Podcasts with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington; More British Humor, Clash of Minds but in a Funny Way

7. Parks and Recreation

rs_500x250-140109091101-tumblr_mxodppKVSk1syeot2o1_500Government Red Tape, Politics, Being a Female With Aspirations and Ideals, Friendship, Many Workplace Issues, Relationships, Marriage, Making Your Way Through Life

8. The Venture Brothers

GgV5zolSatire of Johnny Quest and Super Science, Family, Being a Complete Failure, Gorgeous Animation of Ridiculous and Fabulous Things, A 60s Style Cartoon With a Naughty Bite

9. Black Books

largeIrishman Who Hates People Opens a Bookshop, Dylan Moran is the Best, Alcohol, Yelling at Customers, Reading, Wanting to Stay in Your Comfortable Corner of Life and Not Be Bothered

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

B99.2shot.vert.A.JPGAndy Samberg Does Cop Comedy, The Captain ( Andre ) is Pure Deadpan Humor, Terry Crews is Hilarious in All That He Does, The Cast Gels and Works Off Each Other Crazy Well From the First Episode