Why does comedy give pleasure?

Tzachi Zamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


By way of attempting to explain comic pleasure, this paper proposes an outline for an inclusive theory of comedy - 'inclusive' in the sense of amalgamating various past contributions that tend to be thought of as mutually exclusive. More specifically, this essay will (a) propose a teleological definition of comedy, (b) integrate seemingly competing accounts of laughter into a relatively unified explanation, (c) clarify the connection between laughter and comedy, (d) defend a flexible ontology of comic response that enables the coexistence of genuinely competing paradigms of the mind (which, in turn, underlie seemingly competing theories of comic reception), and (e) will suggest how comic pleasure forms an indispensable addition to a theory of comedy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)175-190
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


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