Philosophy of Comedy

Streaming Media


Ashley Pryor, Associate Professor of Humanities at the University of Toledo, reflects on her recently completed, two week course in which students explored four major philosophical theories of comedy: play, relief, superiority and incongruity. Not only did the class consider what Aristotle and Kierkegaard had to say about incongruity, or what Kant and Shaftesbury considered comedic relief to be, they took the opportunity to examine the work of their favorite comedians and create their own comedic work in the forms of joke writing, improv, satire and sketch to produce a comedy showcase. Finally, learned ways to transfer the skills of comedic writing (creating a strong point of view, editing and revising work for clarity and force of expression, doing quick but effective and ethically responsible research for a short satiric publication) to significantly improve the effectiveness of their writing for other contexts.

This presentation was given on July 11, 2022, for the Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy held in Clinton, New York.

Type of Work


Event Name

Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy

Event Sponsor

Philosophy Department, Hamilton College

Event Location

Clinton, NY, USA

Presentation Date


Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Scholarship Series

Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy

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