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5.6 Humour: Comedy genres (All students)

The advertisements in the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign rely on humour for their effect. Humour itself is not a genre; it is a way of interpreting experience. However, texts containing humour are sometimes forms of comedy. 

The student worksheet 5.6.1 Comedy genres (Std, ES and EAL/D) has a list of some comedy genres. In groups:

  • choose one, research it and find examples
  • present your definition and findings to the class in a 3-minute PowerPoint presentation (embedding a short video will help illustrate your ideas) so that the rest of the class can complete the table on the worksheet.

Techniques for humour

While everybody laughs, we do not all laugh at the same things. What we perceive as funny depends on our age, our personal taste and our culture. Student worksheet 5.6.1 Comedy genres (Std, ES and EAL/D) lists some ways of creating humour. In your group:

  1. Research one of the techniques of creating humour below to find the examples you find most humorous.
  2. Post your examples on a ‘graffiti wall’ it in the class.
  3. When other groups view your examples they will need use them work out the meaning of the technique.
  4. At the end of the lesson, all groups share their definitions and choose the most accurate and useful to complete the worksheet

Applying humour

With the above techniques in mind, consider the type of humour being used in the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ advertisements. What kind of humour do you find in the slogan?

To prepare your information for the next section, complete the table in the student worksheet 5.6.1 Comedy genres (Std, ES and EAL/D), identifying the kinds of humour used and giving examples from the advertisements.

  1. How effective is the humour in each advertisement?
  2. Is the humour directed against one gender? How do you know? Is this effective?
  3. The rock advertisement has a coda, which is an interview with the band at the end of their performance.

Analysing humour:

Transcript of the coda in ‘Get you Hand off it’ rock version

Interviewer: So guys, tell us what does ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ really mean?

Derek: Well it’s actually a really great message...

Band Member 1: If you don’t mind, I’ll take it from here. It’s very simple really. It’s about a mystical awe known as the thunder-sutra. See according to Mayan Myth…

Derek: Look, ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ is a really important safety message. It’s about not texting or using your phone while you drive...

Band Member 2: There’s no such thing as a thunder-sutra.

Derek: With the busyness of our lives and all the technology at your hands these days it’s really important to remember to ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ and stay safe on our roads.

Band Member 1: Well what do you call this?

Band Member 2: It’s a rock from the parking lot.

Questions

  • What kind of humour do we see operating in this ending? 
  • What kind of person does each speaker represent? How do we know? (Consider what they say and how they say it.)  Why do we laugh?
  • One feature of comedy is the use of the straight man next to the comedian. How does the contrast between Derek and the band members work in terms of humour?
  • Would the message be as powerful without this add-on?
  • Would the same ending fit in with the other ads? Explain your answer.

Bringing it all together

The series of advertisements in the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign play with particular genres by imposing an unusual treatment of an everyday message (incongruity) and by exaggerating the conventions (hyperbole) of the ususal road safety message.

Imitate this technique to create your own addition to the ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign.

  1. Choose one of your favourite genres (possibly crime, gothic, science fiction, or romance genres), noting the key conventions of the protagonist.
  2. Using an online resource such as StoryboardThat using conventions of that genre to sell the ‘Get your hand off it’ campaign. You should make use of incongruity and hyperbole to parody the genre to reinforce the message.
  3. Present this to the class as a pitch for using this new version of the campaign.
  4. As a class vote on who wins the advertising contract.

Last update: 16th January 2019