Comedians frequently incorporate the humorous aspect of unjustified or, sometimes even, robust violence in their performances. While some sketches mirror the fast-changing trends of modern society, others humorously portray the fundamental values of humanity, saving their actuality for many years. This discussion will focus on the role of overt violence in two of the examined videos, “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber” and “Living Colour – Jim Carey-Karate Instructor,” exploring the essence of their topicality for the contemporary audience. From first sight, the overt depiction of violence in “Karate Instructor” appears humorous, with Carey’s awkward moves and inflated intonation contributing to the comic atmosphere. However, the gender bias present in the sketch does not allow the audience to relate to the action entirely.
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Now, when faced with adultery, the woman rarely considers martial arts as a valid response for the offense, choosing divorce over the physical attack. Furthermore, with new strict rules for weapon usage during the self-defense classes, the improvised knife attack, portrayed in the video, seems aged and distant. Unlike in “Karate Instructor,” the usage of violence in “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber” is justifiable due to the historical context behind the sketch. Though the events shown in the video date back to the Medieval Ages, comedians make logical implications to the modern times throughout the play, which increases the audience’s relatability to the plot. By role-playing violent episodes from the past, the actors encourage spectators to think about the alternative ways of dealing with felonies or curing patients. Humorous, at first, the sketch translates into the philosophical discussion of human choices and fundamental moral values. Despite being released almost half a century ago, the video still raises heated questions regarding the essence of violence in people’s life, ironically implying the need for eradicating it.
“Living Colour – Jim Carey-Karate Instructor.” YouTube, uploaded by Sam Leong, 2006, Web.
“Medieval Barber Theodoric of York – SNL.” YouTube, uploaded by Saturday Night Live. 2013, Web.