All terms

What is high comedy?

Comedy that employs sophisticated wit and verbal humor to entertain and amuse.

Raising Laughter to New Heights: High Comedy Explained

High comedy is the darling of the mainstream, a love child of wit, intellect, and elegance, and as such, it aims to elevate laughter to a higher platform of sophistication and delight.

By emphasizing the play of ideas and language, rather than slapstick, high comedy appeals to more cerebral audiences with its mix of verbal wit, verbal irony, epigrams, and puns, that balance on the very edge of absurdity without falling over.

High comedy also relies heavily on expert knowledge, elegant wordplay, and subtle references, often requiring an educated audience to appreciate the depth of its humor and witty allusions. So, if you find yourself chuckling at a clever pun, then you have probably indulged in a slice of high comedy.

High Comedy in Classic Literature: Two Examples

High comedy is a mode of humor often employed in the works of literary greats, frequently used to poke fun at the aristocracy's follies, the absurdities of society, and the human foibles that we all share.

It's a style of humor that can be found in numerous classic works of literature, revealing the author's wit, intelligence, and skill with language.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde's comedic masterpiece, is a dazzling display of high comedy, which takes aim at Victorian society's obsession with trivialities and the social institutions that reinforce it, through the story of two bachelors' mostly farcical attempts to woo their respective loves.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is another classic that shows the use of high comedy, where wit and cleverness are frequently deployed to succinctly caricature various strata of society, such as the pompous and foolish Mr. Collins, the garrulous Mrs. Bennet, and the smooth-talking Mr. Wickham.