General Introduction
– An apology for Nathan Gilmour’s absence
– A plug for our website
– A eulogy for J.D. Salinger

What Is Comedy?
– Comedy in a cosmic sense
– Comedy as humor
– Aristotle on comedy
– What makes us laugh?
– In which we talk about “Weird Al” Yankovic for 45 minutes

– Does he hold up?
– How do you translate comedy?
– Aristophanes’ “postmodern” technique
– Socrates in The Clouds
– Michial consistently mispronounces Lysistrata
– Hymnody meets deflated content
– From Aristophanes to Vincent Price to Frasier

Shakespeare’s Comedies
– A wedding instead of a funeral
– Battles of wit and malapropisms
– Teaching Shakespearean comedy
– Shakespeare’s godlike cultural status
– Misreading Twelfth Night

Comedy and Christianity
– Are Jesus’ parables jokes?
– Humorous juxtaposition of absurdities
– Did Jesus ever laugh?
– Is all humor mocking humor?

A Christian Theory of Comedy
– What do we even mean?
– We throw Chesterton in Nathan’s face
– Why the postmodern novel is witty, not humorous
– Why humor requires meaning
– Michial recommends a few books
– Where does your plot line end?
– The crucifixion as practical joke

– We give our picks
– Why we live in a Monty Python movie
– In which we forget we’re doing a podcast
– Mel Brooks
– The repetition principle in comedy
– The Coen Brothers
– Donald Duck as impotent everyman
– Why Family Guy isn’t funny and why King of the Hill is
– Praise for Mystery Science Theater and Bethel University


Aristophanes. Lysistrata and Other Plays. Trans. Alan H. Sommerstein. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. Malcolm Heath. New York: Penguin, 1997.

Buechner, Frederick. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. New York: HarperOne, 1977.

Dante. The Divine Comedy. Trans. Dorothy L. Sayers. New York: Penguin, 1950. 3 volumes.

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ed. Harold F. Brooks. London: Arden, 1979.

—. Much Ado About Nothing. Ed. Claire MacEachern. London: Arden, 2005.

—. Twelfth Night. Ed. Keir Elam. London: Arden, 2009.

Wood, Ralph C. The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 1988.

3 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 10.1: Comedy”
  1. You should put what makes shakespeare a humanist and what religion he was and if anyone tried to challenge him with being a humanist

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