Humor Project

Humor Project

My video

As we finish out Senior year at Freestyle Academy, we were assigned the comedy project in English in which we began by analyzing several comedic techniques used professionally and in daily life. This began with in-class improv sessions, and then we read the play Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco (an absurdist comedy) and following that we read the novel Slaughterhouse-Five written by Kurt Vonnegut. This allowed us to especially analyze the use of irony and satire which were both heavily utilized in these classic works. After this we began to work on drafting our own comedy projects which we were to present at to our classmates and teachers at their deadline. This was the most stressful project for me so far at Freestyle because it felt very high pressure and it had a lot of potential to be embarrassing, and this pressure made me very self critical and doubtful of my ideas. I worked in a team with my friend Eli, and we wrote a script in which we were two dudes trying to get ladies by emulating different stereotypical guys (i.e. skaters, jocks, intellectuals, etc.). We were somewhat satisfied with our script but when it came to filming it we were not laughing, and it felt uncomfortable and staged and it was NOT funny. So instead we decided to relax and just have fun, and it turned into a video following our characters “Jick” and “Branch”, who are two skater boys trying (unsuccessfully) to get ladies at the skate park. We ended up enjoying the process even though we were down to the wire with our deadline, and we got some laughs during our presentation.

Humor Project by Chloe Christiansen and Elijah Confortola

I was in charge of editing the video, and I wanted to do short cuts between clips to mimic popular comedic producers like those of SNL and Brandon Rogers, and in order to minimize awkward pauses or silences. I’ve noticed this kind of fast cutting is popular in my generation, probably because we have increasingly lower attention spans. This style became especially popular when Vine was dominant among social media applications, as Vines would allow you only six seconds to make a video and many of the popular vines would tell entire stories within those short six seconds.

Image of After Effects Dashboard
After Effects Dashboard

Above is an image of my After Effects dashboard (the only Adobe Application I used to edit the video). I made the video all in one composition as I wasn’t applying any special effects to it, and I added audio which I had downloaded. I appreciated being familiar with how to use After Effects from prior experience at Freestyle, and the editing process was fairly painless. If I were to have had more time for the project and had wanted to produce it at higher quality, I would have used a stabilizer and used microphones instead of the basic camera audio which picked up a lot fo background noise and wind.

Humor Proposal

Analysis of comedian:

“Brandon Rogers is a popular comedic Youtuber who has a series of characters, some of which he plays and some of which are played by guests. In some of his videos he includes multiple characters which he plays, and each of them is a caricature of some type of person (a gangster, an old man, a gay man, a mom, etc.). Recently he has started a Youtube series that incorporates all of his characters into a story in which America has been turned into a British colony through the use of time travel, and it plays with historical knowledge, political satire, and absurdity Rogers’ narrative comedies are especially effective due to his use of accents and intonations, which make his character more compelling. In the first episode of his new series, “Blame The Hero” ( the name is a play on words as the leading character’s name is “Blame”), the premise involves present-day America in the alternate scenario that it is run by Britain. There is mandatory tea time, and he jokes about the government dissolving the entire military budget. This plays with the classic continental rivalry which is luckily not racial in this case as both countries are predominantly white. “

Description of project:

Eli and I are two bros spending time together during their last summer before college, and they have a wager on who can bag more dames. Each one has undesirable quirks and our one-upmanship gets us into sticky scenarios. We chose this scenario because Eli and I have a natural brotherly back-and-forth, and we think it would be funny to have a short and tall friend compete for ladies in an awkward and dysfunctional manner. The classic trope of teenage sexual conquest leaves a lot of options for humorous scenarios.

Honors Comparison Essay

In Rhinoceros, an absurdist play written by Eugene Ionesco in 1960, a provincial French suburb is overtaken by ‘Rhinoceritis’, a condition in which citizens who are weak of will conform to the growing phenomenon of turning into Rhinos, and subsequently wreaking havoc on civilized human society and infrastructure. The play follows Berenger, a middle-aged man who is somewhat low on the social ladder, but who ends up being the last ‘man’ standing after all others conform to Rhinoceritis, including Berenger’s good friend Jean, a man who (prior to turning into a Rhinoceros) had always encouraged Berenger to move up in the world as a worker and as a member of civilized society. Ionesco uses this absurd phenomenon as a satirical metaphor for the French capitulation to the Germans during World War II, and in a broader sense the dangers of conforming to large groups and losing individual thought. Slaughterhouse-Five, a contemporary ‘anti-war’ novel written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1969, narrates the life of Billy Pilgrim, a war veteran who becomes ‘unstuck in time’ and experiences all sorts of peculiarities that serve to explain the meaning(lessness) of life following his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden in World War II. Vonnegut himself is a war veteran, and the first and final chapters of Slaughterhouse-Five are written in his own voice. Like Ionesco, Vonnegut also uses absurd humor to explain complexities of the human psyche. At one point in his life, Billy Pilgrim is abducted by aliens called Tralfamadorians and is kept naked in a human zoo with a porn star who was also abducted. During his time in the zoo, Billy Pilgrim learns how the world will end, and is taught that everything exists permanently in the time which it occurs and it will always be that way at that time. Billy Pilgrim writes, “The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist” (Vonnegut 26-27). This philosophy is both freeing and agonizing for Billy, and he tries to teach other Earthlings about this newfound truth but is ignored due to the absurd circumstances with which he acquired it. Ionesco’s Berenger and Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim are both anti-heroic protagonists who oppose herd mentality and, despite their dissatisfaction with life, are compelled to stand up for what they believe is right. Rhinoceros and Slaughterhouse-Five provide satirical analyses of the ways in which dominant narratives claiming authority (Darwinism in Rhinoceros, Religion in Slaughterhouse-Five) are opposed by anti-heroic characters who stray from conformity in pursuit of their truth.

Religion and Science have been the major dominant narratives for hundreds of years, and while each of them contain truth, the information they carry has been manipulated and falsified throughout history to serve the agendas of many individuals and groups. They can serve to suppress individual thought in protection of ‘the greater good’–natural selection trivializes the deaths of the weak, religion condemns non-conformists as deserving of eternal suffering. Abusers of these theories are often more wrong-doing than their disciples, and this hypocrisy can have a gas-lighting effect on large groups of people. This contradiction of good and evil is especially apparent in war, and in leaders during war times. Leaders of the military must convince the soldiers that they are doing the right and heroic thing, and that the opposing side is evil and dangerous, even though both sides are doing the same thing in pursuit of the same goals. A powerful tool of manipulation is sheer quantity of participants, and when a dominant narrative is subscribed to by people in positions of power it tends to overcome entire societies. This conformity of faith is challenged in both Rhinoceros and Slaughterhouse-Five. In Rhinoceros, Berenger is established as an outcast…………. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim has a complex relationship with religion. This is common in people who have PTSD from witnessing acts of horror, as Billy did when he experienced the fire-bombing of Dresden. Those who were religious before then question how the God they had believed in would allow something so terrible to happen to innocent people. For Billy, he knows there is no God because he has been to Tralfamadore where he learned about time and how the world will end. And yet, “Billy had a framed prayer on his office wall which expressed his method for keeping going, even though he was unenthusiastic about living…. It went like this: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference. Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future” (Vonnegut 60). This prayer is the somewhat cliched near-slogan of Alcoholics Anonymous, and alcoholism is a trait present in both Billy Pilgrim and Berenger, both of whom are escapists. Vonnegut uses the comedic technique of irony in this passage, making the reader wonder what one can change, if not the past, the present, and the future. Time becomes the true God which Billy is left powerless to, though he has the freedom of being unstuck in time, making him a pseudo-Jesus. While the fact that Billy is powerless to change the past, present, and future seems laughably nihilistic at the surface level, the concrete nature of time gives Billy hope, because he can travel to the nice moments in life and compartmentalize the tragic ones, as the Tralfamadorians do.

Within capitalist society, Berenger and Billy pilgrim face opposite challenges with the same outcome. While Billy becomes rich and works as a respected optometrist after the war, he knows how everything will end and he is powerless to change his life which he is unenthusiastic about. Berenger, on the other hand, has trouble fitting into the monotonous ladder-climbing and structured schedule of a stable career at the beginning of Rhinoceros. As Rhinoceritis takes hold of more and more people, Berenger begins to cut down on drinking, value hard work, and pursue a romantic relationship, but as he does this the physical and figurative foundations of society crumble around him, making his efforts inconsequential. Capitalism serves as another dominant narrative, and is one which most people are forced to subscribe to due to the outcomes of not conforming. “

Live Performance

Live performance of our comedy video