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Movies that incorporate humorous elements in an attempt to evoke laughter from an audience comprise the genre of film comedy. Such movies often borrow comedic conventions and gags and add novel twists to adapt the same goal for mediated audiences. The genre of film comedy has persisted since one of Thomas Edison’s assistants, Fred Ott, sneezed for the camera in 1891 and provided the first comic action for the fledging art. This entry explores the genre of film comedy from the silent film era to the 21st century.

Silent Laughter

In 1895, the Lumière brothers of France devised a gag film with their L’arroseur arrosé (The Gardener; Louis Lumière, director), in which a mischievous boy bends the hose of a gardener who ends up getting squirted when ...

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