MAIN | SYLLABUS/MENU | LAUGHTRACK COMEDY RESOURCES | DEDICATION 6 September 2005 | Tuesday
READ, CONSUME, DEVOUR the first 20 chapters from Voltaire's CANDIDE (that's about up to the middle of page 60 in the Oxford Edition sold at the campus bookstore). some of you signaled to me that you have already read this book in the past--it WILL NOT DO TO COME TO CLASS MERELY REVIEWING YOUR NOTES and FOND MEMORIES. REREAD the book through the lens of comedy as well as through the "filters" of the terms: naked, loud and broken! Whatever you do, DO NOT consult those stupid CLIFF's NOTES versions of the novel--CLIFF'S NOTES are crutches for intellectual half-wits willing to sell their souls down the river and think themselves clever in the process. hope you enjoyed class today!
8 September 2005 | Thursday
Complete your reading of Voltaire's CANDIDE; in addition, now that we have closely examined Voltaire's tongue-in-cheek command of irony, satire, and comedy, reread sections from the first part of the reading that either went over your head, confused you, or that you skimmed with utter disdain.
13 September, 2005 | Tuesday
Read the first half of HOGARTH's Engravings--end with PLATE 50, THE BATTLE OF THE PICTURES. The first time you do the "reading"/screening/seeing, read both the images and the captions; the second time through--yes, I want you to consume it twice--examine the images ONLY; as you read, consider thematic, symbolic and comedic OVERLAPS between the work of Hogarth and the work of Voltaire. Though one artists uses primarily WORDS and the other primarily IMAGES what are some of the ways that their fused comedic, satiric visions can be said to be in harmony?
15 September, 2005 | Thursday
Continue your obsessive perusal of HOGARTH's engravings up to panel 74. For those of you with a familiarity with MAD MAGAZINE and COMIC BOOKS, consider how HOGARTH has influenced these comedy-drenched media; consider as well, how HOGARTH, like VOLTAIRE, has a political outlook and ethical world-view that shapes the contours of his semiotic critical praxis.
20 September, 2005 | Tuesday
JUMPcut Week! From the horrors and delights of the European 18nth century we move to the late 20th and to the UNITED STATES and the singular vision embodied in the stand-up comedy of Bill Hicks (listento this as a primer--or click the quicktime logo opposite--and get a tame taste of this "vision"). I must warn you: this will be difficult and disturbing stuff for SOME of you. Understand, however, that we will be studying HICKS as a contemporary comedian with DIRECT parallels to VOLTAIRE (the role of government; religion; hypocrites) and HOGARTH (the grotesque; classism). Click on Bill Hicks for more about the late comedian. Look ahead to 27 September 2005 to get ahead on your reading this week. More on HICKS TO THINK ABOUT (from a 9/20/05 email to the class): citizens of NAKEDloud&BROKENlandia,bill hicks is amazing and amazingly disturbing--very few public performers allow themselves to transform into their ID in front of a live audience. you might want to consider the how sigmund freud's view of the id allows us to better guage the depths of Hicks's comedy. and yet his concerns, his comedic concerns are very much those shared with voltaire and hogarth--one thing is for sure, have you noticed how all have incorporated strategic representations of animals in their "acts"/texts? The "animal" (dogs, apes, goats) begins to emerge as a key element of COMEDY in general. if you are interested in knowing more about GOATS and MYTHOLOGY--a way of understanding the depth of Hicks's schtick--go here WARNING (classical and lurid images throughout!)
22 September, 2005 | Thursday
Guest Lecture!!!!! Professor Michael Harper from Mount San Antonio college holds forth today with "Iconic/Ironic: Bill Hicks and the Tectonics of Satire"; there will be a presentation, discussion and, time permitting, continued screening of Hick's material from Bill Hicks Live: Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-up Comedian.
27 September, 2005 | Tuesday
Woody Allen is IN the house--at least his writing is; read the first 121 pages of WITHOUT FEATHERS; don't freak out about the amount of reading! All you did last week was watch movies! Allen is noted by Hicks as one of his larger influences; as you are reading Allen allow the "ghost" of Hicks's routines influence your interpretation of Allen's comedy.
29 September, 2005 | Thursday
Finish WITHOUT FEATHERS. Walk into class ready to write about Françoise-Arouet, Hogarth, Hicks and Allen--that's right! PANIC ENDUCING CHALLENGE TIME. YIKES! ALSO, bring $3 CULTURE CLASH labTEXT© fee to class.
4, October | 2005 CULTURE CLASH
Sci-fi Chicano Comedy--you have to SEE it to believe it!!! For your reading, begin reading Woody Allen on Woody Allen: chapters 1, 6, 7, 10, 15, and 20; bring $3 CULTURE CLASH labTEXT© fee to class--last chance.
6, October | 2005 CULTURE CLASH in-class presentation!
11, October | 2005 Tuesday
Begin screening CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. Limited discussion. Carefully read Woody Allen on Woody Allen: chapters 1, 6, 7, 10, 15, and 20.
13, October | 2005 Thursday
Complete screening CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. Limited discussion. Carefully read Woody Allen on Woody Allen: chapters 1, 6, 7, 10, 15, and 20.
18, October | 2005 Tuesday
It is time for us to read again and READ we will! Read the first 21 chapters! The first 21 insane entries in Nathanael West's A COOL MILLION--up to 139 in the Farrar, Straus & Giroux edition I ordered for you! Before you begin reading, you may want to get to know a little bit about Horatio Alger, one of the targets of West's rabid pen. ADDITION: in class, we will screen Harold Mantell's WOODY ALLEN: AN AMERICAN COMEDY (1977).
20, October | 2005 Thursday
Finish reading A COOL MILLION; lit majors and other smartypants types might want to sneak in a close read of this essay! If you do read it, read it AFTER your finish the novel; and even as you devour his cool old school scholarship, look for ways to disagree with Herr Professor Galloway! Dialup folks beware--this is a 2mb file!
25, October | 2005 Tuesday
Are you ready? I think you are. Brace for incoming and read the first 79 pages of Friedrich Nietzsche's ECCE HOMO. What reads like the ranting monologue of a narcissistic madman, ends up being one of the funniest stand-up acts in the history of PHILOSOPHY, and philosophy is NO FRIEND to comedy; don't be fooled by Nietzsche's bombastic conceitedness--the more trickery afoot here than is apparent at first glance!
27, October | 2005 Thursday
Finish ECCE HOMO! In class, we will use Henri Bergson's theory of LAUGHTER as a means into the body politic, and the body philosophical or Friedrich Nietzsche.
1, November 2005 | TUESDAY
Read to the end of page 103 in John Kennedy Toole's A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. in class we will talk about Toole's comic vision--similarities and differences between him and Nietzsche and the other jokers we've read this term. In class you will receive and we will go over your research imagination adventure essay® prompts
3, November 2005 | THURSDAY
Read to page 128 in Toole's novel.
8, November 2005 | TUESDAY
Read to page 234 in CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. Understand that for many of you, Toole's COMEDY will be a trial. This has nothing to do with Toole, his technique, the number of classical philosophical and literary allusions he makes or anthing like that. The "trial" will come from this being one of the longest, if not THE longest book you have read. Be sure to NOT try to do ALL the reading in one sitting; in particular, and, especially if you are having trouble finishing, read the small-print IGNATIUS sections by themselves; that is, read them, WITH DICTIONARY, slowly and carefully. Aggravating and tiresome as this behemoth lummox can be, he is also brilliant. You may want to think about the connnection between genius and the rest of the world without--how does one move forward in the midst of a confederacy of dunces? After all, a confederacy is: "1 : a league or compact for mutual support or common action : ALLIANCE 2 : a combination of persons for unlawful purposes : CONSPIRACY 3 : the body formed by persons, states, or nations united by a league." Is it possible that COMEDY always has as its target the confederacy of dunces that rule the planet--that Swift, Voltaire, Hogarth, Salinas, Toole, Clowes, Allen, Rock, David et al are then, revolutionary figures advancing the cause of intelligence against stupidity? Class today will feature FILMED, LIVE performances by strange, gifted characters channeling IGNATIUS REILLY for the class.
10, November 2005 | THURSDAY
Read to page 302 in Toole's classic. Do pay close attention to the way that TOOLE structures this behemoth novel--the way the minor and major stories intertwine; this is a key element of LARRY DAVID's Comedy in CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM coming up after the break on December 1, 2005.
15, November 2005 | TUESDAY
Read to page 378 in the saga of Ignatius Reilly
ALSO: special AFTER HOURS NAKED LOUD AND BROKEN CLASS!!! We will attend the 7:30 screening of SARAH SILVERMAN's JESUS IS MAGIC at the Landmark's KEN THEATER. Read the profile of SILVERMAN in the NEW YORKER, here, BEFORE or AFTER screening the movie.
17 November 2005 | THURSDAY
Finish reading A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES--one thing to notice here as you reach the end of this novel and we, as a class, approach the end of the semester, is the literary nature of this text. In the middle of the 20th century, and in a genre, COMEDY, not always associated with greatness in Literature, we find a comic masterpiece, an exhilirating feat of imagination and vision. All this comes to us in the strangest of forms: IGNATIUS REILLY--a bully, a pedant, a pig, etc. But this massive fool is also beautiful in his own way, and though I may have cast him in the light of the grotesque in class, try to look past that as you end your time with him and consider instead, what "Darryl, your working Boy" has taught you about comdedy on your odyssey with him.
21 November 2005 | MONDAY
Your research imagination adventures (aka YOUR PAPERS) are due under the door of my office by 12 noon, AH 4117; no late papers accepted.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU PROOFREAD your work--we will return unproofread work to students without grades--for example, your essay has two grammatical errors and misspells an author's name IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, guess what happens next?!
22 November 2005 | TUESDAY
No class today owing to the extra-class SARAH SILVERMAN screening at the KEN THEATRE last TUESDAY nite; use the extra time to catch up on your reading, sleep, and social life.
24 November, 2005
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY NO CLASS.
29 November 2005 | TUESDAY
Enter our seminar room having carefully read TWICE, Dan Clowes's EIGHTBALL #22. Return as well to Hogarth, plates 74 thru 100; try to find specific panels where Clowes's and Hogarth's comic vision coincides; find, as well, sites where the two graphic stars are at odds.
1 December 2005 | THURSDAY
DAVE CHAPPELLE show screening and lecture.
6 December 2005 | TUESDAY
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM SCREENING AND LECTURE, Dr. LEON LANZBOM, DC MA.
8 December 2005 | THURSDAY
Chris Rock screening and discussion.
13 December 2005 | TUESDAY
Final class. FINAL EXAMINATION FESTIVAL (aka THE FINAL). This in-class challenge is comprehensive and consists of 20 fill-in-the-blank challenges worth forty points (2pts each for a total of 40), three short paragraph imagination/memory ticklers worth 30 points 10pts each for a total of 30), and a comparative essay worth 30 points (30/30)--there is also a 3 point bonus on the final (be sure to do it, many students blow it off!), so the total possible score on the final is 103/100 or A++. Do recall that your "final" is worth 33% of your grade for the semester, so get plenty of REST Monday night!