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FLM 119 — Comedies That Are Actually Funny

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 6—Jun 8
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 8
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Mick LaSalle
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Apr 6—Jun 8
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 8
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Mick LaSalle
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
If you want to know what an era really believes, look at what it thinks is funny—and that goes for our era too. Laughter is a response to hearing the truth said in different and unexpected ways. Comedy, much more than drama, is the great truth-telling genre. Thus, the history of comedy is useful in revealing what people once believed to be true. It’s also satisfying as a communication across generations, showing us aspects of human life and emotion that never change. Too often the comedies that are the most highly praised are barely comedies at all, in the sense that they hardly make anyone laugh. But in this course, we won’t be looking at those movies. Instead, we will have a 10-week laugh-filled immersion in movies that are genuinely funny. Together, the works of Mae West (She Done Him Wrong), Laurel and Hardy (The Music Box), Abbott and Costello (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein), as well as Will Ferrell (Elf), Jules Feiffer (Little Murders), Charles Grodin, Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Wiig, Tiffany Haddish, and others will be examined. We’ll also discuss comedies that were once considered hilarious and yet somehow are funny no longer. Students will come away with a better understanding of the past and a deeper awareness of the ideas and trends that guide modern life.

For students who have previously taken the course, the structure is the same but the content is new. Past students are encouraged to join.

Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

Mick LaSalle is the author of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man, The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses, and Dream State: California in the Movies. He writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and other Hearst newspapers.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.