It appears that the funniest jokes usually concern the taboo topics which we are used to respect rather than to love at. However, the line between funny and offensive is very obscure, that’s why I consider black humor to be one of the most difficult forms of humorous art. To laugh at religion, war, kidnapping, death is risky matter, but if the right balance is observed the comedy turns into a true masterpiece. Another problem with black comedies is that everybody has different concept of black humor and it is hard to please the whole audience. However, some dark comedies seem to complete this mission successfully.
One of my favorite movies full of dark humor is “Withnail and I” which was released in 1987 but still remains acute. We normally find nothing funny in being unemployed and alcohol addicted but this movie provides another view on these problems. The story tells about the miserable fate and ridiculous adventures of two unemployed actors, Withnail and Marwood. The humorous line is based on the contrast between aristocratic manners of Withnail and his poor state. Drinking, drug taking and social instability are presented in this comedy as nearly the funniest things in the world which is doubtfully, but still funny.
Some comedies need from you to practice a cynical approach to some items which are usually considered to be sacred. For instance, “Bad Santa” ruins the caramel-sweet ideal of Santa Claus and Christmas celebration and presents the image of drinking, cursing and criminal Santa who robs the stores together with his elf. Billy Bob Thornton who plays Santa has made this comedy even funnier as this charismatic actor perfectly suited the anti-hero image. The appearance of some fat kid who feels strangely attached to this awful Santa adds a dramatic hint to the story, though this drama is ridiculous as well. So, if you think that all this Christmas stuff presents just much ado about nothing, “Bad Santa” is your choice.
War is usually shown as a drama of ruined fates, mass killing of innocent people and personal inner sufferings of soldiers who have to obey cruel commands. It seems that it is impossible to find anything funny in this topic, but a dark comedy “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” contradicts this statement. The main line of this movie is the Cold War between the USA and Soviet Union which was brought to absurdity by a famous film director Stanley Kubrick. The plot is cunningly twisted and the jokes about war and military forces will make you laugh during the whole film. Probably, the funniest quote of this comedy, which has already become modern classics, is “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” Laughing at political issues and nuclear war is a dangerous matter, as these topics are very serious indeed, but it is the contrast between their seriousness and their absurd representation in the movie which makes this comedy number one in the rating of best dark films.