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p. 776. Taking libertieslocked

  • Matthew Bevis

Abstract

‘Taking liberties’ looks at the relationship between comedy and aggression. Does laughter embody or diffuse aggression? One theory states that the laugh may be an aborted cry of concern, or a way of announcing a false alarm. Another theory has it that chimp laughter is triggered by physical contact, or the threat of it, and argues that the laughter of a human evolved from the breathlessness of physical play. Ridicule and derision are both rooted in laughter. Comedy can be cruel. To ‘humour’ someone is a way of enjoying their charms whilst also seizing on their limitations.

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