Darkness Calls pp 183-210 | Cite as

A Lighter Shade of Noir: Differing Uses of Comedy

  • Sue Short


Has the angst of classic noir given way to absurdity? Neo-noir’s comic inflections are subjected to closer analysis, evaluating differing uses of humour and the contrasting critical assessments formed. The misfortune that regularly greets noir protagonists is often mined for laughs in contemporary scenarios, a development that might be criticised for de-railing compassion, while parody has been deemed disrespectful of the genre—although satirical self-reflexive tendencies were apparent even in the classic era. Examples are drawn from films and series which use humour in different ways, contending that while there is good reason to be cautious about ‘cruel’ humour, comedy can also be productively used to ridicule and thus revitalise tired tropes, encouraging greater innovation and potentially serving as an outlet for unruly ideas.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Short
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck University of LondonLondonUK

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