Film Genres | Comedy Films
In the language of the screen comedians four of the main grades of laugh are
the TITTER, the YOWL, the BELLY LAUGH, and BOFFO.
The TITTER is just a titter.
The YOWL is a runaway titter.
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure knows all about a BELLY LAUGH.
The BOFFO is the laugh that kills.
An ideally good gag, perfectly constructed and played, would bring the victim up this ladder of laughs by cruelly controlled
degrees to the top rung, and would then proceed to wobble, shake, wave and brandish the ladder until s/he groaned for mercy.
Then, after the shortest possible time out for recuperation, he would feel the first wicked tickling of the comedian's whip
once more and start up a new ladder.
The reader can get fair enough idea of the current state of screen comedy by asking him/herself
how long it has been since s/he has had that treatment.
The best of comedies these days hand out plenty of titters and once in a while it is possible to achieve a yowl without overstraining. Even those who have never seen anything better must occasionally have the feeling, as they watch the current run,
that they are having to make a little cause for laughter go an awfully long way.