The Secret of Seinfeld’s Humor Essay

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Review: The secret of Seinfeld’s Humor:
The significance of the Insignificant

The Secret of Seinfeld’s Humor: The significance of the Insignificant, an article written by Jorge Gracia briefly outlines what the author believes to be the origin of the humour with which the popular television show Seinfeld achieved such broad based success. A show that embraced the ordinary of everyday life, while atypically avoiding the mainstay of violence and sex of most of today’s popular visual media and culture. Gracia (19??) begins his article by posing the question “how, can a show that deals with ordinary, everyday occurrences have such wide appeal”? This is a very general question that could be analysed in any number of ways. The author however,
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I also suspect that some of this information may have been contradictory to the authors main arguments.
To his credit however, Gracia does, however offer to distinguish between the sad and the funny. We laugh, claims the author because we see in it “the significance of the insignificant, while we cry because through it we grasp the insignificance of the significant”. Not a new concept states Gracia, given that we are so often faced with both emotions on a regular basis. This simple statement is the core of Gracia’s argument. By stating this, he is necessarily saying that laughter derives from a new perspective on ourselves. One that illuminates, idiosyncrasies, customs and peculiarities which are given minimal attention during day to day activities, but which have great significance. Comedy draws on these factors to identify the ordinary as extraordinary. Thus Seinfeld lives up to its moniker ‘a show about nothing’. The show necessarily underscores that the commonplace is indeed pertinent, this is reinforced by the audience being aware of the significance of what is happening while the shows characters remain in the dark.
Conversley the author argues that sadness in respect to laughter is the opposite. That is, it originates from the significant, and it is a degree of insignificance encapsulated within these ‘tragedies’ that elecits sadness.

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