Sexuality in Comedy. Controversy and Clichés

Ileana Nicoleta SĂLCUDEAN, Claudia NEGREA


The interaction between humor and gender provides a wide variety of possible directions of research.

In the context of antihermeneutics psychoanalisis, materiality and meaning in Foucault terms are becoming porous and plastic realities. Sexuality as an “enigmatic signifier” (Jean Laplanche) renders playful, romantic, or dirty, scatological traits to comedy. From the discursive sexuality (Foucault) to the sexuality and the lack of sense (Lacan), different codes of erotism and comic effects are juxtapossed to different comedy subgenres. The standard “boy meets girl narrative” (Mc Donald, 2007) invites the public into a love triangle that involves the lovers and the public itself as a participant to the sensuality and comedy all together. The viewer could experience the humor of the unconscious materialized in jokes (Freud) as well as the visual sensual experience of sex scenes and their emergence in the plot. 

The objective of the paper is to observe what are the effects of this hetero-temporality for the assignments and explorations in/ of contemporary comedy. 

This paper will analyze different codes of erotism and comic effects designated as clichés or as controversial aspects, analyzing two American comedies Friends with Benefits (2011) and Don Jon (2013) (and their consequential developments in the movie genre). Another objective of the analysis is to analyze and depict male and female character’s constructions and behavior. 

Keywords: sexuality, comedy, antihermeneutics, clichés, controversy, sex taboos