[[quoteright:321:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sadclown.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:321:Sorry, Zippo, [[AwardSnub no Oscar for you]].]]

-> ''"Everyone knows comedy is the lowest form of entertainment, [[AnimationAgeGhetto next to animation.]]"''
--> -- '''[[WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents Trixie Tang]]''', [[WhoWouldWantToWatchUs animated comedy]] [[HypocriticalHumor character]].

There's an insidious school of thought circulating among the world's pop-culture enthusiasts and critics. It states that comedy is not and indeed ''cannot'' be TrueArt. Since [[TrueArtIsAngsty true art is angsty]] and offensive, it logically follows that something lighthearted, created to inspire joy and laughter amongst the public, must not be true art, right? Sadly, many people seem to think so. For instance, [[AwardSnub can you remember the last time a comedy film won the Academy Award for Best Picture]]?[[note]]It was the 1998 film ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'', and even that was the first comedy to win in years. Before that, it was 1977's ''Film/AnnieHall''. [[TheLongList In between the two came]]: ''Film/TheDeerHunter'', ''Film/KramerVsKramer'', ''Film/OrdinaryPeople'', ''Film/ChariotsOfFire'', ''Film/{{Gandhi}}'', ''Film/TermsOfEndearment'', ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'', ''Film/OutOfAfrica'', ''Film/{{Platoon}}'', ''Film/TheLastEmperor'', ''Film/RainMan'', ''Film/DrivingMissDaisy'', ''Film/DancesWithWolves'', ''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'', ''Film/{{Unforgiven}}'', ''Film/SchindlersList'', ''Film/ForrestGump'', ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'', ''Literature/TheEnglishPatient'' and ''Film/{{Titanic}}''.[[/note]] Exactly, and the numbers predict that it's not due to happen anytime soon. (The Golden Globe Awards have separate categories for comedies and dramas.)

This rule tends not to apply to minor technical awards: For instance, at the 1988 Oscars, the Disney/Amblin [[RogerRabbitEffect partly-animated]] [[FantasticComedy fantasy-comedy]] film ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' won three competitive Academy Awards, but these were for film editing, visual effects and sound effects. (A special award was given for the film's animation.)

Compare AnimationAgeGhetto and SciFiGhetto for similarly flawed ideas. For the fandom version, see MaturityIsSeriousBusiness. Particularly good {{satire}} and BlackComedy ''may'' be exempt (such as with ''Film/LifeIsBeautiful'', an ostensible comedy set during the Holocaust which got director/star RobertoBenigni the Best Foreign Language and Best Actor Oscars in 1998).

A primary cause of TomHanksSyndrome.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Entertainment'' magazine's review of ''Film/ObserveAndReport'' praises the film over the similarly-themed ''Paul Blart: Mall Cop'' for one main oft-repeated reason: the former is direct, sad, and "brutal" whereas the latter is funny, and its praise for the performers is secondary.
* Creator/RobertDeNiro was asked in an interview for ''Parade'' why he occasionally does "stupid" comedies such as ''Film/MeetTheParents''. De Niro explained that comedy films are just as difficult to make as serious dramas.
* Many film comedians have never or hardly won an Academy Award during the height of their careers: Creator/LaurelAndHardy received one Oscar for their short "The Music Box". Comedians like Creator/CharlieChaplin, Creator/BusterKeaton, [[Creator/LaurelAndHardy Stan Laurel]] and [[Creator/TheMarxBrothers Groucho Marx]] all received one single Academy Award (for their entire career and achievements) when they had already retired from performing in films. And they were the lucky ones! Other greats like Creator/HaroldLloyd, Creator/WCFields, Creator/TheThreeStooges, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Oliver Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, Harry Langdon all died without ever receiving ''anything''.
** Creator/PeterSellers was nominated the Best Actor Oscar for his three-part role in ''Film/DrStrangelove'' (1964), but lost the award to RexHarrison in ''Theatre/MyFairLady''. Fifteen years later, he was nominated in the category again for ''Film/BeingThere'', another satire, but Creator/DustinHoffman won for his performance in ''Film/KramerVsKramer''.
* None of Creator/MontyPython's films won a significant award, though ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife'' was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. (It ultimately received the Special Jury Prize instead.)
* Creator/BurtReynolds (who is usually a drama actor) was reportedly very disgusted that he lost an Oscar to RobinWilliams (known primarily for comedy) for his role in ''GoodWillHunting''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Almost any time a sitcom starts to make an attempt at an Emmy nomination, the episode they make for consideration is almost always a VerySpecialEpisode. The laughs come fewer and farther between, a much more serious issue is addressed, and it can often be a LowerDeckEpisode if a Supporting Actor award is being considered (the episodes of ''Series/{{Roseanne}}'' when Jackie was a victim of domestic abuse stand out as this in syndication).
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' {{Big Name Fan}}s are known for automatically rating horror serials above comedy, which is part of the reason for the longstanding bad reputations of stories like "The Gunfighters" and "City of Death" (both of which, especially the latter, were VindicatedByHistory once they became widely available to view again), as well as being part of the reason why the LighterAndSofter Graham Williams era (which [[ReplacementScrappy replaced an era of the darkest horror and goriest thrillers the show ever achieved]]) is considered a DorkAge by some parts of fandom. "The Space Museum" suffers especially from this, as people tend to praise its creepy and atmospheric JustOneSecondOutOfSync first episode and attack the three comedy episodes that come after. Revival series episodes that tend to be criticised entirely for being comedy are the "Aliens of London" two-parter (which had ToiletHumor) and "Love and Monsters" (which had a {{Squick}}y sex joke and Creator/PeterKay in a ridiculous rubber suit). On the other hand, this trope ended up working in the show's favour in a big way - the writers during the Graham Williams era realised that if they were stuck writing a cheap ExecutiveMeddling-mandated children's comedy to appease MoralGuardians protesting about the horror, no-one would care if they stuffed it full of sophisticated ParentalBonus satire, brilliantly intelligent dialogue and some of the blackest of BlackComedy, and so they did - overtly political stories like "The Sunmakers" and "The Invasion of Time" being fan favourites.
** The reaction from the fandom around the time that comedienne Catherine Tate was being cast as the next companion was very negative, with some people insisting that she couldn't possibly act well enough to pull off the {{Angst}} bits. However, she really could - she's now considered to be one of the best performed companions in the show's history, as comic acting is just as difficult as serious acting and the skills aren't too dissimilar. This situation unconsciously echoed fan concerns about well-loved comic actor Jon Pertwee being cast as the Doctor in 1970, which confused a lot of people when he performed the Third Doctor as probably the most serious and dignified Doctor of them all.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* The song ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5JAPkvnyso A Comedian at the Oscars]]'' performed by Creator/WillFerrell, Creator/JackBlack and John C. Reilly at the 79th Academy Awards is a biting satire of this idea. Ferrell and Black begin by pretending to challenge Oscar winners and nominees to a fight over the preferential treatment of dramatic actors before Reilly teaches them that they, too, can win awards if only they learn to accept absurdly tragic roles.
* During his life, Creator/ErikSatie was seen as a musical lightweight who composed silly little tunes with often comedic titles and littered his scores with sarcastic remarks. His legacy as a historically important musical innovator only came decades later after his death.
* Despite the enormous technical complexities of his music, Music/SpikeJones was likewise never taken seriously by his contemporaries.
* Music/FrankZappa also received more recognition as a innovative composer near the end of his life and mostly after death. The fact that he sabotaged the serious attention that any of his music could have received by injecting comedy into his compositions didn't help matters along. Nor the fact that his sense of humor [[SophisticatedAsHell did not discriminate between satirical wit and lowbrow bawdy jokes]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* While nothing to do with films per se, this trope does come up with regards to wrestlers that have comedy gimmicks. A lot of wrestling purists absolutely despise wrestlers that have gimmicks designed to entertain the fans and make them laugh, [[KidAppealCharacter especially if their fans are primarily children]]. Some fans that value only the athleticism in wrestling seem to assume that more character-centred wrestlers are somehow "cheating" and aren't real wrestlers when in actuality they do know how to wrestle and instead just choose to be more character based.
* Wrestlers with comedy gimmicks are more likely to become TheScrappy to internet fans, especially if they get cheered by the audience. Examples are Santino Marella, Brodus Clay, Scotty 2 Hotty, Doink the Clown etc.
* You'll never get a wrestler with a comedy gimmick as a world champion in any major promotion. If a wrestler wishes to become a main eventer in any shape or form then they're going to have to be taken seriously. Wrestling/JohnCena is probably the closest to a comedic main eventer WWE has had in recent years.
* Wrestling/TheRock is an aversion, though his comedy came more from insulting his opponents in clever ways.
* Wrestling/EddieGuerrero got away with it as well and is a notable aversion, possibly because his comedic cheating ways had become so endeared by fans.
* Wrestling/LayCool are female aversions. The two were essentially exaggerated versions of the AlphaBitch ValleyGirl and yet managed to dominate the women's division for over a year.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Broadway used to have a musical comedy ghetto that disappeared between the 1940s and the 1960s (though the most acclaimed musicals of the latter decade weren't comedies). There was much controversy in 1931 when ''Theatre/OfTheeISing'' became the first musical to win the PulitzerPrize; falling under the exemption for satire seems to have helped it do so.
* ''Theatre/{{Thespis}}'', the first Creator/GilbertAndSullivan operetta, ends with a TakeThat at the notion that tragedy is the higher art, suggesting that it is unwanted by the public. The angry [[ClassicalMythology Jupiter]] sends the Thespians away with this punishment:
-->Away to earth, contemptible comedians,
-->And hear our {{curse}}, before we set you free;
-->You shall all be eminent tragedians,
-->Whom no one ever goes to see!

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* There has been much discontent from fans of Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog (well, [[BrokenBase more so than usual]]) when Ken Pontac and Warren Graff started writing the cutscenes and dialogue for the games, as they yanked the narrative style from the rather bleak and serious tone of games like ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'' and ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' to the heavily comedic ''VideoGame/SonicColors'' and ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld''. These same fans await ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' with dread as the list of names of the show's creative team have come in and they are all comedy writers.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Members of ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''ís hatedom/[[HateDumb -dumb]] often claim that because the series is "only" a comedy, the viewpoints expressed within cannot be taken as actual critical analysis and [[CausticCritic Yahtzee]] is not a "real reviewer".
* Fans of Yahtzee often express virtually the same opinion: That because he's principally an entertainer, the content of his reviews cannot be criticized because he's "joking".
* This extends to most of ''the Escapist'' website, really. They don't hire consumer reporters, they hire ''critics''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Very prominent throughout the history of animation. For example, with regards to WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes, Creator/TexAvery was only nominated twice for the Best Animated Short Oscar without winning, while Creator/BobClampett was never even nominated at all. Likewise, Creator/ChuckJones received nominations for his later "True Art" shorts, but not for "The Dover Boys", "One Froggy Evening", or "Duck Amuck".
** Averted at least once by Creator/FrizFreleng. His cartoon "Knighty Knight Bugs" was the only BugsBunny cartoon to win an Academy Award.
* There was a stretch in the 1940s where ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' dominated the Best Animated Short Oscar category by winning a staggering total of seven Oscars.
* The comedic tone of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' has drawn criticism from fans of a DarkerAndEdgier Batman, so much so that one episode [[BreakingTheFourthWall punched the fourth wall in the face]] to deliver an eloquent defense of a LighterAndSofter show.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' is often dismissed for its frequent comedic tone. However, since the series is a CerebusRollercoaster, it can be plenty serious when it wants to be.
** Ironic, as it's LighterAndSofter successor ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' has garnered high disdain by many fans of the original ''Teen Titans'' animated series.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. The comedy and seriousness are better balanced here, but the comedy part is always more apparent, hence why the deeper themes are overlooked by most.

!!Exceptions to the rule:
* A very good example is ''Film/TheHangover'', a comedy that's basically RefugeInAudacity and CrossesTheLineTwice put on film -- it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), the first non-animated "pure comedy" film to do so in over two decades.
* Usually, if comedies win any major awards, it's for a supporting performance. Examples include Melvyn Douglas in ''Film/BeingThere'', John Gielgud in ''Film/{{Arthur}}'', Kevin Kline for ''Film/AFishCalledWanda'', Marisa Tomei in ''Film/MyCousinVinny'', Jack Palance in ''Film/CitySlickers'', and Alan Arkin in ''Film/LittleMissSunshine''. (In the first two cases, the lead actors also were nominated but didn't win.)
** And read what you like into how many of those were the StraightMan or OnlySaneMan to a more comedic protagonist.
* Want to have the best chance for winning an Oscar by appearing in a comedy? Appear in a Creator/WoodyAllen movie. Three actresses -- Dianne Wiest (''twice'', for ''Film/HannahAndHerSisters'' and ''Film/BulletsOverBroadway''), Mira Sorvino (''Mighty Aphrodite'') and Creator/PenelopeCruz (''Film/VickyCristinaBarcelona'') -- have won Best Supporting Actress. Creator/MichaelCaine won Best Supporting Actor for his role in ''Hannah and Her Sisters'' and Diane Keaton received Best Actress for playing the title character in ''Film/AnnieHall''.
* ''Film/AmericanBeauty'' had the tagline in the trailer "If you think a comedy can't be moving, if you think a drama can't be funny, look closer". The film is essentially a comedy with the drama coming to the forefront in maybe the last fifteen minutes and it is widely regarded as one of the best films of the í90s.
* There have been only four comedies winning Best Picture in the last 50-plus years. It's worth noting that three of these winners -- ''Film/TheApartment'' (1960), ''Film/AnnieHall'' (1977), and ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'' (1998) -- aren't regarded as ''pure'' comedies; they all contain significant dramatic elements, though when these occur in ''Annie Hall'' it's still played for laughs. The other winner, 1963's ''[[Literature/TheHistoryOfTomJonesAFoundling Tom Jones]]'', ''is'' a pure comedy, or very close to it... albeit one that's [[TheFilmOfTheBook adapted from a respected 18th-century British novel]].
* ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' is mostly a comedy and is regarded as one of the best installments of the series. Of course, the whole series is already in the SciFiGhetto.
* Considering cartoon comedies, ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' is a '''major''' exception. Such shorts as ''Quiet, Please!'' and ''Yankee Doodle Mouse'' got an Oscar for the Best Short Animated Film; although it's also worth noting that the number of shorts that won this award is the same that their amount that was only nominated. Before ''Tom and Jerry'', cutesy fare like ''SillySymphonies'' shorts tended to always win the award while zany comedies were overlooked.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' got an Oscar nomination for its original story. Naturally, it lost to ''Film/{{Witness}}'', but for a [[SciFiGhetto sci-fi]] teen comedy that's practically a Best Picture win.
* Creator/JuddApatow subverts this trope. His first two films were vulgar sex comedies (''Film/TheFortyYearOldVirgin'' and ''Film/KnockedUp'') that both wound up named among the best ten films of the year by the American Film Institute. His third, ''Film/FunnyPeople'', was markedly less of a comedy. He produced ''Film/{{Bridesmaids}}'' and it got two Academy Award nominations (one for Melissa [=McCarthy=]'s performance and another for the screenplay).
* Theater is in many ways exempt, and Broadway comedies are not only successful, but are not infrequent Tony Award winners.
* Shakespeare himself applies as an exception. Literary scholars love his whole work: comedies, tragedies, histories, romances... everything. And everything has been on stage ever since he wrote it.
* Charlie Chaplin devoted much of the latter part of his film career showing that his film comedies could do far more than provide a few laughs. As a result, he has been honored as one of the great filmmakers with sophisticated satires like ''Film/ModernTimes'', ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' and ''Film/MonsieurVerdoux''.
* ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn'' is the original Great American Novel, but it is mostly a comedic series of adventures, especially toward the end.
* James Joyce's ''Literature/{{Ulysses}}'', one of the best-regarded novels of the 20th century, is essentially a comedy. Joyce himself claimed there was "not one single serious line in it". Of course, it ''does'' have TrueArtIsIncomprehensible on its side.
* Creator/FranzKafka read his books aloud to his friends while supposedly roaring with laughter, and he is considered one of the great writers of the 20th century. That said, his works are just as often described as "nightmarish and terrifying" by critics.
* ''Literature/DonQuixote'' is often cited as the greatest novel ever written, and it's a DeconstructiveParody of ChivalricRomances.
* ''Literature/{{Catch-22}}'' was ranked seventh on Modern Library's list of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and it's hilarious. Granted, it does get more serious later in the book.
* Creator/PGWodehouse, whose novels are often critically acclaimed as being the product of both a great writer and a comic genius.
* Sci-fi comedy ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' is considered a classic. Although literary critics often avoid it, reviewers have praised it and it has a very devoted cult following.
* ''Literature/AConfederacyOfDunces'' won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a rare feat for a comedic novel.
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' is probably the most zany and comically over-the-top series in the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' franchise, but owing to the mostly serious second season, it's often considered the best of them all by fans.
* ''Film/TropicThunder'' gave an Oscar nomination for Creator/RobertDowneyJr for his very, '''very''' [[CrossesTheLineTwice line-crossing]] character of Kirk Lazarus. Similarly, Downey and Creator/TomCruise were nominated for the golden globes.
* ''Film/TheProducers'' won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and spawned a Broadway musical adaptation that set a record for most Tony wins. Creator/GeneWilder earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, for ChewingTheScenery as the original Leo Bloom, but lost to Jack Albertson, who played John Cleary in ''The Subject Was Roses''.
* ''Film/AnnieHall'' won the Oscar for Best Picture, and although Creator/WoodyAllen lost as Best Actor in his best known role, he did so to ''another'' romantic comedy performance, Richard Dreyfuss in ''The Goodbye Girl'', not to the top contender in the category, Creator/RichardBurton in the drama ''Film/{{Equus}}''.
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] initially with the VideoGame industry, and averting it altogether later on. Video games have leaned towards having fun more than anything else ever since the existence of [[{{VideoGame}} Pong]], and it wound up taking a while before the medium started being recognized as a way to tell serious stories while keeping the gameplay solid. Even today, both comedy-oriented games and drama-oriented games are treated equally by critics and fans alike. Case and point: the [[http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/diablo-ii grim, bleak Diablo II]] has nearly the exact same Metacritic score as [[http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/borderlands-2 the wacky, outrageous Borderlands 2]].
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