Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article links the concept of the community of laughter to cringe comedy, which emphasizes embarrassment, awkwardness, and social isolation over the affirmative bonds of other, less pain-inducing branches of comedy. It uses the film Bridesmaids (2011) to investigate how cringe comedy refrains from celebrating communality and solidarity, exposing the fragility of female bonds in the context of class warfare. The film’s eloquent and cringeworthy set pieces isolate the main character from her potential “community of laughter” and set her on a trajectory that is often closer to the arc of tragedy, where characters experience a fall. Crucially, cringe comedy’s inherent necessity to soften the blow, signaled by the climactic reconciliation in Bridesmaids, is not to be confused for a cop-out on behalf of the filmmakers. It is part of cringe comedy’s tendency to set its main characters on a path towards catharsis and spiritual betterment.

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