Chris Ross’s “What is Humor? – The 33 Points.

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The story of The Committee wouldn’t be complete without a look at the life and comedy of the troupe’s youngest performer (and star) – Christopher Ross – who died tragically of a drug overdose at the age of 25 in 1970.

We met Chris’s brother Fred earlier this year and he passed along a small token from Chris’s life that we couldn’t resist sharing with you. It’s a piece of burgeoning comic theory¬†that resonates deeply with us, bringing to mind the time when we were first exposed to -and infatuated by – improv and sketch comedy and when we thought way too much about how comedy works.

Here it is as written. Enjoy:

What is Humor?
The 33 Points…
(Revised Edition)

An Ultimatum
by Christopher Ross

1. Obvious, Simple, Predictable
2. Repetition
3. Deadpan and Understatement
4. Extension of Reality
5. Lunacy, Pointlessness
6. Pain or Cruelty
7. Mistakes, Accidents
8. Failure
9. Afflicted, Deformed
10. Unexpected (Surprise, Shock)
11. Sarcasm
12. Humiliation and Embarrassment
13. Frustration, Aggravation
14. Ignorance or Stupidity
15. Rude, Obnoxious
16. Out of Context
17. Word Play
18. Cliche
19. Pomp, Formality
20. Ethnic
21. Pathos, Poignance
22. Helpless, Hopeless
23. Hysteria
24. Sex
25. Toilet
26. Appearance or Condition (Physical or Otherwise)
27. Facial Expression
28. Movement, Walk, Etc.
29. Reaction, “Takes”
30. Voices, Noises
31. Innate Rhythmic Pacing (Timing)**
32. Recognition, Comparison, Mock
33. Weakness

**#31 may cause some alarm. Disregard if you think it will make it easier.

(Note: I sincerely hope this list will help to clear up any and all disagreements or conflicts and thereby aiding Shtickticians everywhere.)

[Chris Ross image is a still from a home movie, courtesy of Allaudin Mathieu

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