Why Comedians are Making the Jump from Comedy to Horror

A Quiet Place

One of the most iconic and beloved sitcoms of the 21st century is The Office, the show home to the lovable prankster, Jim Halpert. While the actor, John Krasiniski, has taken other roles over the years since the show's end, he is still mainly associated with the comedy show. This is why it was surprising when it was first announced that Krasinski would be writing, directing, and starring in a horror movie.

A Quiet Place is a horror movie centered on an American family's survival in a world invaded by aliens with an extreme sense of hearing. The movie is filled with suspense, jump-scares, and dark tones, but it also has a deep underlying message of family. John Krasinski said in an interview, "Yes, it's a scary movie, and I love that people are saying that, but it's really about family. It's about family. It's about the extremes you would go to to protect your kids." Krasinski has certainly made the jump from discussing meaningful topics with comedy to expressing them in a scary setting. 

Get Out

Krasinski isn't the first comedian to make this jump recently, though. Jordan Peele, a name synonymous with comedy, made Get Out last year, an incredible movie that merged comedy and horror, all while addressing real issues, such as race. Get Out was one of the first movies to make this jump. It was a big deal, especially for the millennials who had grown up familiar with his comedy sketches.

The trend of comedians making the jump to horror as their medium for messages shows a more serious approach to issues. For those of you studying film or anything related to productions, it is definitely important to note that creators are making a genre jump for more serious storytelling.

What This Could Mean

A joke has been going around that we used to laugh at comedians and listen to politicians, but now we listen to comedians and joke about politicians. John Oliver has certainly proven this true, as he has started numerous organizations to point out government flaws and consistently baited those responsible in order to draw attention to an issue. This distinction is important, especially to us college-aged people who are new to voting. This shift in comedians telling serious messages shows our new way of starting conversations on important issues, especially social issues.

I think the reason that comedians are beginning to make the jump from comedy to horror is to start a conversation about the issues they want to address in a more serious way. In the past, Jordan Peele has addressed racial divisions in comedy, but more recently he chose to discuss it in Get Out. This change allows his message to become more accessible to people who are not familiar with his comedy - especially older people. It gives him a more mature and potentially even larger audience to which he can get his message across.

John Krasinski discusses issues of family and death. He has created a world no one would want to live in, and makes it clear that his character is living solely to protect his children. A personal message like this told in a horror movie allows more mature audiences to view it. As comedians begin to find it important to tell people stories about important issues and not just make them laugh, I believe genre shifts among comedians will continue to grow.

On the one hand, it is really entertaining to watch a scary yet meaningful movie written by an entertainer - and I for one hope this trend continues. On the other, comedians using horror as their platform, or any platform calling out serious issues, like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, shows the way our generation is getting everyone's attention.

I hope that if you aspire to address any social issues, you know that you can tell your story any way you want.

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