Why 30 Rock Is Not Funny

Philosophy and Literature 35 (2):320-337 (2011)
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Abstract

The first time I saw 30 Rock, I was struck by how often it fails to be funny. This is not to say that 30 Rock is never funny—sometimes it is very funny indeed. But what stood out most to me was how strikingly not funny it often is. The show is, nevertheless, very entertaining. And it is curious that a sitcom—a show that is ostensibly designed to entertain through the use of humor—could entertain so successfully while being so unsuccessful at making its audience laugh. This curiosity is the subject of this paper. My purpose is to offer a theory that explains three features of 30 Rock: first, how it sometimes achieves comedic effect; second, why its.

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