Analysing A Comedy Short

Saturday Night Live, an American TV show popular for it’s big names and comic brilliance produces many shorts often revolving around current affairs and comedic punch lines some are presented as film trailers whilst others stick to a more conventional TV show/ Short film approach.
The one I will be deconstructing is ‘Election Night’, it revolves around trump becoming president and the white people of the room reacting to trump becoming closer and closer to winning the election and them becoming more and more outraged at the apparent racism of the people of America. The joke is that the African Americans in the room are already aware of the racism in which surrounds America and almost predicted trump to win.

The short is in the style of a 90s sitcom not too dissimilar to a TV show such as Friends. This instantly creates a comedic tone through both the ‘Live Studio Audience’s laughter and the over exaggerated acting. The opening shot pans up on an apartment style building with the non diegetic text on the screen reading “6:00PM” this sets the scene up to express the fact that they are gathered most likely as friends or neighbours, this is important as it shows an air of comfort in the room.

This shot is immediately followed by a long shot which shows the people in the sat down watching presumably the television this shot is affective as at first glance the people in the room seem to be quite comfortable however the African American in the room is distinguished as he is not drinking alcohol where as the other four in the room are, this suggests that he is not at ease possibly that he is aware that Donald Trump could win. This is only furthered by the following two shots in which the Three white people are discussing how they Hillary is going to “be the first female president” and the next shot of the central black character saying why he has his doubts.

As the night progress this outlook seems to stagnate in all parties the way in which the separated character reacts with the other four in the room makes him seem in the know the shots of him seem as if he has accepted Hillarys loss before its happened this is apparent as he stays calm in contrast to the others in the room who are still making excuses or reasons as to why Trump is apparently in the lead.
This, again, is furthered by the next clip in which the white people in the room make a toast for Latinos after claiming their ‘definite’ win of the state of Florida, the reaction of the character in the know shows a close up of him pulling a puzzled face this is an example of a way in which dramatic irony can be used with a close up to relate to a character. The use of this close up allows for the watcher to Empathise with the character whilst not being African American themselves yet understanding that most people do not recognise institutionalised racism.

The mood of the Whole room changes when the second African American played by Chris Rock enters the room. His appearance symbolises the change in opinion or the loss of hope of the others in the room, this makes the separation between the two black characters and the rest of the rooms views on America to become more apparent to the rest of the room. This realisation symbolises the fact that the others were naïve.

The way in which the short is developed and used to create comic effect is useful when showing the way in which comedic situation can be developed from everyday situations it is also useful when considering the way In which the progression of time is shown, this relates with our film ‘After Hours’ as it shows a way in which we can show the progression of time in a short film, by using text and establishing shots.

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