Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Buddhist Realism & Dark Comedy (video)

Prof. Chris Kelley, ThinkOlio, Strand, 5/5/17; Sheldon S., Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

ThinkOlio Presents: Buddhist Realism and Dark Comedy: It's Funny Because It's True
(Strand Book Store) The historical Buddha is believed to have taught that the fundamental nature of the human condition is suffused with feelings of existential angst and abiding dissatisfaction (dukkha, disappointment). Such "realism" is not exclusive to Buddhism, however.

Why do Buddhist meditators smile like the B?
Any dark comedy stand-up comedian knows this already, because making jokes about the reality of life usually gets big laughs of recognition. Or as they say in the stand-up business — it “kills.” Like the Buddha, the comic can be a powerful medium for communicating the more disquieting and shunned truths about life.

Jewish Hitler? Hey, you can't joke about Nazis!
Join Christopher Kelley in a provocative university talk on the merits of dark comedy as a vehicle for embracing the truth of the human condition [and the Buddha's antidote and solution to the problem of suffering].

Between video clips of comedians like Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, and Andy Kaufman, The New School and CUNY Professor of Buddhist Studies Christopher Kelley discusses why both Buddhism and dark comedy offer a kind of "therapy" for eliminating the existential anxiety that comes from being the kind of animal that lives with the knowledge of its own inexorable deaths and rebirths.

Dr. Christopher Kelley holds a doctorate in Buddhist Studies from Columbia University, where he studied under the guidance of Prof. Robert Thurman (Uma Thurman's dad and the Dalai Lama's long time Western friend). He currently teaches at Brooklyn College (CUNY) and the New School University in the City of New York. Recorded on Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 2017.

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