One of my favourite comedic forms is the anticlimax. Louis CK does a good job (when he can keep from deteriorating to the crude) of setting up a situation for which deflation is the only available punchline. One such scene he proposes puts him in the difficult role of trying to give a large amount of necessary information in a short amount of time to someone in danger. He sees a man riding a bicycle heading towards a car -- he sees that someone in the car is about to open the door into the cyclist's path. It's all happening very quickly and he realizes he doesn't have time to yell out "Hey you the guy in the bike...She's gonna open the door!" So he just yells "Bad Thing!"
That's not much of a punchline. In fact it works (with good delivery) by being flat meaningless and ineffectual. I find it very funny. It's typical of CK's best humor.
By the premier episode of the sixth season of Cheers, Sam Malone, the celebrated lothario, has been established as a capable and crafty Casanova. He has displayed prowess at prowling and skill at seduction. He is not to be trusted. Then he meets the very attractive Rebecca Howe and takes full advantage of his first encounter with the eloquently stated "abuwahhh...?" It was a deflated punchline 5 years in the making.
Anticlimax --the "descent from the elevated and important to the low and trivial"-- may also be known as bathos [Greek depth] --"a ludicrous anticlimax" (Oxford Companion to the English Language). The Oxford Companion provides the following examples:
'Here thou, Great Anna! whom three realms obey, /Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes Tea' (Pope, The Rape of the Lock).
'For God, for country, and for Acme Gasworks' (Random House Dict., 1987).
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