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londovir- by iamsab

Open for speculation: the nature of Centauri humor

I have been mulling over this topic since this morning. What does make a Centauri laugh? We've had a small taste of their opera, but what are their comedies like? We've seen some Human influence- the few (rather lame) jokes Londo or other ministers have told- but clearly there are differences if Londo doesn't "get" Rebo and Zooty. Might the Centauri be amused by men being outwitted by their wives? Or perhaps they would be amused by men being outwitted in the game of politics. Or, might there be an element of self-mockery in the humor? Perhaps the Centauri have had a few great satirists who gained their fame by playfully mocking noble manners. And their dirty jokes are probably very interesting given their anatomy. *eg*

Anyway, I'd love to hear some thoughts on this.
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Well admittedly we've only seen aristocratic Centauri - mostly courtiers and hangers on, but ... I think Londo, with his openly expressed sense of humour, and ability to make fun of himself (however bitterly) is in a minority. Most of the other Centauri I've seen seem very jealous of their dignity. Conversely, they seem to find humiliating others amusing. Just think of what they did to G'Kar...

Yes, that's true.

That's why I mentioned the idea of comic characters being outplayed by their rivals, or worse, their women. How humiliating must that be for a high-born Centauri? And how amusing must that be for the noble Centauri audience, in a sort of "Thank the Great Maker I'm not stupid enough to find myself in that situation" kind of way. Conventional upper class humor very likely plays on making the audience feel superior to the figure who is the butt of the joke.

However, I mentioned satire too because I think it might have a certain appeal to those outside of the aristocratic strata- it could be the vulgar humor, if you will. And I bet you a thousand ducats that if there are Centauri satirists, the unusually earthy Londo knows all of them and enjoys them more than he should- one more thing for the other nobles to tisk-tisk about.

Re: Yes, that's true.

Hmmm... actually, I could see satire as a rather lower-class entertainment in Centauri society - making fun of the "big wigs" so to speak. And yes, I bet Londo knows and appreciates it. *g*

Good question.

Since I doubt Cartagia hired that ill-fated court jester to begin with (he probably inherited him from Turhan), I'd say pantomime is familiar on Centauri Prime.

Otherwise, considering that the Centauri culture is rather obviously modelled on Imperial Rome, I'd guess something like the comedies of Plautus for the masses (i.e. certain familiar archetypes - clever slave, young lovers, father to be cheated - and this in a culture which prized the veneration of the Pater Familias, so the Centauri parallel might be nobles to be mocked despite the veneration they're officially held in). Or maybe something like the Restoration comedy (era Charles II. in England), the other period which for some reason reminds me of the Centauri.