Contradiction is an addiction - from philosophical dialectic to the verification of scientific and mathematical hypotheses, and from religious controversy to traditional pantomime exchanges with the audience. Oh No It Isn't, you may think. Oh, yes, it very much is.
Stephen Fry examines various aspects of the subject with language expert Professor David Crystal, theologian Melissa Raphael-Levine, philosopher Anthony Grayling, and Oliver Double, who has made a special study of comedy double-acts, and will reveal just how vital contradiction is not only for cross-patter partners but for the whole of comedy.
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"More Crumbs from the Table of the Master... Pt3"
One of the stranger sections, this covers positives, negatives & dialectical debates. Starting off with the famous Monty Python `Argument' sketch, there is an interview with a philosopher (about the meaning of double negatives & all the permutations thereof).
As this section progresses through the idea of dialectical arguments to establish truth, it then moves onto comedy & how the formula of `Straight man/ Funny man' has used contradiction to great effect in creating humour.
This section finishes with a Stephen Fry list of 35 Oxymoron's (phrases with inherent contradictions in them) - e.g. `safe bet', `religious toleration', `countless numbers' & `fresh cheese'.
(btw, I only counted 21 after 2 listens, but I'm sure future listeners can do better...?)
P.S. See 'Fry's English Delight - Series 3' if you want to see the review of the full product.
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