||18 ROBERT E. HELBLING - I don't see anything/wwn)> about all this suffering." This man was hit in the legl Think that's funny? - No. This man was hit in the chest! Think that's funny? - No. And this man's head's been blown off. . . ." - Now that's funny! The banal tone of the whole series is cleverly ridiculed in the next repartee: Oh! And what's so funny about that? - Just wait till he tries to comb his hair.23 It is manifestly difficult to be grotesque night after night! The witticisms of the series occasionally have the makings of black humor, though of a rather anodyne variety. This type of humor is practiced, however, with lubricious abandon in the Monty Python productions, where it often slips over the edge of the merely funny into scurrility, licentious abuse and blasphemy, with the avowed purpose of giving offense to the prudish while entertaining the more bohemian folk. The ribaldries of the performances often suffer from histrionic self-indulgence. Outrage at our deadly follies may become drowned in too much loony outrageousness, especially if one is half in love with one's own outrage, as I suspect the Monty Pythons often are! Black humor is probably best embodied in the well-known Charles Addams cartoons which have enlivened the genteel pages of The New Yorker from the 1940s on. In comparison with the genuine grostesque, the targets of black humor are usually more specific - conventional family and social attitudes monstrously travestied (parents endearingly watching their children chopping off dolls' heads with a guillotine, for instance). Witty captions or commentaries make it quite clear what or who the victims of the whithering humor are, as in this cartoon. (You could also call this: "In praise of human kindness.") Incidentally, "black wit" would be a better term for this so-called humor. Humor is found, wit is made. A last example of black humor: that remarkable film Dr. Strangelove made about twenty years ago. Especially pungent the final scene of the Texan pilot astride an atomic bomb, patriotically brandishing his ten-gallon hat as he zooms in on his target; a take-off perhaps on the lurid secret that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was adorned with the famous rear-view of Betty Grable.24 Earlier in the film, the spasmodic gestures and the leering smile of the eponymous hero provided a number of fine visual grotesqueries.