Cringe comedy

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Cringe comedy is a specific genre of comedy that derives humor from social awkwardness. The Cringe Channel describes it as a genre in which the intent is "to make the viewer uncomfortable rather than laugh".[1] Often a cringe comedy will have an air of mockumentary and revolve around a serious setting, such as a workplace, to lend the comedy a sense of reality.[2] The protagonists are typically egoists who overstep the boundaries of political correctness and break social norms. Then the comedy will attack the protagonist by not letting them become aware of their self-centered view, or by making them oblivious to the ego-deflation that the comedy deals them. Sometimes however an unlikeable protagonist may not suffer any consequences, which violates our moral expectations, and also make the audience cringe.[3]

Popular examples of television programmes that employ this genre of comedy include The Office,[2] It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Alan Partridge, Nathan For You, Peep Show (TV Series), Louie and Mr Bean.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Definition". The Cringe Channel. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Susman, Gary. "Discomfort Zone: 10 Great Cringe Comedies". Time. 
  3. ^ McFarlane, Brian (2009). "A curmudgeon's canon: random thoughts on 'Summer Heights High', 'The Office' and other nasty pleasures". Metro Magazine (160): 134–138.