Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor
Gallows humor
Gallows humor , derives from gallows which is a platform with a noose used to execute people by hanging. Gallows humor is the type of humor that still manages to be funny in the face of, and in response to, a perfectly hopeless situation...

. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes an emotion, all humor is "black humor," and that there is no such thing as "non-black humor".

Black humor (from the French humour noir) is a term coined by Surrealist theoretician André Breton
André Breton
André Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....

 in 1935, to designate a sub-genre of comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 and satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 in which laughter arises from cynicism
Cynicism (contemporary)
Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of other's apparent motives, or a general lack of faith or hope in the human race. It is a form of jaded negativity, and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism...

 and skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

, often about the topic of death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

Breton coined the term for his book Anthology of Black Humor
Anthology of Black Humor
The Anthology of Black Humor is an anthology of 45 writers edited by André Breton. It was first published in 1940 in Paris by Éditions du Sagittaire and its distribution was immediately banned by the Vichy government. It got reprinted in 1947 after Breton's return from exile, with a few additions...

(Anthologie de l'humour noir), in which he credited Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

 as the originator of black humor and gallows humor, and included excerpts from 45 other writers.