TruthCo. Reveals TV Comedy Study Findings

CRACKING THE COMEDY CODE Explores Impact of Societal Issues on TV Comedy Success

TruthCo. released the findings of its latest study, CRACKING THE COMEDY CODE, today. The study examines the role of comedy in today’s culture, the ways comedy is being used to address major cultural shifts and the importance of the genre for the business of TV.

Since the early days of television, comedy has been a popular and important cultural medium for helping viewers escape, address and reflect on their lives. With the economic collapse in the past and digital proliferation at our fingertips, comedy is currently exploding as an art form. It’s also become a platform for social critique and conversation. Especially for Millennials and Generation Z who relate to comedy in the same way Boomers did to music in the past: as an expression of identity, community, values and frustrations.

Comedy is the language of Millennials, but everyone has become increasingly fluent.

Alix Korn, TrithCo. Cultural Analyst

The goal of CRACKING THE COMEDY CODE is to identify new consumer expectations and desires in the comedy sector—from broadcast sitcoms to Internet shorts – and provide cultural insights by outlining key themes and codes through which comedy connects with, engages and cultivates new consumers.

Key Findings


·      Comedy viewers are more sophisticated than ever before, with an unprecedented awareness of – and interest in — comedy’s conventions and history.

·      Comedians are increasingly being recognized as cultural thought-leaders and artists.

·      As Millennials look to comedy as a vehicle for thought - not just laughter -comedy is increasingly taking on weightier social issues like race and inequality.

·      No longer predominantly white and male, Dominant and Emergent comedy is embracing a broad and inclusive range of voices from all walks of life.

·      Emergent comedy is taking on an absurdist POV that pushes the boundaries of convention and format.



“Comedy has always been used to deflect personal discomfort or to make light of an uncomfortable situation, but the study shows that this comedic sensibility has deeper roots and meaning in today’s culture than at any time before. Comedy as a genre in the entertainment business has become a multi-cultural, boundary-pushing platform for many voices to be heard on a wide variety of issues. And that is important for brands and marketers to understand when, how and why to use comedy in today’s culture.”

-TruthCo. CEO Linda Ong

"Comedy is the language of Millennials, but everyone has become increasingly fluent. In doing this cultural analysis, it's striking to see how comedy translates and influences the most important cultural and social conversations of the moment."

-TruthCo. Cultural Analyst Alix Korn