Someone once said that when you create art just to make an audience happy, it's not art. Some friends of mine got into a big discussion about this topic some time ago and it's been in the back of my mind ever since.
If that's true, is comedy an art? The entire point of comedy is to make your audience laugh. To make one's audience laugh, they have to be entertained. And to get your audience entertained/laughing, you have to cater to them.
Example: let's say the statement "She was scat singing all night" was an inside joke between me and some friends of mine. If one of us were to bring this up at the most precise and appropriate moment in a conversation, this statement could be comedic. It'd be funny, and my friends would hopefully then laugh.
However, if I were a stand-up comedian performing for a crowd of strangers and the punchline of one of my jokes was "she was scat singing all night", the statement wouldn't be comedy at all. Therefore, comedy is not an art because it requires meandering to one's audience.
But wait: a huge tip in improvisational comedy is that "if the audience can see that you're having fun, they'll have fun too." So does this totally kill the previous theory?
Or is just not possible to squeeze an abstract concept like humor into the confines of a formula?
After re-reading this post shortly after writing it, I'd like to say this: whether I am stoned or not as I write this is none of your business.