Slipping on a banana peel has been a joke for over a century, having first appeared on film in Charlie Chaplin’s By the Sea in 1915. Sorry, but I’m afraid this is one of those articles that starts off with a quote by a famous person. Here it is: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” Mel Brooks said that, and I think we immediately understand where he’s coming from. The misfortune of others has been part of comedy forever. It’s like that expression: comedy equals tragedy plus time. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Amia Srinivasan Amia Srinivasan on the philosophy of sex. Arts & Culture Issue 43 Signal Boost How status anxiety drives culture. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Memes of Communication A conversation about digital folklore. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Designated Drudgery How to take a load off. Arts & Culture Issue 30 Knowing Me, Knowing You Think twice before seeking out your doppelgänger. Arts & Culture Issue 29 Mime Culture On lip-syncing and the allure of mouthing along.