In a valuable insight on the nature of comedy as a genre, Jim Leach suggests that any genre that included the comic visions of both Jerry Lewis (b. 1926) and Ernest Lubitsch (1892–1947) was already headed for trouble (Leach, 1977). Leach was encouraging a more ambitious look at multiple comedy genres, noting what most disciples of laughter have long believed—that if a genre such as comedy is classified too loosely, it loses any critical value. In the years since Leach's prophetic observations, the study of comedy has broken away from this tendency to jam everything into one generic category. Indeed, movie comedy can best be examined as six distinct genres: personality or clown comedy, populism, dark comedy, parody, romantic comedy, and screwball comedy. Additionally, individual film comedies occasionally embrace more than one type of humor, further complicating their generic categorization.

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