Leave it to an academic to take all the hilarity out of comedy, huh? Notice how this critic
sets up a paradox and promptly resolves it: it would seem to be surprising that people
really esteem respect for others, and yet rude (“disrespectful”) comedians are really
popular. But the conclusion, signaled by “Thus,” is that that shouldn’t be a surprise,
because comedy emerges when people fall short of their ideals. O.K., then that assumes
that comedy audiences (people who value respect highly) must fall short of living up to
that ideal of respect—which is what (D) gives us, in so many words. Check it using theKaplan
Denial Test: if (D) is false, if people who esteem respect do live up to that ideal,
then there must be some other reason for the current popularity of rude comics. (D), if
negated, contradicts the author, so (D) must be the right answer.
It’s hard, perhaps, to pre-phrase an answer to this question, but a survey of the choices
finds the other four way outside the scope:
(A), in fact, contradicts the whole thrust of the argument, which is all predicated on the
idea that the very people who esteem respect are the ones who find disrespectful comics to
be a scream.
(B) and (C) Each of these cites an exception to a generalization made by the critic; neither,
if false, damages the logic. The author is examining why many rude comics are popular, so
contrary to (B), the argument permits the possibility of successful and respectful—though
perhaps less amusing—comics. And the author addresses the general popularity of rude
comics, so contrary to (C), the argument allows for the possibility that some folks don’t
find rude comics to be a source of humor.
(E) The argument concerns popular comics and audiences today. No comparison between
comics and audiences of today vs. yesteryear is addressed or implied.
• Ordinarily, Assumption questions lend themselves to pre-phrasing. But if you
cannot come up with a key author assumption yourself, no sweat. Check the choices,
and apply the Kaplan
Denial Test to find the statement whose truth the author is