A parody imitates a work of art, literature, or music for the purpose of making playful fun or a joke of the original work. It may take an ironic or cynical approach to the work it is imitating or may just be for comedic relief. Most times, a parody involves a serious work that has been changed to make it seem absurd by mocking or pointing out shortcomings in the original work. This imitation is similar to and may also be referred to as burlesque, a lampoon or a spoof.
The word comes from the Greek paroidia, meaning a song sung alongside another. In modern culture, a parody can involve print, audio and visual media. Copyright laws are complicated when dealing with such imitations, and since the original work is copyrighted to the original creator, the legal debate stems from the new work based on the original. In many cases, the creator of a parody must obtain permission from the creator of the work he or she intends to spoof.
Film is a popular industry where a parody may be created. Iconic films that contain a parody of an original work include the Scary Movie series, which are spoofs of many top box office horror films and Spaceballs, which spoofs the George Lucas film Star Wars. Numerous others exist, many of which star infamous Hollywood comedians.
Music is almost as equally popular a venue for humorous imitations. The number one selling artist of parody in modern music is Weird Al Yankovic, who has recorded over a dozen albums containing parodies of popular songs and some original pieces and has had numerous Grammy Award nominations and two wins.
Other forms spoof exist within television, with Saturday Night Live leading production. Other shows have been developed as a parody of reality. Though this type of imitation in print is rarer and lesser known, books, magazine, and newspapers have also contained parodies of original works or situations.