This chapter argues for the centrality of comedy in the development and discursive conceptualization of musical modernism. Covering a wide array of composers, musics and genres (for example, from Offenbach and operetta, via Cage and experimentalism, through to Nina Simone, Bugs Bunny and cartoon music), and strongly informed by philosophical discourse (notably Bergson and Nietzsche), it argues not only that comedy helped to define modernist practice historically in distinction to what preceded it, but that it also provided, for contemporary audiences, provocative models for how one might attempt to survive the ongoing complexities of capitalist modernity itself.