Take film for example, here is a list of the 20 most popular films on IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top). Not one of them is a comedy, in fact most of them have very serious topics. I had to scroll down to Dr Strangelove at #38 on the list for the first comedy of sorts.
|1.||9.2||The Shawshank Redemption (1994)|
|2.||9.2||The Godfather (1972)|
|3.||9.0||The Godfather: Part II (1974)|
|4.||8.9||Pulp Fiction (1994)|
|5.||8.9||The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)|
|6.||8.9||12 Angry Men (1957)|
|7.||8.9||The Dark Knight (2008)|
|8.||8.9||Schindler's List (1993)|
|9.||8.8||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)|
|10.||8.8||Fight Club (1999)|
|11.||8.8||Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)|
|12.||8.8||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)|
|13.||8.8||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)|
|16.||8.7||Star Wars (1977)|
|17.||8.7||Seven Samurai (1954)|
|18.||8.7||Forrest Gump (1994)|
|19.||8.7||The Matrix (1999)|
|20.||8.7||The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)|
It's a bit more tricky when it comes to music because people have varied tastes and some people really like Black Eyed Peas and have lots of good feelings about their evenings. Personally I listen to a lot of indie acoustic rock which tends to have more of a lyrical focus, with artists dealing with heavy topics. Interestingly, a recent study analysed popular songs over the last 25 years and showed that music has become more sad-sounding with an increase in slower songs and songs in the minor mode.
While poetry and art tend to express a broader spectrum of emotion, many of the people who have created great works of art tend to be rather sad, with many of them struggling with depression. Despite their tortured personal lives they created beautiful poems or artworks. Their ability to creative beautiful works might well be because many of them felt like outsiders and were able to objectively look at society and draw unique and interesting insights.
Art is supposed to illicit emotion. When we see something creative it should move us in a deeper way, whether it be towards joy or sadness or wherever. Creativity is not there merely to create nice things, but rather to ask deeper questions and explain something of this beautifully awful mess we're in.
Happiness can easily be worn in public, and doesn't require any introspection or greater questioning. But when we get home and have time to think about our lives, and take time to look at an artwork and reflect on what the artist was trying to communicate to us, it can get pretty melancholic. Joy can also be found in these deep places, but it does seem a rather elusive truth.
I think we need to be able to embrace both the melancholic truths and the joyful ones, and not be afraid to be introspective and allow art to speak to us. Otherwise if that's not your vibe, I hear they're making Transformers 4.