‘Yes, it’s war!’
Chris Morris and comedy’s representational strategies
in Experimental British television
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The experimentalism in Chris Morris's work is only meaningful because it reacts against, and plays around with, the generic expectations of comedy aesthetics. The aesthetics of comedy have provided producers and performers with the means to demonstrate the comic intent of their programming. Comedy and entertainment drew many of its stars from vaudeville and music hall, as the new medium attempted to capitalise on the public awareness of entertainers who had spent many years honing their craft in front of live audiences. Morris, though, parodies factual programming for political and social purposes in addition to comic intentions. In terms of aesthetics this is also experimental for an audience who were given few cues as to how to read and react to this stuff. Indeed, the two most popular comedies of the twenty-first century on British television are My Family and Little Britain, which display their conventionality explicitly.

Editor: Laura Mulvey

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