Introduction
in Laughing matters
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the historical, industrial and cultural contexts in which British and American comedy in film, radio and television developed. It discusses silent comedy, including the classical comedian comedies of Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. The chapter addresses comedy in broadcast media and focuses on the industrial context and practices that flow from and reflect national attitudes to these media. It also discusses the disrespect with which comedy treats generic boundaries, looking in particular at musical comedies and mockumentaries. The book deals with gender, sexuality and comedy, ranging from the depictions of femininity and masculinity in romantic comedy film to the representations offered of gay and lesbian characters across our chosen media. It evaluates various examples of screen and radio comedy which have picked their way through the cultural minefields.

Laughing matters

Understanding film, television and radio comedy

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