Comedy and genre boundaries
in Laughing matters
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This chapter attempts to examine how genre and generic hybrids have been mobilised and appropriated for comic effect across the decades in radio, film and television. It examines some examples including comedy westerns, the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road series. The chapter also examines the more recent tendency, both in film and on television, to engage with genres associated with 'realism' such as news, current affairs and documentary in order to produce comedy. Comedic parodies of the documentary genre, often called 'mockumentaries', are now an established format in film and television comedy in which documentary techniques are imitated for comic effect. One of the most popular and successful mock-rockumentaries has been This Is Spinal Tap. It was Rob Reiner's spoof which purported to chart the comeback of 'England's loudest heavy metal rock group' Spinal Tap as they tour America to promote their album Smell the Glove.

Laughing matters

Understanding film, television and radio comedy

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