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  • 1 Columbia University
Becoming Joe Doakes
Averageness, Populism and Seriality in Robert Benchley‘s How to Short Subjects
in Film Studies
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Over the course of the 1930s, the comic persona of Algonquin humorist Robert Benchley changed from that of a sophisticated humorist to an average man. This article situates Benchley‘s How to short subjects for MGM (1935–44) within a broader public preoccupation with averageness that characterised the populist political rhetoric of New Deal-era America. In particular, it explores the function of seriality as a discursive trope conjoining the format of Benchley‘s MGM shorts to the broader construction of average identities in the eras political culture.

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