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Jokes, racism and Black and Asian voices in British comedy television
Gavin Schaffer

This chapter explores some of the history that led to the belated breakthrough of Black and Asian British comedy, looking at the production of jokes about race and colour, and questioning what these jokes tell us about British multiculturalism. It questions the ways in which jokes about Black and Asian minorities functioned in a period of overwhelming white control. The chapter looks at one early attempt to give voice to Black British comedy, the production of London Weekend Television's (LWT) family comedy, The Fosters, in 1976-1977. By focusing on employment rather than the racial conflict, The Fosters attempted to speak to the primary challenges of the Black community as seen from within. The series also focuses on cross-generational conflict and, in particular, disagreements between first and second generation Black Britons, a theme which went on to dominate much Black and Asian-written television and theatre in Britain.

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