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Understanding film, television and radio comedy
Authors: John Mundy and Glyn White

This book is a wide-ranging introductory academic book for students and teachers interested in studying comedy on film, television and radio (and for anyone else with an analytic interest in these media). It discusses key issues around comedy through analysis of significant and revealing comedy texts from these media. The first part of the book looks at how comedy works. In order to do this, it considers the nature of comedy as manifested in specific media forms, from the exploitation of the non-visual in radio to the familiar, domesticated settings suited to television's small screen. It examines the historical, industrial and cultural contexts in which British and American comedy in film, radio and television developed (in that order). The book also 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. Studies of low British comedy and American gross-out comedy underpin work on specific examples which directly challenge standards of taste and cultural taboos. Whatever the nature and effect of racial and ethnic humour, it is clear that there have been some significant shifts in the ways in which radio, television and film comedy have presented or inflected it over time. The book deals with broad case studies of British and American culture.

Humour and narrative control on stage with Ayşe Şahin
Annedith Schneider

humour either causes the opponent’s downfall or confirms it. This is perhaps one of the oldest theories of humour and the basis on which many philosophers, beginning with Plato, condemned humour and laughter as being the tools of the weak and the malicious. This was due in part to viewing laughter and humour as one and the same thing and failing to acknowledge that not all laughter has to be directed at another person. Still, this undoubtedly continues to be a major aspect of humour today, especially in racial and ethnic humour, as I will detail further below. Finally

in Turkish immigration, art and narratives of home in France
John Mundy and Glyn White

condemn all racial and ethnic humour as malignant is, according to commentators such as Davies 1990 ) and Berger ( 1993 ), to misunderstand the ways in which comedy works and suggest that there can be a healing, restorative function of racial and ethnic humour. Their approach has its origins in Freud’s theories which suggest that many jokes are motivated by hostile aggression, which is otherwise socially

in Laughing matters
Abstract only
John Mundy and Glyn White

that was to carry over into his radio shows. Though rejecting the rather crude ‘ethnic humour’ common in vaudeville, especially amongst Jewish performers, Benny told jokes that centred on stinginess. He was not above telling ‘cheap Scotsmen’ jokes that were fashionable during the 1920s, such as the one that asked ‘what is the difference between a Scotsman and a coconut?’, the answer being that ‘you can

in Laughing matters
Nigel Mather

comedy can have tangible consequences, particularly for the unlucky victims and targets of a comic’s stand-up routine. In his monograph, On Humour , Simon Critchley suggests that ‘Ethnic humour is very much the Hobbesian laughter of superiority or sudden glory at our eminence and the other’s stupidity’, 59 and admits that ‘Perhaps one laughs at jokes one would rather not laugh at … As such the very relativity of humour might

in Tears of laughter
‘He’s putting me in such a doldrum’
Katie Barclay

Evening Post (3 June 1840) Cork. 39 See a number of examples in: K. Barclay, ‘Singing and lower-class masculinity in the  Dublin Magistrate’s Court, 1800–1845’, Journal of Social History, 47:3 (2014), ­746–68. 40 ‘Dublin Police’, Belfast Newsletter (26 December 1828) Dublin. 41 ‘Dublin Police’, Freeman’s Journal (30 April 1842) Dublin. 42 ‘Athy Petty Session’, Dublin Morning Register (26 June 1830) Kildare. 43 S. Critchley, On Humour (London: Routledge, 2002); J. Boskin and J. Dorinson, ‘Ethnic humour: Subversion and survival’, American Quarterly, 37

in Men on trial
From bad taste to gross-out
John Mundy and Glyn White

next chapter, these debates rage most fiercely around racial and ethnic humour. Generally though, it is clear that humour and comedy are not necessarily transferable, even across cultures which share much in common. Although US-produced films and, to a lesser extent, television comedy, occupy considerable British screen-time, not all US television comedies succeed in the UK (see Chapter 5 ). Conversely, despite their success in

in Laughing matters