By Stephen Wagg
Simply because I inform a shaggy dog story or explores the advanced courting among comedy and the social alterations of sophistication, zone, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationhood. It exhibits how comedy has been used to maintain, problem and to alter energy relationships in society. The participants, who contain Stephen Wagg, Mark Simpson, Stephen Small, Paul Wells and Frances Williams, supply readings of comedy genres, texts and performers in Britain, the USA and Australia. the gathering additionally contains an interview with the comic Jo model. themes addressed comprise: * girls in British comedies equivalent to Butterflies and Fawlty Towers * the existence and occasions of Viz, from Billy the Fish to the fats Slags * queer readings of Morecambe and clever, the male double act * the Marx brothers and Jewish comedy within the usa * black radical comedy in Britain * The Golden ladies, Cheers, neighbors and American society.
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Additional info for Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference
So, once again, the ‘good neighbourly fowk’ invoked to Wilfred Pickles in a church hall somewhere in the United Kingdom in the 1950s have preserved their integrity in British television sitcom to the present day. They have simply been diversified, to take account of social history, a good case in point being Desmond’s (Channel Four, 1989–94), also set in Peckham, with a cast of Anglo-Caribbean characters. One, Michael, is an Anglicised thirty something, successful (a bank manager) and prone to self-regard; he uses phrases like ‘gotta get out there and play hardball’ and, in one episode he joins a club for black achievers.
It ’ad a couple of prongs on it as long as this stick! He thrusts his hiking stick out at an angle from his groin in a deliberately phallic gesture. LEE But it were a damn sight sharper than this ’un I can tell yer’. So the shaman transforms his stick to a penis, a real magic wand. Aye, it come tuppin’ away at me… ‘Tupping’ is old English for copulation, still in use in rural communities. Things have become even more dangerous. Randle is in danger of being buggered by a bull! The original phallic obscenity is now extended into bestiality.
In these complex times, no commentator on culture would advocate one straightforward political 30 STEPHEN WAGG reading of a single of these series, let alone the British sitcom as a body of work. To some the comparative contentment and lack of ambition of the Trotters or the cheerful work-shyness of Shelley, the fulminations of Victor Meldrew or the self-centredness of Edina and Patsy, will seem retrograde; to others, they will represent, in their separate ways, the authentic culture of an increasingly open society.
Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference by Stephen Wagg