Description : This work examines the unique and ever-changing relationship between politics and comedy through an analysis of several popular American television programs. Focusing on close readings of the work of Ernie Kovacs, Soupy Sales, and Andy Kaufman, as well as Green Acres and The Gong Show, the author provides a unique glimpse at the often subversive nature of avant-garde television comedy. The crisis in American television during the political unrest of the late 1960s is also studied, as represented by individual analyses of The Monkees, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and All in the Family. The author also focuses on more contemporary American television, drawing a comparative analysis between the referential postmodernism of The Simpsons and the confrontational absurdity of South Park.
Description : This work examines what happens when comedy becomes political, and politics become funny. A series of original essays focus on a range of programmes, from 'The Daily Show' to 'South Park'.
Description : This political analysis of teen culture examines the historical and ideological development of American youth society, the economic and ideological relationship between television and popular music, and the ideological rivalry between Nickelodeon and Disney. More than mere entertainment, teen sitcoms and pop music portray a complex and often contradictory set of cultural discourses. They engage in a process of ideology marketing and “hip versus square” politics. Case studies include Saved by the Bell, Britney Spears, the movie School of Rock, early “pop music sitcoms” like The Monkees and The Partridge Family, and recent staples of teen culture such as iCarly and Hannah Montana. What is occurring in teen culture has a crucial bearing as today’s teens age into adulthood and become the dominant generation in the impending decades.
Description : Can comedy on television harbour elements of gender transgression or subversion? If a man is permitted to be 'funny peculiar' – playing the underdog or misfit – does a woman seem stranger in his place? Mapping examples from British and American comedy television over the past 60 years, from I Love Lucy to The Big Bang Theory and Smack the Pony to Waiting For God, this book asks: are particular forms of television comedy gendered in specific ways? Paying attention to series which have not been addressed in academic work, as well as more established shows, White offers fresh insights for the fields of television studies, gender and women's studies, cultural history and comedy.
Description : Thought-provoking and “undeniably interesting” essays on this cultural institution of comedy and what it says about our society (Booklist). Since 1975, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” has greeted late night–TV viewers looking for the best in sketch comedy and popular music. SNL is the variety show that launched the careers of countless comedians, including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Adam Sandler. Week after week, SNL has produced everything from unforgettable parodies to provocative political satire—adapting to changing times decade after decade while staying true to its original vision of performing timely topical humor. With essays that address issues ranging from race and gender to authorship and comedic performance, Saturday Night Live and American TV follows the history of this iconic show, and its place in the shifting social and media landscape of American television.
Description : “Black Television Travels provides a detailed and insightful view of the roots and routes of the televisual representations of blackness on the transnational media landscape. By following the circulation of black cultural products and their institutionalized discourses—including industry lore, taste cultures, and the multiple stories of black experiences that have and have not made it onto the small screen—Havens complicates discussions of racial representation and exposes possibilities for more expansive representations of blackness while recognizing the limitations of the seemingly liberatory spaces created by globalization.” —Bambi Haggins, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Arizona State University “A major achievement that makes important contributions to the analysis of race, identity, global media, nation, and television production cultures. Discussions of race and television are too often constricted within national boundaries, yet this fantastic book offers a strong, compelling, and utterly refreshing corrective. Read it, assign it, use it.” —Jonathan Gray, author of Television Entertainment, Television Studies, and Show Sold Separately Black Television Travels explores the globalization of African American television and the way in which foreign markets, programming strategies, and viewer preferences have influenced portrayals of African Americans on the small screen. Television executives have been notoriously slow to recognize the potential popularity of black characters and themes, both at home and abroad. As American television brokers increasingly seek revenues abroad, their assumptions about saleability and audience perceptions directly influence the global circulation of these programs, as well as their content. Black Television Travels aims to reclaim the history of African American television circulation in an effort to correct and counteract this predominant industry lore. Based on interviews with television executives and programmers from around the world, as well as producers in the United States, Havens traces the shift from an era when national television networks often blocked African American television from traveling abroad to the transnational, post-network era of today. While globalization has helped to expand diversity in African American television, particularly in regard to genre, it has also resulted in restrictions, such as in the limited portrayal of African American women in favor of attracting young male demographics across racial and national boundaries. Havens underscores the importance of examining boardroom politics as part of racial discourse in the late modern era, when transnational cultural industries like television are the primary sources for dominant representations of blackness.
Description : Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, Maude—the television sitcom world of the 1970s was peopled by the creations of Norman Lear. Beginning in 1971 with the premier of All in the Family, Lear’s work gave sitcoms a new face and a new style. No longer were families perfect and lives in order. Mostly blue-collar workers and their families, Lear’s characters argued, struggled, uttered sometimes shocking opinions and had no problem contributing to—or at least, acknowledging—the turmoil so shunned by 1960s television. Significantly, not only did Lear address difficult issues, but he did so through successful programming. Week after week, Americans tuned in to see the family adventures of the Bunkers, the Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son. With a thorough analysis of his sitcoms, this volume explores Norman Lear’s memorable production career during the 1970s. It emphasizes how Lear’s shows reflected the political and cultural milieu, and how they addressed societal issues including racism, child abuse and gun control. The casting, production and behind-the-screen difficulties of All in the Family, Sanford & Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time are discussed. Each show is examined from inception through series finale. Interviews with some of the actors and actresses such as Rue McClanahan of Maude and Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons are included.
Description : The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy examines how contemporary writer/performers are influenced by the comedic vaudevillians of the early 20th century. By tracing the history and legacy of the vaudeville era and performance acts, like the Marx Brothers and The Three Keatons, and moving through the silent and early sound films of the early 1930s, the author looks at how comic writer/performers continue to sell a brand of themselves as a form of social commentary in order to confront and dispel stereotypes of race, class, and gender. The first study to explore contemporary popular comic culture and its influence on American society from this unique perspective, Rick DesRochers analyzes stand-up and improvisational comedy writing/performing in the work of Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle. He grounds these choices by examining their evolution as they developed signature characters and sketches for their respective shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and Chappelle's Show.
Description : This essay collection is dedicated to intersections between gender theories and theories of laughter, humour, and comedy. It is based on the results of a three-year research programme, entitled “Gender – Laughter – Media” (2003-2006) and includes a series of investigations on traditional and modern media in western cultures from the 18th to the 20th century. A theoretical opening part is followed by four thematic sections that explore the multiple forms of irritating stereotypical gender perceptions; aspects of (post-)colonialism and multiculturalism; the comic impact of literary and media genres in different national cultures; as well as the different comic strategies in fictional, philosophical, artistic or real life communication. The volume presents a variety of new approaches to the overlaps between gender and laughter that have only barely been considered in groundbreaking research. It forms a valuable read for scholars of literary, theatre, media, and cultural studies, at the same time reaching out to a general readership.