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Perspectives of (and on) a Comedic Self

A Semiotics of Subjectivity in Stand-up Comedy

Marianna Keisalo

I was sitting in a bar in Helsinki after a comedy night chatting with well-established Finnish stand-up comedian Robert Pettersson, when he suggested that the key to comedy is “the relation of the performed material to the come-dian’s stage persona

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What Was So Funny about Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973)

A Comedic Film between History and Memory

Michael Mulvey

” because it is “part of the patrimony of French families.” 2 The comedy has entered the Pantheon of French popular culture as a symbolic text that returns viewers to a less politically correct and more self-congratulatory past. Far from being “only a movie

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Dirk Eitzen

There is a striking divide, in the literature on comedy, between approaches that stress the social functions of humor, including social control and alleviation of social stresses, and approaches that focus on the psychological mechanisms of humor, including incongruity and arousal. These two kinds of approach have proven quite resistant to integration, because they are rooted in fundamentally different understandings of the pleasure of humor. Put simply, the pleasure of the put-down is hard to square with the pleasure of the pun. This article examines new scientific research on humor, including recent brain imaging studies, to see if there is any evidence for an empirical divide. The conclusion, in practical analytical terms, is that when, near the start of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun fails to notice that he is surrounded by zombies, our perception of the inappropriateness of the character's actions and our perception of the playfulness of the depiction are both necessarily involved in our perception of the scene's funniness.

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Ronald de Rooy

A Living Classic Over the course of seven centuries, Dante’s Divine Comedy has amply demonstrated enormous flexibility in adapting itself to every possible literary and cultural trend, thus giving rise to an impressive afterlife with many

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Transition, Crisis and Nostalgia

Youth Masculinity and Postfeminism in Contemporary Hollywood, an Analysis of Superbad

Victoria Cann and Erica Horton

This article explores the representation of youth masculinity in contemporary Hollywood comedy. By focusing on the intersection of gender and generation, it emphasizes the importance of relationality in a consideration of representations of boyhood. Using Superbad as a case study, this article reveals the nuanced ways in which the crisis of masculinity is represented in popular culture in a postfeminist context. Foregrounding issues of homosociality in coming-of-age narratives, it emphasizes the tensions between generational expectations and performances of gender. Themes of loss and nostalgia are explored through analysis of the juxtaposition of adult and adolescent male characters in Superbad, providing insight into and understanding of the complexities of boyhood. Superbad is contextualized in relation to teen comedy more broadly, highlighting the important cultural space that contemporary Hollywood comedies play in (re)constructing discourses of masculinity.

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Henrik Berg

The present article discusses the importance of age in the construction of masculinities during the Hellenistic period. Focusing on the comedies of Menander, it aims to show how not only chronological or physical age, but also mental age, that is, maturity, modifies different concepts of masculinity, especially “ideal masculinity.” Other important factors in the construction of gender such as social and economic standing, class and education are also discussed. The relationship between fathers and sons is of particular interest and importance as it exemplifies how the masculinities represented in Menander were dynamic, not only developing but also changing between groups of different age and social importance.

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Catherine E. Clark

This article looks at two seemingly disparate events: Georges Pompidou’s 1973 presidential visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the filming and release of Jean Yanne’s blockbuster comedy Les Chinois à Paris (1974). Both produced flawed visions of Franco-Chinese relations. During Pompidou’s visit, officials and the press attempted to demonstrate that France enjoyed warmer relations with the PRC than any other Western nation. Yanne’s film parodied the French fad for Maoism by imagining the People’s Liberation Army invading and occupying Paris. His film caused an uproar in the press and sparked official Chinese protest. The article ultimately argues that the two events were deeply related, part of a wave of popular and official interest in China in the early 1970s that extended well beyond the well-known stories of student and intellectual Maoists. This interest paved the way for Franco-Chinese relations as we know them today.

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Fiona Cullen

Much previous scholarly work has noted the gendered nature of humor and the notion that women use comedy in a different way than do their male peers. Drawing on prior work on gender and humor, and my ethnographic work on teen girl cultures, I explore in this article how young women utilize popular cultural texts as well as everyday and staged comedy as part of a gendered resource that provides potential sites for sex-gender transgression and conformity. Through a series of vignettes, I explore how girls do funny and provide a backdrop to perform youthful gendered identities, as well as establish, maintain, and transgress cultural and social boundaries. Moving on to explore young women and stand-up I question the potential in mobilizing humor as an educational resource and a site in which to explore sex-gender norms with young people.

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Shakespeare's Fools

A Piece in a Peacebuilding Mosaic

Maja Milatovic-Ovadia

In November 2017, Ratko Mladic, a war-time leader and a commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, was sentenced by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal to life imprisonment for the genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992–1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the region the verdict was received with conflicting reactions, emphasising yet again how extensive the ethnic division is within the society. Through close analysis of the theatre project Shakespeare’s Comedies performed by ethnically segregated youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this article aims to understand how Shakespeare’s work functions as a vehicle to address the consequences of war and to support the complex process of reconciliation under circumstances in which the issues of war crimes cannot be tackled in a straightforward and direct manner. The study takes a cross-disciplinary approach to research, drawing from theory of reconciliation, applied theatre practice and comedy studies.

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Greg M. Smith

This article argues that an emphasis on how spectators piece together documentary structure is more useful than nonfiction film theory's focus on epistemology and categorization. By examining individual texts such as The Aristocrats, critics can develop a set of devices that provide a better explanation of documentary comprehension at the local level. As an example, this article shows how a spectatorial position as an insider in the comedy world and the device of the "conversational turn" help us both segment the documentary flow and unify it.