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Political Comedy as Fuel for Populist Rhetoric?

Representations of Politicians and Institutions in the German TV Shows “Eichwald MdB” and “Ellerbeck”

Niko Switek

political parties? Does political comedy fertilize the soil for populist attacks on the political establishment? While the ability to poke fun at rulers without the fear of repercussions is often understood as a hallmark of open and free societies, there

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When Paris was “à l'heure chinoise” or Georges Pompidou in China and Jean Yanne's (1974) Les Chinois à Paris

Catherine E. Clark

Chinese embassy in France. 1 The cause of the increased demand, Barthes wrote, was Jean Yanne's 1974 Les Chinois à Paris . The director's latest blockbuster comedy had used hundreds of extras and extravagant sets that transformed iconic sites to produce

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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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Shakespeare's Fools

A Piece in a Peacebuilding Mosaic

Maja Milatovic-Ovadia

young people strung across the Omarska community theatre space. Lengthy applause. Forty young people storm the stage and bow. This was the end of a four-month-long theatre project entitled Shakespeare's Comedies – A Midsummer Night's Dream (2013), run

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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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The Question of Age in the Construction of Hellenistic Masculinities in Menander

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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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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Are Teenage Girls Funny? Laughter, Humor and Young Women's Performance of Gender and Sexual Agency

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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The Segmenting Spectator: Documentary Structure and The Aristocrats

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.

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The invention of gender in stand‐up comedy

Transgression and digression

Marianna Keisalo

This paper explores gender in stand‐up comedy based on 20 months of ethnographic research in Finland and recent media discussion involving the booking of performers for a national comedy tour. As the vast majority of stand‐up comedians are men, discussions of gender tend to focus on the anomalousness of female comedians. These debates often rely on essentialist views of women and stand‐up comedy, presenting female comedians as transgressive due to the perceived incompatibilities of women and comedy. However, the situation in the clubs and performances is more complex. I chart this territory by looking at gender in relation to ‘invention’ and ‘convention’ in stand‐up comedy performance. I explore how some of the conventional, established and expected aspects of stand‐up, such as the public use of power and threat of failure, are related to ideas of gender. I then go on to show how comedy enables invention, new and/or unique ideas and forms. This allows comedians to approach and enact gender in more digressive ways: taking indirect, experimental paths and imaginatively shifting between perspectives and positions to subvert and question roles and patterns. As stand‐up becomes more diverse, discussing gender requires a more nuanced approach going beyond a simple binary.