July 31, 2023


Militant humourlessnessA pseudo-history of British comedy leaves one depressed (Tim Dawson, 7/31/23, The Critic)

Part of the problem is that a genuine exploration (and celebration) of post-war British comedy would cause Stubbs' central premise -- that British culture was a wasteland of racism, homophobia and misogyny, "blighted with offensive caricatures" -- to fall apart.

Over 2,200 television sitcoms have been made in this country. In that context, Love Thy Neighbour, Curry and Chips and a few other obnoxious efforts are exceptions -- regrettable exceptions, but exceptions nonetheless. Take a random episode of a random sitcom produced in Britain since 1946 (Stubbs' assertion that Britain's "first television comedy" transmitted in 1949 is incorrect), and you'd be unlucky to find anything offensive.

Clinging to its muddled premise, the book lurches bittily and bitterly through page after page of sub-Wikipedia commentary.

Much of it is more interested in the Conservative Party than comedy. Stubbs notes in a slightly sinister "Your name vill also go on ze list!" manner whether a writer or performer held Conservative sympathies, issuing moral judgments accordingly, then moving onto his next target.

Stubbs admits that growing up he didn't understand much of the comedy he watched, and this lack of comprehension seems to have extended into adulthood.

Posted by at July 31, 2023 12:00 AM