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Videos from past Centre for Comedy Studies Research events.


Beyond a Joke 2016-17: Comedy, Class and Offence Seminar Series



‘Beyond a Joke’ 2016-17: Comedy, Class and Offence
• What are the roles of comedians and comic discourses in shaping discussions of class and offence in contemporary society? 

• How do our identities shape responses to comedy that draws on social class?

• What are the range of responses to comedy that draws on social class? What is the relationship between comedy, offensiveness and the maintenance, disruption and deconstruction of ‘social cohesion’ in contemporary plural democracies? 
• To what extent are there, or should there be, ethical limits for comedians and comic discourses in relation to class? 
These questions, and more, are explored by a panel of experts in this Comedy, Class and Offence panel seminar. Speakers were: Mark Boosey: has been running British Comedy Guide for over 10 years. Comedy.co.uk delivers news, features, programme guides, and more besides to over 500,000 visitors a month. 
BCG compiles guides to the 800+ hours of new comedy broadcast on TV and radio each year, as well as covering films, online comedy and the live comedy circuit. Leon Hunt: is a Senior Lecturer in Film and TV Studies at Brunel University London. His publications on British comedy include the books British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation, a BFI monograph on The League of Gentlemen and Cult British TV Comedy: From Reeves and Mortimer to Psychoville. Giselinde Kuipers: is Professor of Cultural Sociology and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. 
She is the author of Good Humor, Bad Taste: A Sociology of the Joke as well as numerous articles on humour, media, cultural globalization, transnational culture and beauty. James Meehan: is a multi award-winning comedian who has just returned from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe where his debut solo hour, Class Act, a stand-up comedy show on classism in the arts garnered critical praise. Chaired by John Roberts: Head of Department of Social Sciences, Media and Communications and Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communications, Brunel University London.


Comedy and Care: The funny side of Social Work - 21st March 2017



To mark World Social Work Day the Division of Social Work at Brunel University London and the Centre for Comedy Studies Research presented Comedy and Care: The Funny Side of Social Work on 21 March 2017.

A panel of experts and practitioners explored media portrayals of social work, the role of comedy in shaping discussions of social work, and much more.


A Symposium on Italian Comedy Audiences - 19th January 2015



In this presentation Professor Delia Chiaro (University of Bologna) explores whether or not humour is culture specific and whether British people have a better sense of humour than anybody else. Professor Chiaro reports on a study that used examples of verbally expressed humour (VEH) from a number of ‘Made in Britain’ blockbusters to explore how Italian audiences perceive VEH when it is translated and how far translation might have an impact on individual humour responses. Spoiler Alert? Manipulating Comedy and TV Titles for Italian Audiences 

Dr Chiara Bucaria (University of Bologna at Forlì) discusses the importance of translated film and TV comedy titles as conveyors of cultural trends in the target language. In particular she looks at the strategies used in the adaptation of English titles for the Italian audience, which seem to suggest a conscious attempt by distributors at making Italian titles more explicit and genre-specific, often by disclosing significant elements of the plot of the film or TV show.

Humour is not Language-based: Political 



In this seminar Professor Otto Santa Ana (University of California Los Angeles, USA) discusses his model of laughter and humour that sees both as based in rhetoric, not language. One of the aims of the model is to analyse political humour, from examples such as the 2005 Danish Prophet Muhammed cartoons to Jay Leno’s anti-immigrant jokes. Otto argues that the rhetorical contrivances that we use in humour today have their source in a few cognitive processes that made animal play possible. He claims hominoids have always built social interaction using these cognitive processes. This model is a description of the actual execution of social power in communication. The model appeals to an undertaking of empirical and simulation studies of political humour.

Putting the 'Mock' into Democracy - 18th November 2015 (Parliament Week event)



What role does comedy play in framing election processes, campaigns, parties and politicians? Can political comedy encourage democratic dis/engagement? How far does political comedy influence party campaign strategies? What is the relationship between comedy and the maintenance, disruption or deconstruction of public trust in democratic societies? These questions, and more, are explored by a panel of experts in this Comedy and Politics: Putting the ‘Mock’ into Democracy panel seminar as part of Parliament Week 2016.

Speakers are:

  • Professor Jane Arthurs - expert in television studies, celebrity and gender and convenor of the Social Media Research Group at Middlesex University.
  • Dr Oliver Double - expert in stand-up comedy, variety theatre and popular performance, Deputy Head of the School of Arts the University of Kent and a stand-up comedian.
  • Professor Justin Fisher – expert in British and comparative politics, Director of the Magna Carta Institute, Professor of Political Science and Head of Politics, History and the Brunel Law School Department.
  • Dr Rebecca Higgie - CCSR postdoctoral researcher examining whether politicians gain cultural currency by ‘playing’ with comedians, showing a sense of humour or satirising themselves.
  • Bruce Dessau – comedy reviewer, author and editor of the Beyond The Joke website.

Disability and Comedy is Easy: Becoming an Abnormally Funny Person - 29th April 2015 by Simon Minty



In this Comedy, Health and Disability seminar Simon Minty discusses his work and experiences as a disability activist and comedy producer. He entertainingly discusses the creation of the comedy troupe, Abnormally Funny People, and examines the relationship between disability and comedy today. 

Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Comedy Matters Research Seminar Series 2014/15: Comedy, Health and Disability



Laughter Beyond the Bell Curve: The Last Leg and Trollied – 4th March 2015 by Margaret Montgomerie

Dr Simon Weaver introduces this Comedy, Health and Disability Seminar that is presented by Margaret Montgomerie (De Montfort University, UK).

Margaret investigates the ways in which disabled comedians function within popular television shows, focusing in particular on Channel 4’s The Last Leg and Sky 1’s Trollied. Margaret explores a range of questions including: do the formats of the programmes, the comedy chat show and the sitcom, automatically suspend normalcy for the purposes of entertainment, creating a temporary space where values and assumptions are turned upside down? And do these programmes have any relationship to the material produced by disabled comedians outside of the mainstream media? 

Feeling Funny, Being Human: Comedy Festival, Brunel University London



A short promotional film produced for Brunel's Centre for Comedy Studies Research. Filmed as part of 'Sisters Productions' 21 November 2014 Brunel University London.

A short promotional film produced for Brunel's Centre for Comedy Studies Research. Filmed as part of 'Sisters Productions'

Feeling Funny, Being Human: What can humour tell us about being human?



21 November 2014 Brunel University, London

Festival: 15 —23 November 2014


Led by School of Advanced Study, University of London - in partnership with Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy.

Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Comedy Mental Health Symposium at Brunel University (BSL)



Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Comedy Matters Research Seminar Series 2014/15: Comedy, Health and Disability



Comedy and Mental Health Symposium – 8th October 2014

This symposium explored comedy and its relationship to mental health, with speakers discussing the psychology of the stand-up comedian, the use of stand-up comedy in reducing mental health stigma in the military and uses of comedy with mental health service users. Speakers included:

  • ‌Professor Gordon Claridge (University of Oxford)
  • ‌Tim Sayers (Arts in Health co-ordinator at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT)
  • ‌John Ryan (stand-up comedian and comedy researcher)

CCSR 'Comedy Matters' Research Seminar Series 2013-14 - Dr Jessica Milner Davies



Society and Satire: Contemporary Case-Studies from Three Cultures, Australia, Japan and China - 11 June 2014

In this seminar that is introduced by Dr Sharon Lockyer (CCSR Director), Dr Jessica Milner Davis (Honorary Associate, University of Sydney) examines three case studies from Australia, Japan and China to explore the cultural rules that seem to govern what, where, when, how and with whom humour can properly (and improperly) be used in contemporary societies.

CCSR 'Comedy Matters' Research Seminar Series 2013-14 - Professors Attardo & Pickering



Toward a Model of the Negotiation of Humorous Intention -- 11th June 2014.

In this seminar, introduced by Dr Sharon Lockyer (CCSR Director), Professor Salvatore Attardo and Associate Professor Lucy Pickering (Texas A&M University-Commerce, Applied Linguistics Laboratory) present their current empirical research on the prosody and kinesics of humour communication. 

CCSR 'Comedy Matters' Research Seminar Series 2013-14 - Dr May McCreaddie



Humour Use in Healthcare Interactions: A Risk Worth Taking - 15th January 2014 by May McCreaddie

In this video Dr May McCreaddie (University of Stirling) examines the role humour in health care settings through analysis of spontaneous humour in nurse-patient interactions and among nurse-peer and patient-peer groups. The opportunities, limitations and impact of using potentially ‘problematic’ and ‘non-problematic’ humour in patient care are also explored.

CCSR 'Comedy Matters' Research Seminar Series 2013-14 - Dr Louise Peacock



Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Comedy Matters Research Seminar Series 2013-14. Sending Laughter Around the World - 27th November 2013 

In this seminar Dr Louise Peacock (University of Hull) examines the therapeutic nature of clowning, play and laughter on those who experience clown performances in difficult and potentially dangerous settings.