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Key past events


View more past event below:

CCSR Official Launch - 9th October 2013

The launch attracted a wide range of people including Brunel colleagues, international Comedy Studies academics, students, comedians, comedy promoters, comedy directors, comedy critics, comedy bloggers and comedy fans. The launch included a dynamic mix of research papers, an industry panel, a book launch, a wine reception and a comedy performance. The diverse, interesting and entertaining launch was a fitting inauguration to the CCSR.

Sending Laughter Around the World - 27th November 2013

Dr Louise Peacock(University of Hull) gave a seminar entitled ‘Sending Laughter Around the World’. This talk examined the therapeutic nature of clowning, play and laughter on those who experience clown performances in difficult and potentially dangerous settings.

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

Dr May McCreaddie (University of Stirling) gave a seminar which examined 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 were explored.

Comedy and Music – RANT Night – 9th April 2014

In association with the Brunel Institute of Composing and Club Inégales, the CCSR ran a comedy and music RANT Night at Club Inégales in Euston, London.

The RANT night, chaired by Peter Weigold, explored the themes of wit, humour and timing in both comedy and music. It featured Ria Lina, a ‘musical comic with a brilliant line in bawdy songs…’ (Evening Standard), composer Errollyn Wallen, described by The Observer as the 'renaissance woman of contemporary British music' with a vast number of accolades to her name, including an MBE for her contribution to music, distinguished composer and pianist, Professor Martin Butler and CCSR Director Dr Sharon Lockyer.

Comedy and Music – Club Night – 10th April 2014

With Club Inégales, the CCSR ran a comedy and music Club Night in Euston, London. Musical comedian Ria Lina performed with Notes Inégales (Club Inégales’ resident club band directed by Peter Wiegold and including some of the UK’s leading contemporary music players). The audience was entertained by an interesting and amusing combination of pre-determined and improvised comedy and music.

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

Dr Jessica Milner Davis (Honorary Associate, University of Sydney) gave a seminar presentation the used 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.

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

Professor Salvatore Attardo and Associate Professor Lucy Pickering (Texas A&M University-Commerce, Applied Linguistics Laboratory) presented their current empirical research on the prosody and kinesics of humour communication.

Live at Brunel on the River Thames – 17th July 2014

Following the success of the first round of seminars, we celebrated with a night of live comedy. Live at Brunel on the River Thames was compered by Jo Brand and included performances by Robin Ince, Marc Lucero, Joy Carter, Steve Best, La Voix and Broderick Chow. This fun-packed evening took place at the esteemed comedy venue, Tattershall Castle boat on Victoria Embankment, and was a sell-out. 

Beyond a Joke? Comedy, Culture and the Public discussion series at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (in collaboration with Big Difference Production) – 13th-17th August 2014

The CCSR and Big Difference Productions went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to hold a series of exciting talks by leading Comedy Studies researchers. The talks focused on the big and controversial issues in the comedy industry, including comedy and free speech, the dynamics of comedy taste, the relationship between comedy and disability, Tory anarchism and dark comedy. Speakers included Dr John Roberts (Brunel University London), Dr Sam Friedman (London School of Economics and Political Science), Dr Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University London), Laurence Clark (Comedian), Dr Peter Wilkin (Brunel University London) and Dr Leon Hunt (Brunel University London)

Comedy and Mental Health Symposium – 8th October 2014

The Comedy and Mental Health Symposium was part of the Comedy, Health and Disability Seminar Series 2014-15. 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 at this well-attended symposium included Professor Gordon Claridge (University of Oxford), Tim Sayers (Arts in Health co-ordinator at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT)) and John Ryan (stand-up comedian and comedy researcher).  

Feeling Funny, Being Human: What Can Humour Tell Us About Being Human – 21st November 2014

What does humour tell us about being human? Are we born with humour or is it something we learn? Do animals even have a sense of humour? Can a computer create a joke? These questions, and others, were answered during the Feeling Funny, Being Human event that was part of Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities, the first national festival of the Humanities. Taking place in the Antonin Artaud Theatre at Brunel University London, Feeling Funny, Being Human included a lively panel discussion exploring the unique relationship between humour and being human. Panellists were Professor Merideth Gattis (Cardiff University), Max Kinnings (Brunel University London); Lynne Parker (Executive Producer, Funny Women – UK’s Leading Female Comedy Community); Dr Brett Mills (University of East Anglia) and Dr Graeme Ritchie (University of Aberdeen).

Audiences also developed jokes electronically on the special Joking Computer and there was an improv comedy performance performed by the critically acclaimed Funny Women Players on the topic of Feeling Funny, Being Human.  

If you missed the event, see what audiences said about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=50pjIZ1HpTQ 

Feeling Funny, Being Human was one of many events bringing cutting-edge research in the humanities to a broader audience during the Being Human festival. The festival is funded and led by the School of Advanced Study, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy.  For more information please see beinghumanfestival.org.

A Symposium on Italian Comedy Audiences – 19th January 2015

Italian Audiences and Cool Britannia

Professor Delia Chiaro (University of Bologna) explored the whether or not humour is culture specific and whether British people have a better sense of humour than anybody else. Professor Chiaro reported 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) discussed the importance of translated film and TV comedy titles as conveyors of cultural trends in the target language. In particular she looked 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.

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

In the second seminar of the Comedy, Health and Disability Seminar Series 2014-15 Margaret Montgomerie (De Montfort University) investigated the ways in which disabled comedians function within popular television shows, focussing in particular on Channel 4’s The Last Leg and Sky 1’s Trollied.  Margaret explored the questions: 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?

A Symposium on the Comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen – 11th March 2015

Sacha Baron Cohen's characters Ali G, Borat, Bruno and General Aladeen are immensely popular yet have all provoked critical responses and in some cases protest from various groups (e.g. from Black activists in 2002 and Hasidic Jews in 2012). Since Ali G’s emergence in 1999, Baron Cohen’s characters have provided key examples of the public debate that can be generated by comedy. This symposium addressed the complexity of Baron Cohen’s comedy from a variety of academic perspectives. Speakers and titles of papers were:

Richard Howells (King’s College London): No Laughing Matter? Race, Identity and the Humour of Sacha Baron Cohen

Helena Bassil-Morozow (University of Essex, Goldsmiths College, University of London): Sacha Baron-Cohen: Gonzo Trickster and the Art of Comic Insurrection 

Simon Weaver (Brunel University London): ‘Even though it’s sexist and racist in some parts, it’s still funny’: An Audience Reception Study of the Comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen 

Disability and Comedy is Easy: Becoming an Abnormally Funny Person – 29th April 2014

In the final seminar of the Comedy, Health and Disability Seminar Series 2014-15 Simon Minty discussed his work and experiences as a disability activist and comedy producer. He entertainingly discussed the creation of the comedy troupe, Abnormally Funny People, and examined the relationship between disability and comedy today.

Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Women in Stand-Up Comedy – 1st July 2015

The CCSR was delighted to be an invited sponsor of a plenary session at the 27th International Humor Conference of the International Society for Humor Studies at Holy Names University, Oakland, California.  The session provided interesting and entertaining cross-cultural analyses of the role, position and impact of women in stand-up (or sit-down) comedy in Japan, America and Britain.  Speakers and titles of papers during this session were:  

Dr Kimie Oshima (Kanagawa University, Japan)   Japanese Traditional Sit-Down Comedy

Professor Regina Barreca (University of Connecticut, USA)The Best Stand-Ups Stand Up for Something: The Politics of Trouble making Funny Women

Dr Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University London, UK)   Women Matter in British Stand-Up Comedy

This was a very well-attended session and a fantastic finish to the 2014-15 academic year.