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When does parody spill into insensitive cultural appropriation? While Chris LIlley is probably OK to appropriate the upper North Shore culture of Ja’mie (pictured), he’s on dodgier ground with Jonah from Tonga. Princess Pictures, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Home Box Office (HBO)

Permission to laugh? Humour without risk of danger and offence would be an emaciated thing

In our pursuit of a world that is safely and entirely OK, must humour be cleansed of its original sin of cultural appropriation and insensitivity? It depends whether we are 'laughing up' or 'laughing down'.
Emma Cooper created the show “Rape is Real and Everywhere” with fellow comedian Heather Jordan Ross. Scot McLean

Survivors use humour to challenge rape culture

Rape jokes are among the most controversial that comedians can tell, but a Concordia professor says laughing at the absurdity of a world that silences survivors is also an act of support and solidarity.
Shiralee Hood performing in 2016: being a left-handed, Indigenous woman, she describes herself as a ‘triple threat’. Supplied

Deadly Funny – a new brand of Australian comedy

Aboriginal stand-up comedy is thriving and no topic, it seems, is off limits. As the Melbourne International Comedy Festival opens, here's the lowdown on Indigenous humour.
Protesters wearing masks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump march in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter/Reuters

Are U.S. politics beyond a joke?

From Alfonso the Wise's bawdy songs of slander to Ronald Reagan's sunny smile, politics and humor have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. But no one seems to be laughing anymore.
Jason Watkins and Jane Horrocks, as Gavin and Julie in Trollied, elevate anxiety to an art-form. Sky1

Trollied: serves you (just) right

For the comic protagonist, the literary critic Northrop Frye once observed, life is something you get through. While tragic characters die in plangent splendour, and Marvel superheroes vanquish tech-spangled…

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