Comedy

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Jon Stewart’s tenure at The Daily Show may ultimately be remembered more for how he skewered the mainstream media than for the laughs he generated. Jason Reed/Reuters

The Daily Show was never ‘real’ news – but came (depressingly) close

Jon Stewart’s Tuesday night announcement that he’ll be leaving the Daily Show garnered an audible cry of disbelief from his live studio audience. Stewart himself was visibly emotional: “What is this fluid…
Laughter and violence have two things in common: they’re both non-verbal and they both occur when words fail. Cloud Mine Amsterdam/Shutterstock

What Charlie Hebdo says about laughter, violence and free speech

It should come as no surprise that comedians would feel threatened by the attack on Charlie Hebdo: the freedom to offend is the source of their livelihood, and many who have offended have been threatened…
We can now know whether this rendition of Miley Cyrus is (legally) parody. tehchix0r

The dispute over humour that reached the EU’s highest court

You probably don’t tend to consider any legal issues while watching Rita Ora’s recent parody of Beyonce’s 7/11 or the Chatroulette version of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball. But there are limits to the extent…
Stephen Colbert created an extraordinary character: a right-wing, bloviating pundit who was both outrageous and adorable. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Stephen Colbert legacy

If you were following politics over the last few election cycles, you were most likely getting some of your information from satire. In fact, research has shown that in today’s political climate, satire…
Lisa Kudrow is back as Valerie Cherish with a second season of The Comeback. HBO

The Comeback: HBO revisits a camp TV classic

Susan Sontag once wrote that the ultimate camp statement is, “It’s good because it’s awful”. But can camp go too far? To paraphrase a line from the 2001 film Ghost World, can something be so awful that…
Deborah Mailman and Elizabeth Wymarra play the Housewives of Naorromine in Black Comedy. ABC

Black Comedy: the ABC makes a bold foray into race relations

ABC’s new Indigenous sketch show Black Comedy, which premiered last night, is touted as a “show by blackfellas … for everyone”. As a blackfella, I’m not sure I agree that it is for “everyone” but that’s…
Comedian Stephen Colbert at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Reuters

Satire might not sway votes, but that isn’t the point

John Oliver’s new program Last Week Tonight is the most recent addition to the parody news genre. Like its predecessors, the show frequently mocks American politics; for example, an attention-grabbing…
Paul Verhoeven tells tall stories in his debut Melbourne Fringe Show. Photo: Alan Moyle Photobat. Melbourne Fringe

The truth about Tell Me Lies at the Melbourne Fringe

We might assume the stories stand-up comedians tell us are true, or at least contain a grain of truth – something their partner said, their kids did. But of course they’re often personalising their stories…
Heard the one about turning it off and on again? Adam Ethan Crow

Geek laughs: Control Alt Delete at the Melbourne Fringe

Computers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’d be hard pressed to find a person who has never experienced them in one way or another. They are part of our world, integrated into our lives through our phones and…
The acerbic, rasping performer was one of the hardest-working people in show business. JASON SZENES/EPA

Joan Rivers was many things – which will we remember her as?

Joan Alexandra Molinksy was born in Brooklyn on June 8, 1933, to immigrants from Russia. She attended the Adelphi academy in Brooklyn, and, an excellent student, was Phi Beta Kappa at Barnard College…
The legend Stan Laurel lives on at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. PA/PA Archive

Stan Laurel returns home to Scotland for Fringe festival

Any show exploring the life of early film comedian Stan Laurel could be forgiven for focusing solely on Hollywood glitz and glamour. Across a film career that spanned some 34 years with his partner Oliver…
US actor Robin Williams has been found dead aged 63 in his home in Marin County, California. AAP/ Tracey Nearmy

Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as…

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