Satire & The State: Sketch Comedy and the Presidency, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Satire & The State

Sketch Comedy and the Presidency, 1st Edition

By Matt Fotis


288 pages

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Paperback: 9781138338128
pub: 2020-05-07
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Satire & The State focuses on performance-based satire, most often seen in sketch comedy, from 1960 to the present, and explores how sketch comedy has shaped the way Americans view the president and themselves.

There are numerous sketch comedy portrayals of presidents that have seeped into the American consciousness – Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford, Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush, and Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush all worked to shape the actual politician’s public persona. The book analyses these sketches and many others, illustrating how comedy is at the heart of the health and function of American democracy. At its best, satire aimed at the presidency can work as a populist check on executive power, becoming one of the most important weapons for everyday Americans against tyranny and political corruption. At its worst, satire can reflect and promote the racism, misogyny, and homophobia of Americans.


Written for students of Theatre, Performance, Political Science, and Media Studies courses, as well as readers with an interest in political comedy, Satire & The State offers a deeper understanding of the relationship between comedy and the presidency, and the ways in which satire becomes a window into the culture, principles, and beliefs of a country.

Table of Contents

1. From Colony to Country: A Brief Overview of American Political Satire 2. JFK 3. LBJ & Nixon 4. Ford & Carter 5. Reagan & Bush 6. The Clintons 7. Dubbya 8. Obama 9. Donald J. Trump 10. Satire & The State

About the Author

Matt Fotis is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Albright College. He is the author of Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), and co-author of The Comedy Improv Handbook (Routledge 2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HUMOR / General
HUMOR / Topic / Political
PERFORMING ARTS / Television / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / National