1st Edition

The Routledge Comedy Studies Reader

Edited By Ian Wilkie Copyright 2020
    442 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    442 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Comedy Studies Reader is a selection of the most outstanding critical analysis featured in the journal Comedy Studies in the decade since its inception in 2010.

    The Reader illustrates the multiple perspectives that are available when analysing comedy. Wilkie’s selections present an array of critical approaches from interdisciplinary scholars, all of whom evaluate comedy from different angles and adopt a range of writing styles to explore the phenomenon. Divided into eight unique parts, the Reader offers both breadth and depth with its wide range of interdisciplinary articles and international perspectives.

    Of interest to students, scholars, and lovers of comedy alike, The Routledge Comedy Studies Reader offers a contemporary sample of general analyses of comedy as a mode, form, and genre.


    Ian Wilkie: an introductory foreword chapter by the editor of Comedy Studies Journal


    Section 1

    Back to Basics: What is Comedy and Where Does It Come From?

    1. Chris Ritchie Against comedy (1:2)

    3. Peter Marteinson Thoughts on the current state of humor theory (1:2)

    5. Ian Wilkie and Matthew Saxton The origins of comic performance in adult-child interaction (1:1)

    7. Caspar Addyman and Ishbel Addyman The science of baby laughter(4:2)

      Section 2

      Old Comedy: Taproots and Tropes 

    9. Rachel Kirk The time travelling miser (2:1)

    11. Louise Peacock Conflict and slapstick in commedia dell' arte (4:1)

    13. Richard Talbot and Barnaby King Clowns do ethnography (5:1)

      Section 3

      Class, Gender, Race: Reading Comedy’s Issues 

    15. Isaac Hui Hamlet, comedy and class struggle (4:2)
    16. David Huxley and David James Race, class and gender in British music hall (3:1)


    1. Gilli Bush-Bailey Women like us? (3:2)

      Section 4

      Doing Comedy: Giving, Receiving, Causes and Effects 


    3. Hannah Ballou Pretty Funny (4:2)

    5. Tim Miles No greater foe? (audience and stand ups) (5:1)

    7. Lloyd Peters The roots of alternative comedy? (4: 1)

    9. Christopher Molineux Life memory archive (documentation in stand up) (7:1)

      Section 5

      New Comedy? Interviews with Practitioners

    11. Oliver Double interview with Ross Noble (1:1)

    13. Tony Moon interview with Stewart Lee (2:1)

    15. Tony Moon interview with Barry Cryer (2:2)

    17. Gary Turk interview with Charlie Hanson (3:1)

    19. Tony Moon interview with Tiffany Stevenson (3:2)

    21. Sam Friedman interview with Russell Kane (4: 2)

    23. Sam Friedman interview with Les Dennis (4:2)

    25. Kara Hunt on Chris Rock (5:2)

    27. Tony Moon interview with John Lloyd (8:1)

    29. Ian Wilkie interview with Kate Fox (8:2)

      Section 6

      Critical Angles: Essays on a Joan Rivers’ Routine

    31. Sharon Lockyer From toothpick legs to dropping vaginas (2:2 )

    33. Louise Peacock Joan Rivers - reading the meaning (2:2)

    35. Brett Mills Humour theory and Joan Rivers (2:2)

      Section 7

      The World of Comedy: Culture and Satire


    37. Debra Aarons and Marc Mierowsky Obscenity, dirtiness and licence in Jewish comedy (5:2)

    39. Grant Julin Satire in a Multicultural World: A Bakhtinian Analysis (9:2)

    41. Mark Harmon, Barbara Kaye, Amanda Martin - When Silly Meets Serious (9:2)
    42. Ian Reilly The comedian the cat and the activist (6:1)

    44. Cate Blouke Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen and seriousness of mock documentary (6:1)

      Section 8

      New Comedy? Emerging Platforms and Forms of Expression 


    46. Kyle Meikle A book and a movie walk into a bar (6:2)

    48. Peter Kunze Kidding around: children, comedy and social media (5:1)

    50. Rebecca Krefting and Rebecca Baruc Social media and comedy (6:2)

    52. Jillian Belanger Comedy meets media 6 2

    54. Lucien Leon The animated moving image as political cartoon (9:1)

    56. Matthew Mckeague Is vlogging the new stand up? (9:1)




    Ian Wilkie is a Lecturer in Performance at the University of Salford, specialising in the Comedy Writing and Performance degree. His PhD is in Comedy and he is the author of Performing in Comedy: A Student’s Guide. Wilkie has been articles editor of Comedy Studies since 2013 (becoming main editor in 2015), and occasionally works as a comic actor.

    Praise for A Comedy Studies Reader, ed. Ian Wilkie

    An important resource for those bent on taking comedy seriously, this collection gathers disparate studies from the innovative Journal of Comedy Studies and elsewhere to illuminate contemporary performative comedy. It should prove invaluable for students in Comedy Studies and also remind many in Humour Studies about the importance of the relationship between a piece of humour and its mediator, whether professional or or amateur, as a creator of amusement and laughter.

    Jessica Milner Davis FRSN, University of Sydney