Comedy, Politics and Populism Panel and Performance Tickets, Wed 10 Nov 2021 at 16:00

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** This special event will include the official launch of Simon Weaver’s new book The Rhetoric of Brexit Humour: Comedy, Populism and the EU Referendum **

Comedy, Politics and Populism Panel and Performance

The panel webinar will explore the knotty and complex relationships between comedy, politics and populism by focussing on questions such as:

What role do comedians and satirists play in shaping public understandings of politics and populisms?; Does contemporary satire speak truth to power or is it complicit with political elites?; Are comedy, humour and jokes useful forms of communication for politicians?; Do politicians use jokes for their own advantage?; What are the relationships between politicians, populists and comedians?

These questions, and more, will be hotly debated by a fantastic panel of experts including:

Sammy Basu: is a Professor of History, Humanities and Public Health at Willamette University in Salem, OR, USA. His long-standing interests in political humour range widely across philosophical and ethical approaches but centre on the relationship of humour (and laughter) to democratic theory and practice. He has published on humour in relation to the deliberative ideal speech theory of Habermas, the tolerant politics of the Leveller Richard Overton, and the Nazi adoption of the Gesamtkunstwerk of Wagner. He is presently working on a historical study of the surprisingly rich roles of humour and laughter during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi Third Reich. A co-edited special issue on political humour is forthcoming in the European Journal of Humour Research. His comments on comedy and populism will draw on a study of Trump’s Twitter engagement with his followers leading up to the 2016 U.S. election.

Don Biswas: is a super slick gag merchant with a twist – covering left wing politics as well as his own experiences of dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. A fascinating and hilarious voice well worth hearing. As heard on Radio 4 and seen on BBC Asian network. “By the quality of his jokes alone, including a choice one about a corporate gig for the DWP, Biswas is the show’s star turn.” Guardian.

BlueLou is a political cartoonist who has worked on a range of publications including The Canary, The Guardian, The Independent, TES, The Morning Star and New Statesman. BlueLou grew up in Northern Ireland during the troubles and saw Orange men rioting in white gloves. She remembers visiting a grandparent in Derry who still used a outdoor toilet and only had heating from a peat fire. She did her first Judge Death drawing from her Brothers 2000AD at the age of 10 and surprised the art department of her secondary school by painting Ronald Ragan with a Micky Mouse hat on fighting Gorbachev wearing a dog collar. She was told by her secondary school careers officer at 15 to go work in a factory… he laughed when she told him she was going to art college. Despite the dreadful catholic education and dyslexia, BlueLou left school at 16 and did her A level art in one year at 17. She got into art college on her portfolio and came out with a 2:1 BA. BlueLou worked in multimedia, such as performance, painting and digital art for many years always going back to the cartoon/illustration medium. She worked in rotation in the Morning Star with Martin Rowson for two years. BlueLou was the first woman to enter the political cartoon awards 2012 and was the first woman to appear in ‘The Best of Britain’s Political Cartoons 2014′ anthology.

Simon Weaver: is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications in the Department of Social and Political Sciences, and a member of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research, at Brunel University London, UK. His research focuses on the rhetorical nature of humour and joking. This has included the rhetorical nature of racial and racist humour and on the relationship between comedy and populism. His most recent book, The Rhetoric of Brexit Humour: Comedy Populism and the EU Referendum, explores these ideas in relation to Brexit populism. He has discussed his research in a variety of international media, including on BBC radio and television.

Alison Wilde currently teaches a module for Brunel, on politics, satire and comedy, and also works as an Associate Lecturer for The Open University (Social Sciences). She has an Independent Scholar Fellowship with the Independent Social Research Foundation, to commence in January 2022, at Durham University. Alison has written mainly on topics of screen media, disability, gender and audiences, in addition to researching and publishing on disability and educational inclusion, parenting, gender, and social and health care. She teaches mainly on sociology, media, disability-related topics and research methods, supervising doctoral work on several topics. She co-founded the MeCCSA Disability Studies Network, and the BSA’s Disability Studies Group. Her first book on comedy, film and disability was published in 2018, with her second book ’Performing Diversity’ due to be published in 2022.

Chaired by Sharon Lockyer, Director of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (Brunel University London)

Following the panel webinar Don Biswas will treat us to a stand-up comedy performance.

Everyone very welcome. We look forward to you joining us for a lively event!


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