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Stand-Up Politics? Populism, comedy and popular culture.
Fri 19 May 2017, 13:00 – 18:00 BST
To mark the publication of Russell Brand: Celebrity, Comedy, Politics (Arthurs and Little, 2016), this half-day symposium will bring together a wide range of thinkers for an interdisciplinary exploration of the contemporary relationship between stand-up comedy, politics and protest movements. While there has always been a connection between humour and politics, stand-up comedy as a cultural form has become increasingly central to political expression and protest. Stand-up has produced some high profile political activists such as Russell Brand and Beppe Grillo, but it has also shaped the logic of formal politics, with the increasing importance of the joke in contemporary political discourse being seen in everything from PMQs to Donald Trump’s twitter feed. In the wider context of rising populisms of left and right, this half-day event will assess how productive relationships between comedians and activism can be forged to create new political possibilities in the face of accusations of cynicism, trivialisation and simplification in the interaction between stand-up and the political.