A Philosophy of Comedy on Stage and Screen: You Have to be There

A Philosophy of Comedy on Stage and Screen: You Have to be There

By: Shaun May (author)Hardback

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As far as we know, only human beings have a sense of humour - although chimps might laugh when tickled, and dogs respond similarly in play, Seth McFarlane's fan-base is comprised exclusively of humans. Whilst animals and robots might feature as prominent characters in our favourite comic movies, shows and stand-up routines, we have no reason to suspect that their real-life brethren get the joke. Drawing on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Shaun May attempts to address this issue - suggesting that there is something distinctive about human beings which grounds our ability to make and comprehend jokes. Guiding the reader through a range of examples, including the films of Charlie Chaplin, the stand-up of Francesca Martinez, the TV show Family Guy and Samuel Beckett's Endgame, he demonstrates that in order to get the joke you have to 'be there'.

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About Author

Shaun May is a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at the University of Kent, UK. Prior to joining the faculty at Kent he was an AHRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Philosophy department of the University of Liverpool and he taught at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and the Royal College of Art, UK. He is co-convenor of the London Comedy Forum, a network of researchers with an interest in comedy and humour.


Introduction 1. You Have to Be There 2. Phenomenology of Object Dysfunction 3. Phenomenology of Object Anthropomorphism 4. Phenomenology of Animal Anthropomorphism 5. Phenomenology of Physical Impairment Conclusion Endnotes Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 17/12/2015
  • ISBN13: 9781472580436
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 224
  • ID: 9781472580436
  • weight: 391
  • ISBN10: 1472580435

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