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Cult British TV comedyFrom Reeves and Mortimer to Psychoville$
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Leon Hunt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719083778

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719083778.001.0001

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Patchy in places: developments in post-alternative sketch comedy

Patchy in places: developments in post-alternative sketch comedy

(p.98) 4 Patchy in places: developments in post-alternative sketch comedy
Cult British TV comedy

Leon Hunt

Manchester University Press

Sketch comedy has been written about considerably less than sitcom and therefore the chapter provides an overview of the form - its traditions in Variety and (more recently) Footlights comedy, its mixed reputation as either superficial and uneven compared to sitcom or an anarchic, convention-breaking form (the legacy of Monty Python). Sketch shows locate their style either in the format of individual sketches (the surreal or the repetitive, for example) or in the method by which they link them together (the stream-of-consciousness of Python, the loose narrative integration of the League of Gentlemen). The chapter considers some experiments and variations in the form during the post-alternative era, from the accelerated catchphrase characters of The Fast Show to the naturalistic ‘surrealism’ of Big Train and the animated darkness of Monkey Dust.

Keywords:   Sketch comedy, Catchphrases, The Fast Show, ‘surreal’ comedy

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