Experimentation: Class, Controversy, and an Artistic Lifeline

  • Sophie Quirk
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comedy book series (PSCOM)


The freedom to experiment is vital to many comedians. Clubs like the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (ACMS) exist to offer comedians the opportunity to play with form and revel in the ambition of their artistic extension. Such clubs appear to be considered as the home of ‘the alternative’ by contemporary comedians who often see these environments as the plucky underdog in comparison to the highly commercialised, industrially produced mainstream. Yet recognition that experimental clubs hold a higher cultural status has led to accusations of snobbery and classism. This chapter explores comedians’ own perspectives on the production of alternative comedy and the role of big business in fragmenting comedy ‘markets’.


Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (ACMS) Experimental comedy Class Elitism Commercialisation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Quirk
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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