Conclusion: Widening the Theoretical Basis for Assessing Stand-Up Politics

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


Assessments of alternative comedy’s political efficacy and integrity have sometimes shown a preoccupation with class. While this has led to some fair assessments of alternative comedy’s successes and failures in terms of promoting class equality, it has also meant that some of its other political functions and successes have been ignored. Both within and outside comedy, the methods and priorities of political resistance are shifting. This concluding chapter argues that alternative comedy is best understood with reference to these new political paradigms. The argument is elaborated through a case study of the Alternative Reality Tour as an example of Saul Newman’s Postanarchism in practice.


Postanarchism Identity politics Alternative Reality Tour Josie Long 


  1. Allen, Tony. 2002. Attitude: Wanna Make Something of It? The Secret of Stand-Up Comedy. Glastonbury: Gothic Image.Google Scholar
  2. Amirani, Amir, and Jess Gormley. 2016. “Bit Daunting, Really”: The Edinburgh Standups Reading Chilcot in Full – Video. Guardian (Online Video), August 13. Accessed 1 June 2018.
  3. Bass, George. 2015. Bottom Box Set Review – A Hilarious Tale of Two Social Outcasts. Guardian, June 4. Accessed 31 May 2018.
  4. BBC. 2013. Feedback (Radio Programme). 20:00, March 10. BBC Radio 4, 30 mins. Accessed 13 Dec 2016.
  5. Christie, Bridget. 2016. Mortal (Live Performance). The Stand 1, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 11:00, August 21.Google Scholar
  6. Coltrane, Chris. 2015. Left-Wing Propaganda Machine (Online Video), October 21. Accessed 1 Sept 2017.
  7. Dahlgren, Peter. 2000. Media, Citizenship and Civic Culture. In Mass Media and Society, ed. James Curran and Michael Gurevitch, 3rd ed., 310–328. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  8. Day, Richard J.F. 2004. From Hegemony to Affinity: The Political Logic of the Newest Social Movements. Cultural Studies 18 (5): 716–748. Scholar
  9. Double, Oliver. 1997. Stand-Up! On Being a Comedian. London: Methuen.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flinders, Matthew. 2018. The (Anti-)Politics of the General Election: Funnelling Frustration in a Divided Democracy. Parliamentary Affairs 71 (1): 222–236. Scholar
  11. Friedman, Sam. 2014. Comedy and Distinction: The Cultural Currency of a ‘Good’ Sense of Humour. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gayle, Damien. 2016. Edinburgh Fringe Chilcot Recital Ends After 284 Hours and 45 Minutes. Guardian, August 20. Accessed 1 June 2018.
  13. Harvie, Jen. 2013. Fair Play: Art, Performance and Neoliberalism, Performance Interventions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jones, Jeffrey P. 2010. Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement. 2nd ed. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  15. Jonny and the Baptists. 2016. Eat the Poor (Live Performance). Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 19:35, August 19.Google Scholar
  16. Long, Josie. 2011. Alternative Reality Tour: Josie’s Tour Diary from the 2011 AR Tour, October. Accessed 1 June 2018.
  17. ———. 2017. Live from the BBC. Series 2, Episode 4 (Television programme). 23:15, September 6. BBC 1, 30 mins. Accessed 31 May 2018.
  18. Medhurst, Andy. 2005. A National Joke: Popular Comedy and English Cultural Identities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Morton, Eleanor. 2016. Personal Interview. London: The Bill Murray, December 12.Google Scholar
  20. Newman, Saul. 2016. Postanarchism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Quirk, Sophie. 2015. Why Stand-Up Matters: How Comedians Manipulate and Influence. London: Bloomsbury.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roberts, John-Luke. 2016. Personal Interview by Telephone, December 6.Google Scholar
  23. Schaffer, Gavin. 2016. Fighting Thatcher with Comedy: What to Do When There Is no Alternative. Journal of British Studies 55 (2): 374–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Storper, Michael. 2001. Lived Effects of the Contemporary Economy: Globalization, Inequality and Consumer Society. In Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism, ed. Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, 88–124. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Street, John, Sanna Inthorn, and Martin Scott. 2013. From Entertainment to Citizenship: Politics and Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wagg, Stephen. 1998. “They Already Got a Comedian for Governor”: Comedians and Politics in the United States and Great Britain. In Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics, and Social Difference, ed. Stephen Wagg, 242–270. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Wheatley, Jonathan. 2015. Restructuring the Policy Space in England: The End of the Left-Right Paradigm? British Politics 10 (3): 268–285. Scholar
  28. Wilmut, Roger, and Peter Rosengard. 1989. Didn’t You Kill My Mother-in-Law? The Story of Alternative Comedy in Britain from the Comedy Store to Saturday Live. London: Methuen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations