Magazine
Latest Issue

What makes Britain laugh?

Why do British comedians not talk about black people? Is a Madeleine McCann joke ever OK? And when is a Hitler moustache funny?

By Mary Fitzgerald   March 2010

Miss Behave: a sword-swallowing cabaret madam

“A real comedian—that’s a daring man,” Eddie Waters tells a group of would-be comics in Trevor Griffiths’s 1975 play, Comedians. “He dares to see what his listeners shy away from, fear to express. And what he sees is a sort of truth, about people, about their situation, about what hurts or terrifies them, about what’s hard, above all, about what they want.”

Identifying what an audience wants has long been one of the trickiest parts of a comedian’s job. But today it may be harder than ever before. The archetype of the ageing white…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect