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For the Sake of Sanity

Doing things with humour in Irish performance


Edited By Eric Weitz

Humour claims no ideological affiliation – its workings merit inspection in any and every individual case, in light of the who, what, where and when of a joke, including the manner of performance, the socio-cultural context, the dynamic amongst participants, and who knows how many other factors particular to the instance. There are as many insights to be gained from the deployment of humour in performance as people to think about it – so herein lie a healthy handful of responses from a variety of perspectives.

For the Sake of Sanity: Doing things with humour in Irish performance assembles a range of essays from practitioners, academics, and journalists, all of whom address the attempt to make an audience laugh in various Irish contexts over the past century. With a general emphasis on theatre, the collection also includes essays on film, television and stand-up comedy for those insights into practice, society and culture revealed uniquely through instances of humour in performance.

CONTENTS: Christopher Murray: The Masks of Hugh Leonard: Da as an Irish Comedy - Marie Kelly: Dead Funny: Mortality and comic comeuppance in Tom Mac Intyre’s Only an Apple - Rhona Trench: «Flann O’Brien’s Dublin drift»: The comedy of literary disorientation in Blue Raincoat Theatre Company’s, At Swim Two Birds - Bernard Farrell: The Joyful Mysteries of Comedy - Ian R. Walsh: The Dublin Dame: From Biddy Mulligan to Mrs Brown - Sarah Jane Scaife: «Still getting above our stations»: Slagging as national pastime and the cultural body in the comedy of Samuel Beckett and Marina Carr - Eric Weitz: «The problem with laughter»: The clown as double agent in Barabbas’ City of Clowns’ - John Waters: «Talk about laugh»: Why is the Irish personality renowned for being so funny but Irish comedy on television somewhat less so? - Christopher Collins: «Synge and ‹Protestant Comedy›» - Meadhbh McHugh: The Glass Ceiling and the Gag: Fifth Wave Feminism & Ireland’s National Theatre, 2010-2014 - Susanne Colleary: The Savage Eye Sees Far: «Militant Irony» and the Jacobean Corrective in Contemporary Irish Satire - Eamonn Jordan: Playwrights, Screenplays, Criminality, Gangland and the Tragicomic Imperatives in I Went Down and Intermission - Jim Culleton: Along the thin line: Dublin comedy in recent Fishamble plays - Kunle Animashaun: Stand-up comedy in a multicultural setting: Between raw nerve and a funny bone - Justin Murphy/Declan Rooney: The inmates take the mic: Irish comedians on standup comedy.