Minor British Institutions: Alternative comedy
Saturday 07 August 2010
The thing about alternative comedy is that it isn't very alternative any more. Like "New" Labour, time has rendered the adjective redundant, and the nation awaits the alternative to alternative comedy. Maybe comics will go back to wearing dinner suits with frilly shirts and cracking mother-in-law gags.
The origins are obscure, its first appearance variously placed in Devon, London's Comedy Store or in any student bar somewhere around 1980. The timing is telling, as it was a reaction to the election of Mrs Thatcher and her uniquely unfunny brand of politics as much as impatience with Bernard Manning.
A relaxation in telly rules about the F-word also helped. Alexei Sayle stands out as the most original of the new wave, but then again, maybe The Young Ones and Friday Night Live were just a ruder, swearier evolution of Spike Milligan, Python and That Was the Week That Was.
But, whatever else, alternative comedy killed racist jokes, and for that we should be truly grateful.
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- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite
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Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
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