Professor Julie Webber has published a new book on political comedy titled The Cultural Set Up of Comedy: Affective Politicsin the U.S. Post 9/11. The book is published by Intellect, Ltd in the U.K. and distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the United States.
In the book, Professor Webber surveys theories about how comedy works in politics and social life. In several chapters, she examines the role of masculinity in relation to stand- up, the “crass ceiling” that women often face in contemporary comedy. Specifically, Professor Webber makes the case that comedy news shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report normalize middle class anger at declining economic and social prospects experienced in the U.S. over the past decade.
The book presents a generational framework to understand the specific response of Generation X (and to some degree Y) as ironic, and therefore, often misunderstood as apolitical. The final chapter looks at the role of comedy in the Arab Spring, specifically focusing on Bassem Youssef’s controversial program El Bernameg in Egypt and others.