||Historical research into how film and television comedy can be understood in terms of nationhood and identity. The project will look at how screen comedy takes on different forms and meanings in bi-cultural, multi-ethnic and post-national contexts. The focus of the research will be on how Australian comedy has engaged with ideas about 'national types' and 'the Australian way of life' in different periods of film and television history. Case studies will examine what is local and culturally specific about Australian screen comedy and what is exportable and internationally recognisable.
The project aims to: understand how and why certain masculine comic types have had a long life in Australian film and television, from The Sentimental Bloke (1919) to Crocodile Dundee (1987); understand how different genres of television comedy (variety shows, sketch comedy, sitcoms, sports comedy) have engaged with the postwar ideal of 'the Australian way of life'; understand how Indigenous, non-Anglo and female comedians have contested the whiteness and masculinity of both the 'national character' and 'the Australian way of life'; understand what is specific and local about Australian comedy and what is international and exportable. The project will focus on the emergence of local comic film genres, particularly the backblocks farce in the interwar period, and the early history of television comedy in the late 1950s-60s. Case studies in 2006 include Kennedy and Newton, Hogan and Szubanski, Dame Edna and Kath & Kim.