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Lecture 20

Political Science 2142A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Playboy Club, Nipsey Russell, Lenny Bruce


Department
Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2142A/B
Professor
Alison Meek
Lecture
20

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LECTURE – THE BLACK COMICS
Heavy segregation in the comedy business
oRacial
oComedy in American culture sine he 18th century believed that humour was distinctively
good nature, and it was okay to poke fun at others expense
BLACK COMEDY
oClub owners – wanted comedy kept clean
LENNY BRUCE AND GEORGE CARLIN
White comics, yet opened the door for certain types of language to be
used
More casual approach – dressed down, moreso a conversation than an
actual act
Language – quite vulgar
oCarlin – known for “the 8 words you can’t say on tv”
omost black comedians – performed to black audiences
liked blunt comedy
broad themes – white comedy, vulgar sex jokes, etc.
oNIPSY RUSSELL
University graduate in Cincinnati
Segregation
oWhitty, not too vulgar, social commentary in comedy
Confident, very intelligent comedy
1960s – audiences become integrated
omore of a social acceptance
otempers of the time – much of that “edge” was blunted that black comics had
had to tone down approach as white media reps took hold of censorship
walking a fine line, breaking down barriers, etc.
oDICK GREGORY***
More aggressive approach to comedy
Chicago’s Playboy Club in 1961
Raised by mother in St. Louis slum
Attended Illinois Uni. Before pursuing a life on the stage
Worked in small, black clubs as an MC and comedian earing $10/night
Knew he wanted to perform “where the bread was” (white clubs)
Felt that when white people were comfortable and secure on their own
turf, they felt no pressure to laugh at racial material if they were in their
own place
Wanted to be recognized as an individual first, and a black man second
o“need to make jokes about myself before I can make jokes about
them and their society”
rapid comedy – caught audiences off guard
from the moment he was booked into the playboy club, Jim crowe was dead in
the comedy field
USING THIS FORM OF RACIAL SATIRE TO WHITE AUDIENCE S=
TORE DOWN BOUNDARIES TO EXPOSE STEREOTYPES ON A VERY
OPEN AND PUBLIC FORM
oBill Cosby
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