Situational Comedy

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The art of comedy essentially is to make your audience laugh and to connect with you through the way that the jokes are delivered. Comedy offers an insight into sensitive political and social issues that are happening at that given time. Therefore at a time in which Britain’s views of the growing black community were not highly positive, the humour used in sitcoms wasn’t used to effectively represent them. The construction of jokes in situational comedies in the 1970’s, had more of a purpose to connect with its white audience – even though there had started to become a presence of black performers on television. This would be seen as a positivity for black communities because they were starting to see black performers on television, however it was also a setback because of the negative light that was put on them in regards to the language being used. When exploring the presence of black performers in Britain, the ‘comedy drama/sitcom’ plays an equally important part as stand-up performance does. Since the 1970’s, there has been numerous situation comedies that feature characters of a black ethnicity. But it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that, there was a situational comedy commissioned that specifically addressed the lifestyle of the black British community.
Love They Neighbour was a British sitcom that aired on ITV (formerly known as Granada) from 1972 – 1976. The sitcom was based around a white working-class couple living in Twickenham, trying to come to terms with having a West Indian couple as their neighbours. One of the important components of a sitcom is the development of a character and the ways in which they interact with other characters. Love Thy Neighbour explored the tensions between Bill and Eddie and the ways in w...

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... sitcoms that lead parallel lives to real people, it automatically makes the sitcoms very influential to the public. The prime example being the characters of Alf Garnett or Eddie Booth. Although the original intent of the creation of these characters was to show an exaggerated version of the British public’s views, it actually heightened its audience’s perceptions of the black community. But then in later years as black sitcoms began to appear on television, the opinions of the public began to change. This is because of the strong consistency of black representation that was being shown on TV between the 1980s and 2000s. Black people were being shown in the same types of everyday situations, and there wasn’t an issue of negative racial epithets being used, which in turn showed that black presence on television was being respected, and audiences were respecting it.
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