Chapter

Kitchen-Sink Laughter

Lucy Delap

in Knowing Their Place

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199572946
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728846 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572946.003.0005
Kitchen-Sink Laughter

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This chapter charts the laughter prompted by the everyday interactions of employers and servants that were widely represented in music hall, cinema, periodicals, newspapers, and other forms of mass leisure. It suggests that laughter is an intensely revealing emotion that structures relationships of inequality and offers both forms of resistance and support for the status quo. The use made by scholars of laughter is reviewed, and some new directions are suggested. The chapter assess the failed jokes, and shared jokes, of the century, and suggests that cultural representations of service, cleaning, and char work continued to be widely found funny during the period between World War II and the 1980s when the numbers employed in service were very low. Service continued to have cultural resonance, and has profoundly shaped traditions of British humour.

Keywords: humour; laughter; emotions; music hall; cinema; periodicals; servants; domestic service; chars

Chapter.  15166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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