Chapter

‘Wha’s Like Us?’: Ethnic Representation In Music Hall and Popular Theatre and the Remaking of Urban Scottish Society

Paul Maloney

in From Tartan to Tartanry

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653539 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638772.003.0009
‘Wha’s Like Us?’: Ethnic Representation In Music Hall and Popular Theatre and the Remaking of Urban Scottish Society

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This chapter examines the Scotch comic and its projection of Scottish identity alongside other ‘national’ stage representations popular in Scottish music halls at the time, which would also have contributed to creating ‘an inclusive model of the national culture as the sum of all current cultural activity’. It explores the tension between music hall as popular culture and commercial entertainment genre. It considers the proposition that there was much more to the Scotch comic than Lauder's iconic tartanised, version; that the figure was originally a product of urban industrial society, adapted to meet the demands of a market-driven commercial format — music hall — but that, post-Lauder, it reconnected with earlier strands of this working-class performing tradition in ways in which make it clear that the figure remained an expression of Scottish urban working-class culture. It examines the different impact of the Scotch comic tradition on the Glasgow Jewish comedian Ike Freedman.

Keywords: Scotch comic; Scottish identity; music halls; commercial entertainment; Lauder; Ike Freedman

Chapter.  7340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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