Chapter

Meera Syal

Sara Upstone

in British Asian Fiction

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078323
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703229 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719078323.003.0007
Meera Syal

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In the wake of the rise of ‘Asian cool’, the desire to meet the image of a confident, self-assured British Asian identity is overwhelming. As the most ‘funny’ British Asian voice, best known for her roles in the BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at Number 42, Meera Syal might be seen to play into this demand. This chapter, however, suggests the very opposite: Syal's comedy, rather than a mark of newfound confidence, is instead a device used to challenge the prevailing mood of optimism with a stark warning of the continued difficulties of being not only British Asian, but a British Asian woman especially. Marketing of both Syal's first novel, Anita and Me (1996), and its follow-up, Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999), identifies her with the ‘funny’ public image developed through her television work. Syal's use of comedy is more significant for its engagement with the broader conventions of this genre than for its evocation of humour.

Keywords: Meera Syal; Asian cool; British Asian; identity; comedy; humour; Anita and Me; television

Chapter.  9076 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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