Satire TV: The New Book
I’m really excited to announce the imminent publication of my latest book, Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era, a collection co-edited with the brilliant duo of Jeffrey P. Jones and Ethan Thompson. Just as Jon Stewart smacks down Cramer and CNBC, it seems a fine time for the book to come out.
I hope you’ll agree that the cover is really top-notch. We found the picture, but NYU Press did a great job of framing it, and it looks very snappy. After Routledge’s botching of my Simpsons book cover (if only you could see what it was meant to be, you’d share my pain), I guess I was owed some paratextual good fortune, and here it is.
The book began at the Flow conference in 2006, as (by my memory) a result of two walks between the University of Texas and the Dog and Duck Pub. One of them was with Ethan, the other with Jeff, neither of whom I’d met before. If you know Austin, you know that it’s not all that long a walk, but each trip was long enough for us to immediately get along with each other and for us to agree that there wasn’t enough good stuff on satire out there. So we floated the idea of doing a collection, and a month later we were working on it. Jeff and Ethan were an absolute joy to work with, always on the ball, fiercely intelligent, and darn funny guys, thus making the whole process a lot more enjoyable.
We also worked with a great group of contributors. Let me share with you the table of contents:
Foreword by David Marc
Part I: Post 9/11, Post Modern, or Just Post Network?
- “The State of Satire, the Satire of State” (Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey P. Jones, Ethan Thompson)
- “With All Due Respect Satirizing Presidents From Saturday Night Live to Lil’ Bush” (Jeffrey P. Jones)
- “Tracing the ‘Fake’ Candidate in American Television Comedy” (Heather Osborne-Thompson)
Part II: Fake News, Real Funny
- “And Now… the News? Mimesis and the Real in The Daily Show” (Amber Day)
- “Jon Stewart and The Daily Show: I Thought You Were Going to Be Funny!” (Joanne Morreale)
- “Stephen Colbert’s Parody of the Postmodern” (Geoffrey Baym)
Part III: Building in the Critical Rubble: Between Deconstruction and Reconstruction
- “Throwing Out the Welcome Mat: Public Figures as Guests and Victims in TV Satire” (Jonathan Gray)
- “Speaking ‘Truth’ to Power? Television Satire, Rick Mercer Report, and the Politics of Place and Space” (Serra Tinic)
- “Why Mitt Romney Won’t Debate a Snowman” (Henry Jenkins)
Part IV: Shock and Guffaw: The Limits of Satire
- “Good Demo, Bad Taste: South Park as Carnivalesque Satire” (Ethan Thompson)
- “In the Wake of ‘The Nigger Pixie’: Dave Chappelle and the High Cost of De Facto Crossover” (Bambi Haggins)
- “Of Niggas and Citizens: The Boondocks Fans and Differentiated Black American Politics” (Avi Santo)
It was a great group to work with, and they made our job so much easier. Ultimately, we made this book since it was one that we wanted to read, and the contributors didn’t disappoint.
So, if you’re teaching a class (or just a section: NYU Press price their books to sell, so this one’s list price is $22, yet I note that Amazon’s selling it for $14.85 right now) on popular politics, satire, or comedy, please consider the book. Or you don’t need to be teaching the book to enjoy it, so grab a copy yourself. It’s set to be released on April 1, no joke.
Here are the endorsements on the back:
“This smart and savvy crew has noticed something creeping up on us, something with bite. Now we have to take satire TV seriously; it turns out to be the bearer of the democratic spirit for the post-broadcast age. In this field-shaping book, some of the brightest talents in TV studies show us how the marginal has become the model for a much-needed media make-over. See what happens when entertainment bares its teeth.”
— John Hartley, author of Television Truths
“It has been said that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not funny. This wonderful collection proves that nothing could be farther from the truth. Satire TV takes the study of comedy in new directions, expanding beyond earlier work done on classical Hollywood cinema and the sitcom. In politically trying times, the contributors to this volume reveal through analysis of programs such as South Park, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report, laughter is not the best medicine—it is the surgeon’s scalpel.”
— Heather Hendershot, editor of Nickelodeon Nation