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The conclusion provides an extended analysis of Trevor Griffith’s 1975 stage play Comedians, which has become a touchstone for thinking critically about humour. Set in an evening class for amateur stand-ups in the north of England, the play explores key tensions around comedy: its ability to comfort, its willingness to shock, its flair for critique, and its propensity for violence. In the play, it’s never clear where we’re supposed to draw the line between joke-telling and hatemongering, or if there’s a line to be drawn in the first place. The play – like this book – leaves us with no easy answers and offers few consolations.

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