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No Known Cure: The Comedy of Chris Morris Paperback – 29 May 2013

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute (29 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844574792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844574797
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.7 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

Edited collection of new essays by television and media experts on different aspects of Morris's celebrated but controversial work and its contemporary broadcasting contexts

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

JAMES LEGGOTT is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Northumbria. He is the author of
Contemporary British Cinema: From Heritage to Horror (2008) and co-editor of British Science Fiction Cinema and Television: Critical Essays (2011).

JAMIE SEXTON is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television at the University of Northumbria. He has written on topics including
British avant-garde film-making, experimental British television and independent cinema. He co-edits (with Ernest Mathijs) the book
series Cultographies.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Morris needed to have a book like this written about him because no other comedian makes you laugh as hard as they make you think. This book is serious but never lets you forget you're reading about someone who is extremely funny. The book is a collection of articles and think pieces from a broad selection of writers, journalists and academics. It's an easy and fascinating read. It can be read from cover to cover or dipped into but most importantly it will leave you desperate to hear or see everything and anything Morris ever recorded. Interesting, funny and vital for even the passing fan. Although I suspect in Morris's case passing fans don't exist.
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Academic work about television can be deeply hit and miss for the "general reader". Theses that refer to countless other unpublished theses, desiccated tables of data analysis and opening paragraphs that conjure up a reading list as long as your arm before things have even started conspire to floor the layman. It also doesn't help that, for a long time, much academic writing on British television has preferred to treat it as a sociological phenomenon rather than an art form. This combination of dry seriousness and not taking the medium seriously enough can, at worst, produce an extended Mark Lawson column stuffed with Baudrillard quotes.

This collection of essays on the much-venerated, little-analysed Chris Morris neatly avoids all this. While not making the fatal error of trying to lighten the tone because a comedian's being discussed (although there's a graph on page 114 that will make any Morris fan hoot), it largely manages to put the slipperiest of comic talents under the microscope without looking like someone, somewhere, has missed the joke in a big way. With the right approach, absurdity can be analysed.

No Known Cure is especially strong on Morris's almost legendary early radio work, the highly-regarded return to form that was Four Lions and, surprisingly, the tail-chasing Hoxton squib Nathan Barley. It never makes the mistake of venerating Morris as a genius apart who can do no wrong - a chapter focussing on the 2001 Brass Eye Special (to my mind the most over-rated of his programmes) looks not at the show itself, but its reflection in the distorting mirror of "Cultural Capital" (aka cultural snobbery) and draws some interesting conclusions.
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As dry as bone or the legendary biccy? Well no. Whilst of course not rivalling - how could it? - Lucian Randall's gripper of a book, this academic study involving a collection of essays is by no means the lemon faced effort I feared and one other reviewer thought might well risk Morrisian scorn. I feared Lacan; I feared Boa-Deconstruction, I feared the armature of what passes for lit crit and I feared being bored. But no, the fact that the editors made contributions to Randall's book reassured me and this tome is replete with useful info about the whys and wherefores of the series, radio and written work and the 'Four Lions' film Morris has made. There is plenty of intelligent stuff on the generic aspects of each, about their strategies, themes and suchlike and all the rest one should expect from a media studies book. But the textual analyses are decently written and usually interesting. The chapter on 'Post Irony' as the key to the making 'Nathan Barley, arguably the trickiest of Morris's works to 'get' is nicely provocative and stimulating - I have read it twice and am not sure I agree but 'food for thought' is never unwelcome. The others veer between highish academese to the quasi-journalistic, (in a good way, I hasten to add), in a good mixture of topics and methods/vocabularies, literally and metaphorically. It is good to have this alongside 'Disgusting Bliss,' the one for juice, the other for a little mindbuilding and useful instruction or whatever you wish to call it. So if not exactly exciting, this is always interesting and certainly no narcotic; that is not nothing as such studies go and the choice of contributors is well made. I am glad to have it.
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Format: Paperback
As books about comedy go this one's pretty serious – but for comedy nerds it's ideal.

Don't expect a biography of Chris Morris; it's all pretty academic. If you want to know about how his comedy actually works the analysis is brilliant, particularly the chapter on post-irony in Nathan Barley.
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