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Apr 6·edited Apr 6Liked by Kieran Setiya

Thanks for the reference - coincidentally this week saw the death of Trevor Griffiths, the left-wing dramatist whose late 70s work "Comedians" has become a modern classic with many revivals and a favourite for student groups.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2024/apr/02/trevor-griffiths-mancunian-marxist-whose-political-plays-deserve-revival

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Apr 6Liked by Kieran Setiya

The 1979 TV version is on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmHFDVM4k_4

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Apr 6Liked by Kieran Setiya

What (if any) is the relationship between philosophy and humour? Did Socrates have an open mic?

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Good questions! I'm not sure there is a single answer to the first or a non-facetious answer to the second. But I've written a bit about both...

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/predicament-no-joke-terry-eagletons-humour/

https://www.theatlantic.com/books/archive/2023/06/western-philosophy-plato-athens-diogenes-cynic-books/674368/

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Apr 9Liked by Kieran Setiya

Minor point, but since Double's initial definition includes the idea that the comedian is "standing in front of an audience," it's worth mentioning that they were called stand-ups not because they stood up, but because they worked in clubs associated with organized crime and in order to work there they had to be considered a "stand-up" type of guy. Surprising, right?

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Interesting! I've heard versions of the connection with organized crime, but not exactly this one. Here's a slightly different take, from Kliph Nesteroff's recent book, "The Comedians":

The Mob essentially created the term “stand-up comic”—according to eighty-six-year-old comedian Dick Curtis. “The Outfit used to manage fighters. A stand-up fighter is a guy that is a puncher. A stand-up guy was a guy who was tough and you could depend on. The Outfit managed fighters and they managed clubs that booked comics, so the term found its way into the lexicon of nightclubs. A guy who just stood there and punched jokes—joke, joke, joke—he was a stand-up comic.”

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On the other hand, Oliver Double has two articles on the origin of the term, one of which traces it to 1948, the other to 1917, neither of which mentions the mob.

https://kar.kent.ac.uk/60313/

https://kar.kent.ac.uk/66675/

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Thanks. I will check it out.

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