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Stop Laughing... This Is Serious (ATOM study guide)

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Stop Laughing… This Is Serious is a three-part television series charting a course through the story of Australian comedy, featuring over sixty interviews with the men and women who make us laugh. Through a blend of social history, extensive archive material and intimate interviews with the country's most loved comedians, we travel via stand up, radio, television, theatre and film from Indigenous comedy to the new viral media jokers of today, revealing how humour, laughter and comedy are integral to our national identity.

By unpicking our cultural cringe, poking fun at our national identity, confronting hard truths and exploring our taboos, we come to realise that Australians' greatest characteristic is our ability to laugh at ourselves.

Narrated by Eric Bana, the series explores the development of Australian comedy through social and political change, examining the way humour has reflected and responded to multicultural Australia, gender issues and politics. Each episode moves seamlessly backwards and forwards through time, weaving contemporary comedy with early comedic performances, featuring insight and anecdotes from what Barry Humphries calls 'the cheering up business'.

The series explores how comedy ties us together as a nation, traversing generations and bridging cultural divides. We Aussies love to laugh at ourselves, our politics, our fellow Australians… are there are no sacred cows? Along the way the viewer will laugh but also come to appreciate the craft of our greatest comedians, who ultimately reveal important truths about the world in which we live.

Curriculum guidelines

Stop Laughing… This Is Serious would be suitable for secondary students studying The Arts, Humanities, Theatre Studies, Cultural Studies and English.

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