Parodic Revelry and “Sick” Humor in the 1950s Satiric Underground
This chapter focuses on the strain of “sick” humor and satire that aimed primarily at middle-class propriety and standards of “good” taste, America's obsession with psychological normalcy, and the commercial underpinnings of consumer culture. Anchoring the discussion here are readings of Tom Lehrer's songwriting; the radio and television performance of Ernie Kovacs, Sid Caesar, Henry Morgan, and Bob and Ray; the parody of Stan Freberg; and Harvey Kurtzman's MAD comics.
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