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This book analyses the growth of the American comedy film in relation to world events and cultural trends. This book uses large scale social and cultural trends and major world events to analyse the American comedy film. This is a historical and conceptual study discussing the comedy narrative, comic traditions, and role of visual culture. Grounded in the theoretical writing of Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio, Friedrich Kittler and Jacques Derrida, Ryan Bishop brings a new perspective to comedy in film suggesting that it is central to staging cultural criticism. He discusses themes such as repetition, automation, material systems of information media, the level of address in a communicative act, and the shifting role of the image. Close analysis of two films per chapter illustrate key points. Relevant both to film and cultural studies scholars. It provides an in-depth chronological treatment of the comedy genre in the US.