The Most Dangerous Job in the World

Inaugural lecture series of the Center for Cartooning and Low Comedy, Bremen

Recent cultural and political trends have brought about new restraints and challenges for cartoonists and comedians. Political caricature, in many contexts, has become a dangerous pursuit. Simultaneously, cultural and political life, has been emulating cartoons ever more closely. For the past four years, the most powerful nation has, arguably, been ruled by a cartoon character. And that’s not an exception. Think of your own country’s political elite. The number of real-world leaders or influential strategists who have been recruited from amongst comedians and entertainers is growing. Traditional forms of comedic subversion and criticism don’t have the effect they used to have. They have been adopted by the far right and the tech-elite. Print media, the natural habitat for cartoons, is eroding. Audiences don’t necessarily have a sense of a shared reality anymore, which is the necessary launch-pad for any joke. On many fronts, cartooning and joking have become complicated. But, we believe, they have also become more vital to our culture than ever.

In this lecture series, CCLC will invite a range of highly accomplished artists and theorists, who will discuss their individual approaches to cartooning and low comedy in the context of the strange reality we are trying to (uncomfortably) share.