Until recently - with the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler achieving dazzling success with 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation - popular entertainment has rarely featured women comedians in leading roles.
Can comedy on television harbour elements of gender transgression or subversion? And if a man is permitted to be 'funny peculiar' - playing the underdog or misfit - does a woman seem stranger in his place?
Mapping examples from British and American comedy television over the past sixty years, from I Love Lucy to Roseanne and Absolutely Fabulous to Jam and Jerusalem, the book asks: are particular forms of television comedy gendered in specific ways?
Paying attention to performances and series yet to receive critical attention as well as more established shows, the book offers fresh insights for the fields of television studies, gender and women's studies, cultural history and comedy.