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Recognized primarily for its commercial breakthrough, Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap (USA, 1984), the music mockumentary genre comprises dozens of films addressing a range of musical styles and performers in comedic ways. This chapter presents a genealogy of the music mockumentary, detailing its successes, limits, and potential in the contemporary history of film and television comedy. Styled primarily upon the rockumentary genre, the basic premise of the music mockumentary is comedic engagement with the world of popular music through satire, farce, or parody, using the representational strategies of nonfiction. The format leverages the audience’s knowledge of the codes and conventions of the rockumentary genre and, more generally, those of popular music, to establish and deliver its comedic premise.
Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of Pages
humor in music, popular music, history and criticism.
Arts and Humanities | Music
Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (FHASS)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Baker, Michael Brendan and Lester, Peter, "It’s Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever: A Genealogy of the Music Mockumentary" (2019). Books & Chapters. 9.
Baker, M.B. & Lester, P. (2019) It’s Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever: A Genealogy of the Music Mockumentary. In Kitts, T. M., & Baxter-Moore, N. The routledge companion to popular music and humor. (257-265). London;New York;: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.