‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back': characterizing Chris Lilley's YouTube audience
Erhart, Julia Gayley
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This essay investigates how consuming Australian comedian Chris Lilley's TV material on YouTube allows for different forms of participation than are allowed by the experience of watching Lilley's work on broadcast TV. It examines the themes that emerge in user comments and the nature of the pleasure that fans get from Lilley's shows, particularly involving the popular gender non-conformist and female characters, Mr G and Ja'mie. The essay refers back to an earlier essay by the same author, which noted the relative popularity of some of Lilley's characters with professional critics. While there was some congruence between the critical responses analysed in the earlier essay and YouTube users' assessments, there were also themes and responses specific to the YouTube usership (for instance, a relative dearth of homophobic commentary regarding Mr G's sexuality). In offering an analysis of fan-specific data, the essay accounts for the appeal of Lilley's satirical comedy to fan communities that do not typically feature in critical analyses of satirical media. By suggesting how user comments shape others' experiences of the entertainment, the essay re-positions YouTube fans as creators of culturally valuable material in their own right.