1. bookVolume 14 (2020): Issue 2 (December 2020)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2228-0987
First Published
16 Apr 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Open Access

“The Path of the Comedian is Always Going to be a Lonely One”: Comedians’ Mediation Between Family Humour and Public Performance

Published Online: 21 Dec 2020
Volume & Issue: Volume 14 (2020) - Issue 2 (December 2020)
Page range: 1 - 16
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2228-0987
First Published
16 Apr 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The article* presents a study of the use of family humour in public comedy and the mutual influence of family humour and public humour on comedians’ performances and everyday life. The interrelations between these domains lie at the level of the content of humour, its format, its performance and the interaction between humour producers and their audience. Family and public humour often overlap and interweave in various ways, especially in the experience of those who engage in humour production both in public and in private spheres.

The study is informed by interviews with UK-based comedians on their family humorous folklore and its interrelation with their public humour performances. The interconnection between public and family humour was identified on several levels: textual, communicative, personal and conceptual.

This multidimensional interplay indicates that family humour is contingent on the context, but at the same time is often conditioned by comedians’ public personae and cannot be fully separated from the humour they perform publicly. The study illustrates the vagueness of the dichotomy between public comic performances and family humour and points to multiple ways in which the boundaries between these domains can become blurry.

Keywords

Ando, Victoria; Gordon Claridge and Ken Clark. 2014. Psychotic Traits in Comedians. – The British Journal of Psychiatry 204 (5): 341–345. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.134569.10.1192/bjp.bp.113.134569Search in Google Scholar

Alberts, Janet K. 1991. The Use of Humor in Managing Couples’ Conflict Interactions. – Intimates in Conflict: A Communication Perspective, edited by Dudley D. Cahn. London: Routledge, 105–120.Search in Google Scholar

Bell, Nancy D. 2009. Responses to Failed Humor. – Journal of Pragmatics 41 (9): 1825–1836. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.10.010.10.1016/j.pragma.2008.10.010Search in Google Scholar

Billig, Michael. 2005. Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humor. Thousand Oaks: Sage.10.4135/9781446211779Search in Google Scholar

Brock, Alexander. 2015. Participation Frameworks and Participation in Televised Sitcom, Candid Camera and Stand-up Comedy. – Participation in Public and Social Media Interactions, edited by Jan Chovanec and Marta Dynel. Amsterdam; Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 27–47. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.256.02bro.10.1075/pbns.256.02broSearch in Google Scholar

Brodie, Ian. 2014. A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-up Comedy. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14325/mississippi/9781628461824.001.0001.10.14325/mississippi/9781628461824.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Bronner, Simon J. 1984. “Let Me Tell It My Way”: Joke Telling by a Father and Son. – Western Folklore 43 (1): 18–36. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1499427.10.2307/1499427Search in Google Scholar

Dore, Margherita. 2018. Laughing at You or Laughing with You? Humour Negotiation and Inter-cultural Stand-up Comedy. – The Dynamics of Interactional Humor: Creating and Negotiating Humor in Everyday Encounters, edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec. Amsterdam; Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 105–126. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/thr.7.05dor.10.1075/thr.7.05dorSearch in Google Scholar

Double, Oliver. 1997. Stand Up: On Being a Comedian. London: Methuen Drama. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781408162811.10.5040/9781408162811Search in Google Scholar

Double, Oliver. 2005. Getting the Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-up Comedy. London: Methuen Drama.Search in Google Scholar

Everts, Elisa. 2003. Identifying a Particular Family Humor Style: A Sociolinguistic Discourse Analysis. – HumorInternational Journal of Humor Research 16 (4): 369–412. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.2003.021.10.1515/humr.2003.021Search in Google Scholar

Fiadotava, Anastasiya. 2018. Cooking with Humour: A Study of Belarusian Humorous Folklore about Family Cooking Traditions. – Folklore. Electronic Journal of Folklore 71: 89–112. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7592/FEJF2018.71.fiadotava.10.7592/FEJF2018.71.fiadotavaSearch in Google Scholar

Fiadotava, Anastasiya. 2020a. Sharing Humour Digitally in Family Communication. – European Journal of Humour Research 8 (1): 95–111. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2020.8.1.fiadotava.10.7592/EJHR2020.8.1.fiadotavaSearch in Google Scholar

Fiadotava, Anastasiya. 2020b. Family Humour in Contemporary Belarus: Forms, Practices and Vernacular Reflections. Phd Dissertation. University of Tartu. https://dspace.ut.ee/handle/10062/68369 (accessed September 8, 2020).Search in Google Scholar

Fiadotava, Anastasiya. 2020c. “If We Don’t Quarrel, We Joke”: Emic Perspectives on Belarusian Families’ Humorous Folklore. – HumorInternational Journal of Humor Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2019-0052.10.1515/humor-2019-0052Search in Google Scholar

Fine, Gary Alan. 1977. Humour in Situ: The Role of Humour in Small Group Culture. – It’s a Funny Thing, Humour, edited by Antony J. Chapman and Hugh C. Foot. Oxford; New York, NY: Pergamon Press, 315–318. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-021376-7.50060-7.10.1016/B978-0-08-021376-7.50060-7Search in Google Scholar

Fine, Gary Alan. 1979. Small Groups and Culture Creation: The Idioculture of Little League Baseball Teams. – American Sociological Review 44 (5): 733–745. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2094525.10.2307/2094525Search in Google Scholar

Fine, Gary Alan. 1984. Humorous Interaction and the Social Construction of Meaning: Making Sense in a Jocular Vein. – Studies in Symbolic Interaction 5: 83–101.Search in Google Scholar

Flamson, Thomas and H. Clark Barrett. 2008. The Encryption Theory of Humor: A Knowledge-based Mechanism of Honest Signaling. – Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 6 (4): 261–281. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1556/JEP.6.2008.4.2.10.1556/JEP.6.2008.4.2Search in Google Scholar

Gal, Susan. 2002. A Semiotics of the Public/Private Distinction. – differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 13 (1): 77–95. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-13-1-77.10.1215/10407391-13-1-77Search in Google Scholar

Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York, NY: Anchor; Random.Search in Google Scholar

Graham, Elizabeth E.; Michael J. Papa and Gordon P. Brooks. 1992. Functions of Humor in Conversation: Conceptualization and Measurement. – Western Journal of Communication 56 (2): 161–183. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10570319209374409.10.1080/10570319209374409Search in Google Scholar

Greenbaum, Andrea. 1999. Stand-up Comedy as Rhetorical Argument: An Investigation of Comic Culture. – HumorInternational Journal of Humor Research 12 (1): 33–46. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.1999.12.1.33.10.1515/humr.1999.12.1.33Search in Google Scholar

Greengross, Gil. 2009. In Search of Homo Humorous: Personality, Health, Humor Styles and Humor as a Mental Fitness Indicator in Stand-up Comedians and the Rest of Us. PhD dissertation. The University of New Mexico. https://search.proquest.com/openview/726adbd24c827f3586bbfef563b5ca39/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y (accessed June 1, 2020).Search in Google Scholar

Greengross, Gil; Rod A. Martin and Geoffrey Miller. 2012. Personality Traits, Intelligence, Humor Styles, and Humor Production Ability of Professional Stand-up Comedians Compared to College Students. – Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 6 (1): 74–82. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025774.10.1037/a0025774Search in Google Scholar

Hale, Adrian. 2018. “I Get It, But It’s Just Not Funny”: Why Humour Fails, After All Is Said and Done. – The European Journal of Humour Research 6 (1): 36–61. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2018.6.1.hale.10.7592/EJHR2018.6.1.haleSearch in Google Scholar

Janus, Samuel S. 1975. The Great Comedians: Personality and Other Factors. – The American Journal of Psychoanalysis 35 (2): 169–174. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01358189.10.1007/BF01358189Search in Google Scholar

Kalcĭk, Susan. 1975. “... Like Ann’s Gynecologist or the Time I Was Almost Raped”: Personal Narratives in Women’s Rap Groups. – The Journal of American Folklore 88 (347): 3–11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/539181.10.2307/539181Search in Google Scholar

Kuipers, Giselinde. 2006. Good Humor, Bad Taste: A Sociology of the Joke. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110898996.10.1515/9783110898996Search in Google Scholar

Kuipers, Giselinde. 2011. The Politics of Humour in the Public Sphere: Cartoons, Power and Modernity in the First Transnational Humour Scandal. – European Journal of Cultural Studies 14 (1): 63–80. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549410370072.10.1177/1367549410370072Search in Google Scholar

Limon, John. 2000. Stand-up Comedy in Theory, or, Abjection in America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1198z2t.10.2307/j.ctv1198z2tSearch in Google Scholar

Lindfors, Antti. 2019a. Cultivating Participation and the Varieties of Reflexivity in Stand-Up Comedy. – Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 29 (3): 276–293. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jola.12223.10.1111/jola.12223Search in Google Scholar

Lindfors, Antti. 2019b. Intimately Allegorical: The Poetics of Self-Mediation in Stand-Up Comedy. PhD Dissertation. University of Turku. https://www.utupub.fi/handle/10024/147073 (accessed September 8, 2020).Search in Google Scholar

Marsh, Moira. 2015. Practically Joking. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7330/9780874219845.10.7330/9780874219845Search in Google Scholar

Marx, Nick. 2016. Expanding the Brand: Race, Gender, and the Post-politics of Representation on Comedy Central. – Television & New Media 17 (3): 272–287. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476415577212.10.1177/1527476415577212Search in Google Scholar

Miles, Tim. 2014. No Greater Foe? Rethinking Emotion and Humour, With Particular Attention to the Relationship between Audience Members and Stand-up Comedians. – Comedy Studies 5 (1): 12–19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2014.905093.10.1080/2040610X.2014.905093Search in Google Scholar

Norrick, Neal R. 1994. Involvement and Joking in Conversation. – Journal of Pragmatics 22 (3): 409–430. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(94)90117-1.10.1016/0378-2166(94)90117-1Search in Google Scholar

Oring, Elliott. 1984. Dyadic Traditions. – Journal of Folklore Research 21 (1): 19–28.Search in Google Scholar

Oring, Elliott. 2003. Engaging Humor. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.Search in Google Scholar

Oring, Elliott. 2004. Risky Business: Political Jokes under Repressive Regimes. – Western Folklore 63 (3): 209–236.Search in Google Scholar

Paton, George E.; Chris Powell, Luciano Venezia and Kelly Frailing. 1988. Humour in Society: Resistance and Control. Houndmills; London: Macmillan Press.Search in Google Scholar

Quirk, Sophie. 2015. Why Stand-up Matters: How Comedians Manipulate and Influence. London; New Delhi: Bloomsbury Publishing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781472578969.10.5040/9781472578969Search in Google Scholar

Rutter, Jason. 1997. Stand-up as Interaction: Performance and Audience in Comedy Venues. A PhD dissertation. University of Salford. http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/14688/ (accessed September 4, 2020).Search in Google Scholar

Scarpetta, Fabiola and Anna Spagnolli. 2009. The Interactional Context of Humor in Stand-up Comedy. – Research on Language and Social Interaction 42 (3): 210–230. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08351810903089159.10.1080/08351810903089159Search in Google Scholar

Seizer, Susan. 2011. On the Uses of Obscenity in Live Stand-Up Comedy. – Anthropological Quarterly 84 (1): 209–234. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2011.0001.10.1353/anq.2011.0001Search in Google Scholar

Smith, Moira. 2009. Humor, Unlaughter, and Boundary Maintenance. – The Journal of American Folklore 122 (484): 148–171. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/jaf.0.0080.10.1353/jaf.0.0080Search in Google Scholar

Stebbins, Robert A. 1990. Laugh-Makers: Stand-Up Comedy as Art, Business, and Life-Style. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen’s Press.Search in Google Scholar

Stewart, Simon and David R. Thompson. 2015. Does Comedy Kill? A Retrospective, Longitudinal Cohort, Nested Case-control Study of Humour and Longevity in 53 British Comedians. – International Journal of Cardiology 180: 258–261. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.11.152.10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.11.152Search in Google Scholar

Titus, Christopher. 2004. Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding. – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3zmJHEX37Qj_Pd5kG7ErFwShJt3wWBdX (accessed July 10, 2020).Search in Google Scholar

Willis, Ken. 2005. Merry Hell: Humour Competence and Social Incompetence. – Beyond a Joke, edited by Sharon Lockyer and Michael Pickering. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 126–145. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230236776_7.10.1057/9780230236776_7Search in Google Scholar

Wilson, Glenn D.; John Rust and Judith Kasriel. 1977. Genetic and Family Origins of Humor Preferences: A Twin Study. – Psychological Reports 41 (2): 659–660. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1977.41.2.659.10.2466/pr0.1977.41.2.659Search in Google Scholar

Ziv, Avner and Orit Gadish. 1989. Humor and Marital Satisfaction. – The Journal of Social Psychology 129 (6): 759–768. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1989.9712084.10.1080/00224545.1989.9712084Search in Google Scholar

Ziv, Avner. 2010. The Social Function of Humor in Interpersonal Relationships. – Society 47 (1): 11–18. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-009-9283-9.10.1007/s12115-009-9283-9Search in Google Scholar

Zoglin, Richard. 2009. Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo