Stand-up comedy : a folkloristic approach

Brodie, Ian Bernard (2009) Stand-up comedy : a folkloristic approach. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Building on both a textual analysis and ethnographic fieldwork, this dissertation employs folkloristic analysis to examine stand-up comedy, a professional verbal comic performance with its roots in vernacular forms of talk. It requires an audience: all broadcasts and recordings of stand-up comedy without exception are recorded in front of a live audience, which makes it unique among popular culture forms. Working backward from this observation, it is evident that an audience is vital for performances, and that the stand-up comedy performance is a collaborative act between a comedian and an audience. It emulates the intimacy of face-to-face encounter, although it is made distant by the concrete division of performer from audience by virtue of it occurring on a stage, and subsequently by the spatiotemporal distancing of broadcasts and recordings. This dissertation examines the strategies through which the stand-up comedian reconciles intimacy and distance, through examining how the various media of stand-up comedy's dissemination - amplification, broadcasting, recording, and each of their respective variations - are adapted by and used by the comedian to replicate intimacy and bridge literal distance, and how the stand-up comedian develops a biography, a persona, and observations on the local and the universal which address cultural distance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8960
Item ID: 8960
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 373-404)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Folklore--Methodology; Folklore--Performance; Intimacy (Psychology) in the theater; Stand-up comedy

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