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University of South Florida

Theses/Dissertations

Communication

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Was It Something They Said? Stand-Up Comedy And Progressive Social Change, David M. Jenkins Jan 2015

Was It Something They Said? Stand-Up Comedy And Progressive Social Change, David M. Jenkins

Graduate Theses and Dissertations

From our earliest origins in every civilization across the globe, comic performances have fulfilled an important social function. Yet stand-up comedy has not attracted the serious academic inquiry one might expect. This dissertation argues that in the absence of public intellectuals stand-up comics are important to how we talk about and negotiate complicated issues like gender and race. These comic texts are sites of cultural critique, public discourse, tools for articulation, a means of persuasion, and serve to galvanize communities.

This dissertation argues that stand-up comedy performances are a vital part of modern American intellectual and social life and are ...