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Funny GirlsGuffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics$
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Michelle Ann Abate

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496820730

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496820730.001.0001

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“I Slant My Gags to the Lawrence Welk Gum Chewers”

“I Slant My Gags to the Lawrence Welk Gum Chewers”

Nancy and the Vaudeville Aesthetic

(p.41) Chapter 2 “I Slant My Gags to the Lawrence Welk Gum Chewers”
Funny Girls

Michelle Ann Abate

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter Two explores Ernie Bushmiller'sNancy.In what embodies an overlooked facet of the strip, many of its signature traits, central characters, and core qualities can be traced back to one the most popular modes of entertainment in the United States during the early twentieth century: vaudeville.From the gag humor employed throughout the comic and Nancy's penchant for linguistic misunderstandings to Sluggo's use of working-class dialect and the comedic exchanges that take place between him and Nancy, the strip is an amalgamation of vaudevillian elements. An understanding of the way in which vaudeville permeates Nancy helps to account for the tremendous appeal of the strip along with its longstanding low cultural esteem. At the same time, the elements of vaudeville that can be located within Nancy add a new facet to discussions of class, ethnicity, and race within the comic.

Keywords:   Ernie Bushmiller, Nancy comic strip, Vaudeville, Humor, Blackface minstrelsy, Race, class, and ethnicity

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