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A Vulgar ArtA New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy$
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Ian Brodie

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461824

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461824.001.0001

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Who Is a Stand-Up Comedian?

Who Is a Stand-Up Comedian?

The Social Identity

(p.64) Chapter 3 Who Is a Stand-Up Comedian?
A Vulgar Art

Ian Brodie

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on determining who the stand-up is by exploring some conceptions about what stand-up comedy is and what the stand-up comedian does. To identify oneself as a “stand-up comedian” is to assume a social identity with various connotations and expectations. Stand-up comedians understand themselves as cultural figures: they have an informed understanding on the role of the stand-up comedian in modern society. Referring to comedian Ron James as its primary example, the chapter examines how fans and comedians understand the role of the comedian and comedy through the lens of vernacular theory. It then turns to a study of the narratives that comedians tell about themselves, which complement their onstage performances of non-autobiographic material. These narratives frame the performed material for the audience, providing the lens through which it is meant to be interpreted.

Keywords:   stand-up comedian, social identity, cultural figures, modern society, Ron James, comedy, vernacular theory

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