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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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What Is the Stand-Up Comedian?

What Is the Stand-Up Comedian?

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(p.129) Chapter 5 What Is the Stand-Up Comedian?
A Vulgar Art

Ian Brodie

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter delves into what the comedian says is a detached observer. In this manner, the stand-up comedian is seen as “outside” enough that what he or she has to say is interesting, as opposed to when the comedian is seen as “inside” enough to be permitted to speak frankly with, to, and, for the audience. The chapter argues that stand-up comedy is the professionalization of everyday talk, small talk, or “talking shit”—talk that exists in the informal realm of play and leisure and is distinguished from serious talk. Professionalization brings heightened expectations of consistent competency, particularly stemming from the comedian's place within an exchange economy. The stand-up comedian is, on one level, a professional tourist, endlessly casting his or her gaze on difference, to communicate that experience of difference to an ever-changing audience.

Keywords:   stand-up comedian, stand-up comedy, everyday talk, exchange economy, serious talk, professionalization, difference

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