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Invitations to laughter : a microanalysis of televised stand-up comedy performances

Wells, Pam (2007) Invitations to laughter : a microanalysis of televised stand-up comedy performances. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis set out to identify the various techniques used by stand-up comedians to invite laughter and other affiliative responses from their audiences. A corpus of 13 televised stand-up comedy performances was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively, and comparative analyses of different audience responses (including laughter and applause) were presented. Coding schemes that had been designed for analysing audience applause during political speeches were found to account for many of the audience responses during stand-up comedy performances, but differences between both performer and audience behaviours in the two genres were also identified. A taxonomy of comedy invitation devices was proposed, containing 16 different verbal and non-verbal invitational techniques that were observed in the corpus. In a quantitative comparison of two ofthese, no statistical difference was found between the invitational use of gestures and standard rhetorical devices, although both techniques were used during all of the performances in the corpus. An analysis ofpotential forms of disaffiliation suggested that non-responses were more disaffiliative than either uninvited responses or invited responses ofweak affiliation intensity. Finally, a number of ways of identifying skill as a stand-up comedian were proposed, including the use of subtle invitational cues, combining several comedy invitation devices at salient response invitation points, and moving on swiftly and fluently when laughter invitations are not taken up by the audience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.490312
Depositing User: EThOS Import (York)
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 16:58
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 16:58
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11076

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