• Emil Styrbæk Møller
  • Søren Døssing Jensen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
This master's thesis deals with Danish stand-up comedy, specifically in relation to gender. It is grounded in social constructivism, and aims to examine how gender is constructed discursively within comedians acts, both explicitly and implicitly. Theoretically, this is accomplished mainly through the use of Membership Categorization Theory (via discourse analyst Elizabeth Stokoe), key terms including category-bound activities, category-tied predicates and category-activity “puzzles”. But other terms and theories, stemming from the domains of humor and discourse theory, are used as well. This includes discourse theorist Norman Faircloughs existential, propositional and value assumptions, supposedly put forth by any text; the sociologist John B. Thompsons critical theories about managing ideology through the use of language; as well as humor theory including Benign Violation Theory and General Theory of Verbal Humor.
The charity show Comedy Aid from 2016 constitutes the empirical basis for this analysis, as it showcases the acts of several popular Danish comedians within a relatively short time frame, and thus lends itself to a broad perspective of Danish stand-up comedy overall. This allows for a wide representation, and affords us the possibility to inspect if Danish stand-up comedians are very homogenous in their stylistic expression, or rather fragmentation, with major variations in style within this particular population. For ease of analysis, major portions of the material has been transcribed. Nonverbal cues, such as body language and tonality are not examined in-depth, as they are considered less important than the spoken content of the comedians, which is considered the major bearer of semantic content.
The analysis finds several gendered topics, including gender equality, marriage, relationships and sexuality, and uncovers both stereotypical and astereotypical constructions of gender within each of these, as well as potentially gendered instances humor, the relevance of which is hard to determine. The implications of these findings are discussed in a larger theoretical, psychological and societal perspective as well. From this discussion we conclude that humor can probably have negative effects on opinion formation, and suggest further study, as well as for a critical discussion of, and adopting a more critical stance towards stand-up in general, not just in a purely scientific context, but in society at large.
Publication date24 May 2017
Number of pages87
ID: 258226625