Article published in:Metapragmatics of Humor: Current research trends
Edited by Leonor Ruiz-Gurillo
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 14] 2016
► pp. 177–189
Truthiness and consequences
A cognitive pragmatic analysis of Stephen Colbert’s satirical strategies and effects
Using a discourse perspective on the production and reception of satire, this paper comparatively examines the different satirical goals and audiences of Stephen Colbert’s ironic satire on The Colbert Report (TCR) and at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD). While some research suggests at least some viewers of TCR did not perceive it to be ironic satire, Colbert’s WHCD speech successfully and unambiguously achieved its satirical goals. The analysis shows that one possible explanation for the success of the speech, as opposed to the ambiguity of The Colbert Report, is that the speech’s structure facilitated both the immediate audience’s and potential mediated referee’s cognitive processing of satirical communication as described in Simpson’s (2003) discourse model of satire.
Keywords: discourse analysis, humor, irony, pragmatics, satire, Stephen Colbert
Published online: 24 November 2016
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