Edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec
[Topics in Humor Research 7] 2018
► pp. 29–56
Chapter 2. Reactions to jab lines in conversational storytelling
The aim of this paper is to explore the multiple ways interlocutors negotiate humor in a conversational narrative. In particular, we examine the methodic strategies story recipients employ to respond to jab lines, namely humorous parts of the story that include a script opposition (Attardo, 2001a). Drawing on conversation analytic methods, we argue that story participants “do” humor via (a) immediate jab line responses, i.e. responses which immediately follow the presentation of the humorous events and display mutual understanding such as laughter, wordplay and evaluative comments of support; and (b) postponed jab line responses, where story recipients first elaborate on the unexpected narrated events through understanding checks or demonstrations of ritualized disbelief, and then express their (non)alignment.