Edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec
[Topics in Humor Research 7] 2018
► pp. 105–126
Chapter 5. Laughing at you or laughing with you?
Humor negotiation in intercultural stand-up comedy
This study focuses on stand-up comedy in English at Rome’s Comedy Club and investigates how the comedians and the audience deal with humor based on stereotypes about Italians and foreigners living in Italy (e.g. culture shock, cultural differences and identity issues). Moreover, this article discusses how comedians and the audience interact (mostly in English and sometimes in Italian) and negotiate humor regarding sensitive topics. The data analysis demonstrates that the comedians consciously exploit the context and accommodate to the audience to guarantee a positive response. In turn, the audience’s sense of superiority is fulfilled by the comedian’s general disparagement (e.g. of others, celebrities) and self-disparagement (e.g. of comedians in general). Most importantly, the audience shows that it does not take audience-disparagement at face value.