Edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec
[Topics in Humor Research 7] 2018
► pp. 127–152
Chapter 6. Teasing as audience engagement
Setting up the unexpected during television comedy monologues
This paper explores teasing – a type of humorous play associated with intimate, everyday conversation – during televised comedy monologue performances. Thirteen teasing instances, which occurred during joke setup sequences and targeted studio audiences, were transcribed/analyzed alongside videos for: (1) what occasioned the teasing, (2) teasing sequence characteristics, and (3) their social functions. Results indicate that teasing in this genre is occasioned by discursive context (audience responses) rather than interpersonal knowledge; exploits miming/transposition, placing audiences’ words/actions on-stage; and serves to break down rather than reinforce discursive hierarchical differences (i.e. rights to performance floor), engaging studio audiences more fully into the show. Finally, audience teasing during joke setups contributes to expectations of “expecting the unexpected” (Lockyer & Myers, 2011) for media and studio comedy audiences.