Publication details [#62912]

Seizer, Susan. 2017. Dialogic catharsis in standup comedy: Stewart Huff plays a bigot. Humor 30 (2) : 21–238.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
De Gruyter


This paper explores the cathartic creative process of a standup comic who recounts, in a video-taped interview with the author, the act of transforming a painful meeting with a bigot in a bar into the stuff of comedy. Through reflexive engagement with his own creative process, Stewart Huff recounts building a scenario that splits his experience into two voices, enacting a breakthrough into performance within the taped interview itself. Taking to heart Bakhtin’s insight that parody involves a hostile relation between the speaker and another, and that introducing someone else’s words into one's own speech results in a double-voiced narrative, this paper explores Huff’s performance as a classic example of double-voiced parody. The transformation from horror to humor is an empowering performative re-creation for the comedian that serves concurrently as humorous recreation for the comedy club audience. This article adds to extant scholarship on the effective use of parodic double-voicing and the possibilities it opens up for dialogic catharsis in comedic performance.