Publication details [#19624600]

Dynel, Marta. 2020. On Being Roasted, Toasted and Burned: : (Meta)pragmatics of Wendy's Twitter Humour. Journal of Pragmatics 166 : 1–14.
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Fast food chain Wendy's has a reputation for its salient humorous promotional campaign on Twitter involving snappy posts commonly called “roasting”. Based on a corpus of tweets posted by Wendy's and duly metapragmatically labelled “roast(ing)”, this paper examines the nature of the company's humour on Twitter. It is thus shown that only some part of the tweets that users and/or commentators deem roasting qualify as roasting in a technical sense (i.e. ritual jocular insults produced in the roastee's honour for the sake of joint amusement), showing the features of the classical roast and the contemporary online RoastMe practice. A large proportion of Wendy's tweets, characterised by creativity, should be seen as cases of witty retorts to users' various challenging tweets or teasing about other companies, a different type of humorous ritual. Still other posts qualify as genuinely aggressive jibes that disparage Wendy's competition. These jibes, as well as some of the retorts, are meant to communicate truthful critical meanings, rather than being merely playful tweets carried out in a humorous frame (the hallmark of roasting). The different forms of creative humour and high responsiveness to users' (non)humorous tweets make for the company's big following and user engagement on Twitter.