The interactional context of humor in Nigerian stand-up comedy

Akin Adetunji

Abstract

Research in the pragmatics of Nigerian humor is almost nil. This article, therefore, highlighted the major pragmatic strategies used by Nigerian stand-up comedians to involve their audiences in the creation of the interactional context of humor. Data comprised fifteen randomly-sampled extracts from the video compact disc recordings of the routines of five stand-up comedians. Analysis revealed the saliency of linguistic coding, stereotyping, formulas, call-and-response, self-deprecation, and shared experiences which not only involved both comedian and audience in humor production and consumption but which additionally reduced the stage authority of the comedian to the barest minimum. It was concluded that Nigerian stand-up comedy’s interactional tenor could be uniquely hinged on linguistic coding, essentially the code-alternation of Nigerian Pidgin (especially) and English Language.

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