Can we talk? The reframing of social permissions in the comedy of Joan Rivers

Journal article


Matte, Gerard and McFadyen, Ian. (2011). Can we talk? The reframing of social permissions in the comedy of Joan Rivers. Comedy Studies. 2(2), pp. 161 - 171. https://doi.org/10.1386/cost.2.2.161_1
AuthorsMatte, Gerard and McFadyen, Ian
Abstract

Theatrical performers enjoy a privileged position whereby they are permitted to perform actions and express utterances that would be generally unacceptable in everyday social communications. Stand-up comedy frames itself as a conversation between the comedian and the audience but explicitly breaches the normal rules of such interactions, notably the politeness maxims delineated by Leech, Grice, Levinson and others. In particular, Joan Rivers and other ‘insult’ comedians, such as Don Rickles, engage in what Brown and Levinson label ‘face-threatening actions’ that would normally elicit hostility but have the opposite effect in the context of the comedy performance. Comedians such as Rivers successfully reframe the rules of social interaction to grant themselves, and their audiences, permission to express, and enjoy expressing, feelings and attitudes normally branded as taboo.

Keywordscomedy; Joan Rivers; humour theory; politeness strategies; performance; audiences; taboos; language
Year2011
JournalComedy Studies
Journal citation2 (2), pp. 161 - 171
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN2040-610X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1386/cost.2.2.161_1
Page range161 - 171
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8v46w/can-we-talk-the-reframing-of-social-permissions-in-the-comedy-of-joan-rivers

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