Presentation on theme: "The Sociology of Comedy Popular Culture Fall 2012 Robert Wonser."— Presentation transcript:
The Sociology of Comedy Popular Culture Fall 2012 Robert Wonser
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy2 Why is Comedy Funny? Which comedians do you find funny and why? Humor is found by those who share things; history, values, norms, beliefs, traditions, customs etc (that is, culture). Are Germans really the most unfunny people in the world?
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy3 South Park: Germans Least Funny
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy4 What Makes Something Funny What makes something funny when we share the requisite knowledge? Incongruence Think about how boring everyday life is, until something unexpected happens Jokes told by comedians are like mini-breaching experiments and the comedian is like an ethnomethodologist
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy5 Breaking Norms is Funny Norms are rules for behavior in society. Rules aren’t fun or funny. Pushing the boundary or edgy (operating at the edge of respectability) comedy plays with these norms. This is where the funny is. 7 words
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy6 Durkheim wasn’t very Funny Deviance clarifies moral boundaries by highlighting them. So does telling a joke about something ‘inappropriate’. And doesn’t ‘inappropriate’ vary by the audience?
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy7 Clive Clemons/Conan Inappropriate Response Channel
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy8 Telling and listening to jokes allows us tip toe around the moral boundaries of our group (including society). Playfully deviating in accepted form Especially as audience we can absolve ourselves of wrongdoing (after all we didn’t tell the joke) and even condemn the joke teller. Daniel Tosh’s rape joke
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy9 Cultural Capital Cultural capital is the groundwork for getting a joke. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report aren’t very funny to those who don’t follow politics.
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy10 That Joke isn’t Funny any more! What makes a joke no longer funny? Once people have heard it it is no longer ‘unexpected’ Favorite song; has to be played in concert, favorite joke; never retold (because it is not funny anymore!).
SOC 86: The Sociology of Comedy11 Some Examples: Seinfeld