Punching Up in Stand-Up Comedy
Speaking Truth to Power
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Punching Up in Stand-Up Comedy explores the new forms, voices and venues of stand-up comedy in different parts of the world and its potential role as a counterhegemonic tool for satire, commentary and expression of identity especially for the disempowered or marginalised.
The title brings together essays and perspectives on stand-up and satire from different cultural and political contexts across the world which raise pertinent issues regarding its role in contemporary times, especially with the increased presence of OTT platforms and internet penetration that allows for easy access to this art form. It examines the theoretical understanding of the different aspects of the humour, aesthetics and politics of stand-up comedy, as well as the exploration of race, gender, politics and conflicts, urban culture and LGBTQ+ identities in countries such as Indonesia, Finland, France, Iran, and India. It also asks the question whether along with contesting and destabilizing existing discursive frameworks and identities, a stand-up comic can open up a space for envisaging a new social, cultural and political order?
This book will appeal to people interested in performance and performance studies. It will also be of interest to students and researchers of media, popular culture, digital culture, sociology, digital sociology and anthropology, and English literature.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Which Direction Do We Punch? The Powers and Perils of Humor Against the New Conspiracism 3. Relatability and the Varieties of Phaticity in Stand-Up Comedy 4. Voices from the Comedy Contact Zone: Regarding Performative Strategies Toward Race and the Transnational Body 5. Standing Up For Speaking Up: Stand-up Comedy in Indonesian Context 6. Standing-Up for a Cause: The Power of Stand-Up Comedy to Raise Awareness about Blood Donation 7. Jamel Comedy Club: (mis)understanding comedy’s place in French urban culture 8. The Revolution Will Be a Joke: Semiotic Ideologies of Morality and Transgression in Finnish Stand-Up Comedy 9. Stand-up comedy as escape 10. Humor as Antihistamine in the Discourse of Persian Stand-up Comedy: Female Stand up Comedians in Iran 11. Women and Stand-up Comedy in India: Performing Personal, Situated Comedy 12. Time is Up for Irony: Notes on Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, Feminism and The Culture Industry
Rashi Bhargava is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi. She completed her doctorate from the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research interests include politics and culture in North-East India, sociology of gender and urban spaces, visual culture and disciplinary practices of sociology and social anthropology in South Asia. Her recent publications include Social Scientist in South Asia: Personal Narratives, Social Forces and Negotiations co-edited with Achla Pritam Tandon and Gopi Tripathy and Materiality and Visuality in North East India: An Interdisciplinary Perspective co-edited with Tiplut Nongbri.
Richa Chilana is currently teaching at the School of Liberal Studies, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun as an Assistant Professor. She has a decade long experience of teaching English Literature at the Department of English, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi. Her doctoral thesis titled "Negotiating the Veil: Purdah in Twentieth Century Indian English Writing" (Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University) engaged with the complexities of purdah as a garment, an ideology and division of space on the basis of gender. She has taught, has an avid interest and has published research articles and book chapters in the fields of gender studies, Indian English writing, popular fiction and literature and cinema.
‘The current times are such that one must stand up and be counted, stare straight into the eyes of the nefarious powers that be, throw punchlines well above one's weight, and laugh out loud. And this is what this very timely book teaches and beseeches us to do. A must-read for all those who, even in these grim times, believe that truth must be spoken to power, and that too with a smile, nay a guffaw!’
Professor Saugata Bhaduri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
‘This intricate analysis of punching up is timely and fascinating. The contributors use diverse methods and approaches to explore what it means to punch up across a range of contexts. The international focus is particularly welcome, with discussion of both established stand-up comedy scenes and more recent additions to stand-up’s increasingly global presence. A brilliant book.’
Dr Sophie Quirk, University of Kent, UK