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Pragmatic Aspects of Humour in Eddie Izzard‘s Stand-Up Routines


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Stanko, Zorana. (2015). Pragmatic Aspects of Humour in Eddie Izzard‘s Stand-Up Routines. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan].

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The primary objective of this paper is to describe humour strategies frequently employed by comedian Eddie Izzard to elicit laughter from his audiences. A group of three principal humour theories is taken into account: incongruity, superiority, and release theory, along with the theory of conceptual blending, to explore how the comedian‘s humour is created, perceived, and understood from various linguistic perspectives. Certain characteristics of the stand-up genre are also addressed, namely its key communicative features and the interactive processes involved in the model of stand-up comedy. This paper also explores the role of pragmatic inferencing in processing the comedian‘s intended meanings and suggested comic ideas, and links it with verbal as well as non-verbal elements in Izzard‘s stand-up performances. The pragmatic analysis of a selected number of examples shows that Izzard employs a combination of incongruity, superiority, release, and/or blending tactics, coupled with improvised elements of linguistic and paralinguistic performance(s), to elicit laughter from his audiences. These tactics are multimodal in that Izzard creates, infers, and ultimately conveys his intended comic ideas and humorous messages on the basis of multimodal means – the witty quality of Izzard‘s humour tactics stems from associative multimodal input, whereby Izzard often complements verbal elements of his linguistic performance with non-verbal stage performance, and vice versa, to construe the comedy dynamics for an engaging and utmost entertaining stand-up show par excellence. The role of blending, it is suggested, contributes to the overall understanding of stand-up humour, since it allows for a more detailed analysis of both the material and the stand-up performance – not only does it explain multimodality, but it integrates it with(in) the theoretical humour framework, and allows for an inclusive view of comedy dynamics. By showing how meaning in stand-up comedy is conveyed and interpreted as humorous, this paper hopes to contribute to the pragmatic study of the stand-up genre and the study of humorous phenomena in general.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: humour, blending, pragmatics, stand-up comedy, multimodality
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 10:06
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2015 10:06

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