"This is generally followed by a blackout" power, resistance, and carnivalesque in television sketch comedy /

by McCosham, Anthony.

Abstract (Summary)
Becca Cragin, Advisor This thesis offers a genre analysis of North American television sketch comedy. While aiming to offer a proper characterization of the genre as a whole, it is specifically concerned with discussing and analyzing ways the genre negotiates power relationships, especially in its use of political and racial humor. Due to a paucity of scholarly work on sketch comedy, the paper’s initial focus is establishing a history of the development and conventions of television sketch comedy. Overall, the genre, with its mixture of parody and irreverent humor, is positioned as an example of Bakhtin’s carnivalesque that creates a heteroglossic discourse in which both “official” and “unofficial” cultural messages interact. With this interplay of heteroglossia and the carnivalesque in mind, the remainder of the paper examines the genre’s use of political and racial humor and how power is resisted within these comedic topics. The section on political sketch comedy explores to what degree political statements are possible in a corporate owned media environment. Similar limitations are explored in the chapter on racial humor, where the success and controversy of African-American created sketch shows have demonstrated the delicate balance of dealing humorously with stereotypes in a format largely controlled by and aimed at whites. Ultimately, this thesis claims that despite continuing struggles with certain institutional limitations, resistant humor is possible in television sketch comedy through the liberating powers of the medium and an active audience’s quest for such humor. iii For Sarah Jumbo, the elephant, loves Alice, the elephant. iv
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:comedy sketches television comedies and politics race relations on


Date of Publication:

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