2019 - 22nd Annual Steven Galovich Memorial Student Symposium

Presentation Title

Phenomenology of Stand-Up Comedy

Student Presenter(s) and Advisor

Corey A. Beckford, Lake Forest CollegeFollow

Department or Major

Philosophy

Location

Lillard 048

Abstract

Comedy is understudied in philosophy. One reason for this lack of serious philosophical work may be due to the elusive nature of comedy as art. It’s not serious, so we ought not to take it seriously. I claim, however, that we can study comedy, and needn’t adhere to the assumption that it is unworthy of philosophical analysis. In particular, scholars have largely ignored the issue of comic timing. To study comic timing, it might be helpful to turn to phenomenology, which is, in part, the study of the human experience of time. I’ll argue, in phenomenological terms, that stand-up comedy can achieve the same revelatory effect of truth as any other form of art, using Richard Pryor’s stand-up album Bicentennial Nigger as a paradigmatic example.

Presentation Type

Individual Presentation

Start Date

4-9-2019 1:00 PM

End Date

4-9-2019 2:15 PM

Panel

What is it? Philosophy at the Boundaries

Panel Moderator

Janet McCracken

Field of Study for Presentation

Cinema Studies, Communication, English, History, Philosophy, Psychology

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM Apr 9th, 2:15 PM

Phenomenology of Stand-Up Comedy

Lillard 048

Comedy is understudied in philosophy. One reason for this lack of serious philosophical work may be due to the elusive nature of comedy as art. It’s not serious, so we ought not to take it seriously. I claim, however, that we can study comedy, and needn’t adhere to the assumption that it is unworthy of philosophical analysis. In particular, scholars have largely ignored the issue of comic timing. To study comic timing, it might be helpful to turn to phenomenology, which is, in part, the study of the human experience of time. I’ll argue, in phenomenological terms, that stand-up comedy can achieve the same revelatory effect of truth as any other form of art, using Richard Pryor’s stand-up album Bicentennial Nigger as a paradigmatic example.