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Empathy and intimacy in stand-up comedy: how can the performer negotiate with an audience in order to encourage empathy and intimacy in stand-up comedy?

Gillespie, Tory (2019) Empathy and intimacy in stand-up comedy: how can the performer negotiate with an audience in order to encourage empathy and intimacy in stand-up comedy? Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:81735)

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Abstract

This thesis examines the use of empathy and intimacy in stand-up comedy. It considers the potential harm that these elements are often considered to bring to comedy, partly through an examination of existing theory and practice, but primarily via practice as research. Empathy is explored through the comedian's manipulation of the audience which is managed by the identification of specific tools and skills employed in the practice. Intimacy is used both physically and emotionally to make use of, at various points, the audience members' potential tension, feelings of solidarity and willingness to connect to the other people around them, as well as their willingness to connect with the performer. Performances designed, written and performed with the investigation in mind enable a targeted approach to the question and allow insight into the intention of the performer and how that translates (or doesn't) rather than the 'end goal' of whether or not the audience laughed. These stand-up comedy experiences include Ulster Loves Me! which was performed only once to curated audience and with a specific aim. Baby Madness is a Real Disease, however, was performed fourteen times to largely unpredictable audiences.

By demonstrating the potential benefits of utilising empathy and intimacy, including social inclusion, heightened theatrical experience and most importantly, comic effect, this thesis seeks to encourage the exploration of more intimate moments so often feared by comedians and audiences alike, suggesting that the tiniest of audiences are no enemy of stand-up comedy, but can be utilised as the conduit of a more enriching comedy experience.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Double, Oliver
Thesis advisor: May, Shaun
Uncontrolled keywords: stand-up comedy; theatre; performance as research
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2020 15:10 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 11:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/81735 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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