An Analysis of Comedians and Humor Essay

An Analysis of Comedians and Humor Essay

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“Every joke has a kernel of truth.” A common saying such as this has numbed us to the reality of what jokes really are. Many comedians allow their outrageously dark thoughts to dictate their routines. Audiences listen waiting to hear ridiculous puns and jokes completely unaware of the twisted messages behind most punch lines. By analyzing comedians Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, Maz Jobrani, and Aries Spears through the frame of reference given by Professor Peter McGraw in “What Makes Things Funny,” we will understand the implicit message received through an explicit joke.
In order to understand the message being conveyed through humor, we need to explore the science of a joke. When analyzing the explicit message, it is categorized into 1 of 3 options. A joke can be benign, a violation, or a benign violation. Benignity occurs when the subject being discussed is not strongly committed to the norm, psychologically distant, or justifies an alternate explanation. Violations are best described by Professor Peter McGraw, “A violation threatens the way the world should be.” Two specified violations are social norms and moral norms. A benign violation is the perfect mixture of both. Another way to distinguish the message being delivered is by looking at the person presenting the ideas. Comedians have two strategies to deliver their jokes; the first is the Silverman. Sarah Silverman is a standup comedian who entertains the audience with the complete shock of every joke. She makes remarks no one has ever thought… or at least never said out loud. The second is the Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld intrigues the audience because his jokes are real life. Jerry’s moments are moments we have all had and he allows us to relate with the joke. Comedians may be d...


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...ign by straying from strongly committed norms in the United States. Maz Jobrani has used his knowledge and life experiences to help fight stereotypes and influence thinking. He is a prime example of positive implicit messages being conveyed through an explicit joke.
After analyzing Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, and Maz Jobrani we see the true genius it takes to be a successful comedian. Through their work, comedians have manipulated minds and infiltrated society’s way of thinking. Humor is a powerful tool and it is important to recognize the way it works so that positive messages can be sent to audiences rather than detrimental ones. Jokes and puns become an intricate cover-up to new thoughts and ideas. Next time we hear a comedian, we can remember the methods used to evaluate a routine and decide if we will support the implicit messages being conveyed by these goofballs.

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