AbstractMasking is a phenomenon that is traced to almost all human ages. From its prehistoric and primitive narratives in Africa, its dramatic beginnings in ancient Greece and Rome, to its use as forms of character delineation in the commedia dell’Arte of the 16th and 18th century Europe, as well as its age long association with carnivals due largely to its analogous to humour and entertainment. Masking, as comic as it may seem, has been critical of humanity’s social dispositions from time past. As humans, the façade of the mask is a leeway to speak truth to power and also an opportunity for the performance of self in ways that are at variant with the real self. As topical as the activities of the masquerade are to the society, no academic quest has been directed to investigate how humour and satire have always been associated with the masquerade. Following the social criticism, humour and entertainment which have become evidently inherent in the emergent stand-up comedy, scholars have directed their critical attention towards this new live theatre without considering the humorous functions of the masquerade for an academic enquiry. It is against this backdrop that this paper has decided to investigate and re-establish historically the humorous contributions of the masking art in almost all facets of human conditions. The resources for the paper were a combination of library and historical research. The paper established that satire and humour, as enjoyed in all venues of stand-up comedy acts in Nigeria, are just a contemporary addition to what masks had done in the past but for dearth of proper documentation of these contributions. The masking tradition has been a source of humour and sarcasm to issues bordering on human relations all over the world
Abrams, H.M. (1981). A Glossary of Literary Terms. London: Holt, Reinehart and Wiston Ltd.
Amali, I. (1992). ‘Indigenous Nigerian oral drama as an instrument of social regulation: a study of Ogbllo secret society of Idoma’. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies 20 (1), pp. 56-67.
Ayakoroma, B. (2013). ‘The rise of stand-up comedy genre in Nigeria: from nothing to something in artistic entertainment’. A paper delivered at the society of Nigeria theatre artists (SONTA) annual conference with the theme, “Quality assurance: theatre, drama & film” at Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria, from 4-8, June.
Bamidele, O. L. (2001). Comedy: Essays and Studies. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd.
Barnet, S., Berman M. & Burton W. (eds.) (1972). Type of Drama, Plays and Essays. Boston: Little Brown and Boston.
Bennett, M. (2012). ‘The mask of commedia dell’arte, Noh theatre and classical Greece: The Cultural Meanings, Influence and Similarities’. [Accessed on 6th October, 2017.]
Bergson, H. (1911). Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. (Translated) Paris: Temple of Earth Publishing.
Carrel, A. (2008). ‘Historical views of humour’, in Raskin, V. (ed.), The Primer of Humour, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 303-332.
Encyclopedia Britannica online: www.britannica.com/art/mask-face-covering/the-functions-and-forms/of. [Accessed on 24th September, 2017.]
Enekwe, O. (1987). Igbo Masks: The Oneness of Ritual and Theatre. Lagos: Nigeria Magazine
Felner, M. and Orenstein, C. (2006). The World of Theatre: Tradition and Innovation. New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Gifford, P. (1981). ‘Humour and the French mind: towards a reciprocal definition’. Modern Language Review. 76.3, pp. 534-548.
Haigh, A. E. (1907). The Attic Theatre. 3d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Jenkins, I. (1994). ‘Face value: the mask in Greece and Rome’. In Mack, J. (ed.), Mask and the Art of Expression, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., pp. 150-168.
Kitto, H. D. F. (1960). Form and Meaning in Drama. New York: Barnes and Noble.
Knuuttila, S. (2010). ‘How humour makes a difference.’ Folklore 46, pp. 33-42.
Mechlem, C. (2008). ‘The uses of humour: where being funny is a serious thing’. http://usesofhumor.blogspot.com.ng/2008/10/bergson-and-relation-to-humor.html. [Accessed on 30th November, 2018.]
Mercier, V. (1969). The Irish Comic Tradition. London: Oxford University Press.
Mitchell, M. A. (1985). ‘The development of the mask as a critical tool for an examination of character and performer action’. Dissertation. Texas Tech University.
Moody, B. (1968). Literary Appreciation: A Practical Guide to the Understanding and Enforcement of Literature in English. London: Longmans Group Ltd.
Nwankwo, I. (2013). ‘Stand-up comedy as a new form of live theatre in Nigeria’. Dissertation. University of Ibadan.
Obadare, E. (2009). ‘The use of ridicule: Humour, “infrapolitics” and civil society in Nigeria’. African Arts, 108/431, pp. 241-261.
Ododo, S. E. (2001). ‘Theatrical aesthetics and functional values of Ekuechi masquerade ensemble of the Ebira people in Nigeria’. Africa Monograph. 22 (1), pp. 1-36.
Okoye, C. (2013). ‘”The body of my friend”: liminal presence in Igbo masquerade theatre’. AMA: Journal of Theatre and Cultural Studies, 8 (1), pp. 1-17.
Onyerionwu, E. (2013). ‘Stand up comedy as a pop art’. Vanguard News Nigeria, 19 May 2013. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/05/stand-up-comedy-as-a-pop-art/. [Accessed on 30th November, 2018.]
Ottenberg, S. (1975). The Masked Rituals of Afikpo: The Context of an African Art. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Ottenberg, S. (2006). ‘Humorous masks and serious politics among Afikpo Ibo’, in Falola, T. (ed.), Igbo Arts and Culture and Other Essays by Simon Ottenberg, Trenton, New Jersey: African World Press, Inc.
Schechner, R. (1988). Performance Theory. London & New York: Routledge.
Sinfield, Alan (1983) (ed.) Society and Literature 1945-1970. London: Methuen.
Turner, V. (1986). The Anthropology of Performance. New York: PAJ Publications.
Udaka, M. (2010). The Secrets of Noh Masks. Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd.
Ukaegbu, V. (1996). ‘The composite scene: the aesthetics of Igbo mask theatre’. Dissertation. University of Plymouth.
Vanbrugh, J. (1697). The Provoked Wife. (No publisher’s details.)
Wilson, E. (2001). The Theatre Experience. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.