Researchers have pointed out that rhetorical strategies have a significant impact on producing humour in Chinese talk shows, while few of them have investigated the factors that affect the rhetorical choice in humorous discourse in that context. This study aims to identify the rhetorical strategies used in humorous discourse and investigate the factors that impact on the rhetorical strategies chosen by the hosts or comedians to produce humour. Thus, the current study selected 24 monologue samples from a popular programme called Rock & Roast and conducted a discourse analysis on them. Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical theory is adopted to uncover the factors that influence rhetorical choice in the humorous discourse of Chinese talk shows. The findings reveal that the realisation of rhetorical strategies in the humorous discourse of talk shows is rich, including rhetorical devices, foreign language (English), and internet buzzwords, among other things. The main factors influencing the rhetorical strategies chosen in the humorous discourse in Chinese talk shows are the ‘ratio’ of ‘agent and agency,' which are talk show comedians and the Chinese language. This study contributes to helping the audience gain a better understanding of rhetorical humour in Chinese talk shows and provides a new perspective for humorous discourse analysis.
Alvesson, M. & Kärreman, D. (2011). ‘Decolonializing discourse: critical reflections on organizational discourse analysis’. Human Relations 64 (9), pp. 1121-1146.
Aristotle (1984). The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, trans. W. Rhys Roberts. ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Aristotle (2004). Rhetoric. trans. W. Rhys Roberts. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
Aytan, A., Aynur, B., Hila, P., Aytac, E. & Malahat, A. (2021). ‘Euphemisms and dysphemisms as language means implementing rhetorical strategies in political discourse’. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies 17 (2), pp. 741–754.
Burke, K. (1945). A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Burke, K. (1969). A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Burke, K. (1967). ‘Rhetoric—old and new’. in Steinmann, M. Jr. (ed.)., New Rhetorics. New York: Scribner’s Sons.
Bu, S. Z. (2014). A Study of Humorous Rhetoric in Huang Zihua’s Stand-up Comedy. Jinan: University of Jinan MA thesis.
Bernardi, R. (2017). ‘Challenging dominant frames in policies for IS innovation in healthcare through rhetorical strategies’. Journal of the AIS 18 (2), pp. 81–112.
Chen, M. M. (2019). ‘Analysis of the production mechanism of humorous language in talk shows violating the politeness principle’. Journal of Ka Shi University 39 (2), pp. 46-49.
Cholid, C., Choiriyati, W. & Al Khazim, I. (2019, August). ‘Rhetoric narrative in Prabowo. National speech 2019’, in Proceedings of The First International Conference on Administration Science. ICAS 2019, pp. 253-258.
Deng, Z.Y. (2011). ‘On the affinity between Burke’s and Aristotle’s rhetoric in terms of operative mechanism’. Foreign Language and Literature 27 (4), pp. 45-50.
Fang, S. S. (2011). A Study on the Rhetorical Strategy of Zhao Benshan’s Spring Festival Skit Language. Qufu: Qufu Normal University MA thesis.
Geng, Y. C. (2017). The Theory of the Localization of Chinese Talk Shows. Guangxi: Guangxi Normal University MA thesis.
Hao, Z. H. (2018). Discourse Analysis of the Web-Based Talk Show Roast. Hebei: Hebei University MA thesis.
Hu, T. (2020). ‘Rhetorical analysis based on the humorous language in “Rock and Roast”’. Chinese Character Culture 26 (15), pp. 66-67.
Herrick, J.A. (2018). The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
Huo, Y. D. (2021). ‘An analysis of the third season of “Talk Show Conference” from the perspective of media text and media audience criticism’. Public Communication of Science Technology 6 (4), pp. 65-67.
Jiang, W. T. (2021). ‘A rhetorical study of humorous language in talk shows’. Sheng Ping Shi Jie 5 (9), pp. 59-61.
Ju, Y. M. (2004). Communication As Action: Discourse Analysis from the Perspective of Burkean New Rhetoric. Shanghai: Shanghai International Studies University MA thesis.
Ko, H. C. (2015). ‘Political persuasion: adopting Aristotelian rhetoric in public policy debate strategies’. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 5 (10), pp. 114-123.
Liu, C., Chen, S. & Shao, Q. (2019). ‘Do CEO rhetorical strategies affect corporate social performance? Evidence from China’. Sustainability 11 (18), pp. 4907.
Mueller, F., Sillince, J., Harvey, C. & Howorth, C. (2004). ‘”A rounded picture is what we need”: rhetorical strategies, arguments, and the negotiation of change in a UK hospital trust’. Organization Studies 25 (1), pp. 75-93.
Marta, M. M. (2019). ‘Research article sections: functions and rhetorical strategies’. Multiculturalism through the Lenses of Literary Discourse 148, pp. 98-104.
Mubarak, A. S. & Rhaif, K. K. (2021). ‘Investigating pragma-rhetorical strategies utilized by American commencement speakers to motivate graduates for managing future opportunities and challenges’. Linguistics and Culture Review 5 (S1), pp. 342-362.
Pm, K., Khaemba, J. & Gachigua, S. (2019). ‘The commodification of religion: A rhetorical analysis charismatic programmes in Kenya’. Saudi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 4 (6), pp. 418-425.
Ripley, J. M. (2020). A Simplified Analysis of Scapegoating Rhetoric in Political Speeches With Kenneth Burke’ s Pentad System. CA: California State University, Long Beach MA thesis..
Sarma, S. K. (2017). ‘Rhetorical strategies in Indian commercial microfinance’. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 37 (9-10), pp. 572-590.
Švobaitė, J. (2018). Rhetorical strategies in Donald Trump’s and Dalia Grybauskaitė’s political speeches. Lithuanian: Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences MA thesis.
Timberg, B. M. & Erler, B. (2002). Television Talk: A History of the TV talk show. Texas: University of Texas Press.
Troje, D. (2018). ‘Rhetorical strategies to diffuse social procurement in construction’, in Proceedings of the 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2018, Belfast, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management: Belfast, UK
Tu, L.Y. & Luo, B. (2021). ‘An analysis of women’s discourse in online talk shows - take the third season of “Talk Show Conference” as an example’. Radio & TV Journal 3 (6), pp. 58-59.
Wang, Z. (2019). ‘A rhetorical study of the art of humour language - taking “Qi Pa Shuo” as an example’. Journal of News Research 3 (16), pp. 91-134.
Wachsmuth, H., Stede, M., El Baff, R., Al Khatib, K., Skeppstedt, M. & Stein, B. (2018, August). ‘Argumentation synthesis following rhetorical strategies’, in Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (pp. 3753-3765).
Zhang, P. (2019). A Study on Pragmatic Strategies of Ridicule Language in the Online Talk Show Programme “Tu Cao conference”. Wuhan: Central China Normal University MA thesis.
Zhou, M. L. (2015). ‘From the violation of the cooperative principle to see the humour in Huang Xi's Talk Show’. Hebei Enterprise 8, pp. 90.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2022 The European Journal of Humour Research