The language of Nigerian stand-up comedy


language alternation
stand-up comedy
Nigerian pidgin

How to Cite

Emmanuel Ogheneakpobor, E., & Mowarin, M. (2024). The language of Nigerian stand-up comedy. The European Journal of Humour Research, 12(2), 36–52.


Nigeria is complexly multilingual. Arising from this, Nigerian stand–up comedians employ a variety of linguistic strategies to communicate with the audience.  This research investigates the peculiarities of language use in Nigerian stand-up comedy by analysing patterns of code choices in the comic performances of four comedians. Because the stand-up comedy industry is predominant in the Southern part of Nigeria, the comedians chosen for this study are representative of the three geopolitical zones of southern Nigeria. The analysis of the data indicates that (1) although Nigerian stand-up comedians primarily use Nigerian Pidgin (NP) they also employ language alternation and code-switch between NP, English, and a variety of indigenous languages. (2) NP is mainly used in the oral medium. Consequently, features of orality: repetition, parallel structures, anaphora, lexical cushioning, semantic extension, metaphor imagery, sentence fragments, and rhetorical devices, are other dominant features of Nigerian stand-up comedy.


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