Narrating self and topicality in AY and Elenu’s stand-up comedy

Azeez Akinwumi Sesan

Abstract


The narrative pattern and discursive strategies of stand-up comedy in Nigeria reveal some tropes and motifs that are contemporary to the socio-political realities of the country. These narrative/discursive strategies demonstrate three discourse types: salutation/greeting discourse, reporting discourse and informing discourse. With these discourse types, stand-up comedians use themselves as the victims of the jokes in order to evoke laughter in the audience. The performances of stand-up comedy, however, have not been accorded due recognition of the functional arts that can be used to critique the failure of the ruling elite in the Nigerian State. This is because stand-up comedy is class-selective and occasion-driven. To evoke laughter in the audience and to comment on the reality of existence, stand-up comedians deploy language aesthetics, kinesics and atmosphere. The modal transition from pure oral stage to the technological phase of performance informs the conceptualisation of media mediated performance (MMP) through recorded VCDs/DVDs and the social media. Data on the stand-up comedy of AY and Elenu are collected through media mediated performances (MMP) on VCD. Data on the subject matter, topicality and discursive strategies of AY and Elenu’s (these are among ace stand-up comedians in Nigeria) jokes are analysed and discussed. With the subject matter and topicality of the jokes, this paper suggests that stand-up comedy performs the utilitarian functions of literary and performing arts. It entertains, moralises, satirises and educates members of heterogeneous audiences on some values and ethos of the contemporary Nigerian society.

The narrative pattern and discursive strategies of stand-up comedy in Nigeria reveal some tropes and motifs that are contemporary to the socio-political realities of the country. These narrative/discursive strategies demonstrate three discourse types: salutation/greeting discourse, reporting discourse and informing discourse. With these discourse types, stand-up comedians use themselves as the victims of the jokes in order to evoke laughter in the audience. The performances of stand-up comedy, however, have not been accorded due recognition of the functional arts that can be used to critique the failure of the ruling elite in the Nigerian State. This is because stand-up comedy is class-selective and occasion-driven. To evoke laughter in the audience and to comment on the reality of existence, stand-up comedians deploy language aesthetics, kinesics and atmosphere. The modal transition from pure oral stage to the technological phase of performance informs the conceptualisation of media mediated performance (MMP) through recorded VCDs/DVDs and the social media. Data on the stand-up comedy of AY and Elenu are collected through media mediated performances (MMP) on VCD. Data on the subject matter, topicality and discursive strategies of AY and Elenu’s (these are among ace stand-up comedians in Nigeria) jokes are analysed and discussed. With the subject matter and topicality of the jokes, this paper suggests that stand-up comedy performs the utilitarian functions of literary and performing arts. It entertains, moralises, satirises and educates members of heterogeneous audiences on some values and ethos of the contemporary Nigerian society.


Keywords


Stand-up comedy, AY show, solo performance, media mediated performance, oral performance

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2018.6.4.319.XXX

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