Positives and negatives: reclaiming the female body and self-deprecation in stand-up comedy

TOMSETT, Eleanor (2018). Positives and negatives: reclaiming the female body and self-deprecation in stand-up comedy. Comedy Studies, 9 (1), 6-18.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2018.1437167


Drawing on existing research into feminist humour, this article argues that many of the functions of self-deprecation within comic performance that have been identified and explored in relation to the American context of the late 90s and early 2000s are still evident on the current UK circuit. Self-deprecation in stand-up comedy by women continues to be understood as both positive (as part of the rise of popular feminisms) and negative (as reinforcing patriarchal norms). These contradictory understandings of self-deprecation in stand-up comedy are always inextricably linked to the identities of the audiences for such humour. I consider how emergent female stand-up performers may rationalise and understand the role self-deprecation plays within their own work in the current British context. I then discuss the work of stand-up comedian Luisa Omielan as an example of the rejection of self-deprecatory address. I make the argument that self-deprecation cannot function simply as positive or negative in the current UK context, but must always be considered (for both audiences and performers) as challenging and reinforcing restrictive patriarchal attitudes towards women simultaneously.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2018.1437167
Page Range: 6-18
Depositing User: Eleanor Tomsett
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 10:09
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:10
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18629

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