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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Mark Vail

Abstract

Since the 1970’s, stand-up comedy has been a prominent part of society. Stand-up comedy has grown and progressed with the rest of the world, but one of the things that has remained constant throughout this performance art is the need for one to possess the ability to persuade an audience. This paper looks to analyze how comedy acts as a rhetorical tool for society, using expectancy violation theory to do so. This paper also looks into what can build a connection between a comedian and his or her audience. It will also use the superiority, incongruity, and relief theories to discuss what makes comedy successful. This paper also seeks to rhetorically analyze comedy as a tool of persuasion, using the belief system of the ancient Greek rhetor Isocrates, putting into practice the findings through a text of an original stand-up comedy performance by the author.

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