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Comedy as controlling language

According to cultural analyst Susan Purdie, the true aim of humor is to regulate language and meaning. When comedians command a podium, they assume a position of power.

In civic society, this mantle, I suggest, should come with an ethical obligation not to be abused. Comedy's societal legitimacy and contribution — its demonstrated effectiveness as a force for good change — stem from its ability to punch up rather than kick down.

Comedy is a social corrective that highlights the disparity between what is (injustice, poverty, environmental devastation) and what some believe it should be (fairness, equal opportunity, pleasant breezes). This chasm, which may be the biggest mass example of cognitive dissonance in history, remains our ever-present dualism.

Comedy encourages fresh ideas and gives hope in bridging this divide and inspiring constructive change. That means punching up to call out abuse rather than kicking down to perpetuate it.

Racial comments like those hurled by Rich Vos towards Indigenous audience members conjure up images of Roman emperors remarking on malnourished Christians preparing pathetic dinners for the lions. Vos committed a second cardinal fault in comedy by claiming ignorance of the violence faced by Indigenous women in Winnipeg, which has Canada's biggest Indigenous population: no research!

So, what can we learn from this about the function of humour in public discourse?

The comedian's loftiest mission could be to "speak the truth, but not to punish." However, humour may act as a correction, a cream-pie salve for a social rash, encouraging us to a gentler way of life.

At its finest, humor can connect, unite, and heal, rather than separate, bully, and prolong the exact problems it is well positioned to help us overcome. Comedy, like its eternal weapon, the whoopee-cushion, should bring us all up at its heart (even while confronting our numerous imperfections).

With all that said: Yonkers Comedy Club and its great ambiance provide all types of great talent an opportunity to come on board and entertain the audience of the club.

Yonkers Comedy Club is your go-to place if you are becoming a comedian, or want to explore yourself in the domain, we have many occasions where it could be a learning curve for you and we can definitely empower your talent in the best way.

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1 Comment

T Sullivan
T Sullivan
Oct 14, 2023

Yonkers Comedy Club refuses to refund money on tickets that were bogus.

They keep giving the run around rather than address the

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