Sunday, February 17, 2013

Low Blows? Theorizing Performance in post-classical comedian comedy

Drake's main argument: Analysis of performance in comedian comedy adds depth to concept and can be used to understand performances of other genres

Understanding Performance

  • Graham Thompson - "mode of assessment," textual/character/actor interaction with audience
  • Performer first → Actor (recognized as celebrity, previous roles) → code/conventions (performance style, genre, typecasting)
  • Multiple semantic frames
  • Special decoding skill, specific to culture
Post Classical Comediam Comedy
  • Steve Seidman - "comedian comedy"
  • Centered on actors
  • Acknowledges role of comedian 
  • Opposition v. Hollywood
Performance and Narrative Motivation 
  • Comic performance - mode of performance 
  • Comedy performance - context/situation makes it funny
  • Loose narrative, logical justification 
    • Nutty Professor & Me, Myself, and Irene
  • Scenes for space "Look at me perform!"
    • Liar, Liar & Martin
  • Presentational mode of performance
    • SNL & In Living Color 
Physical Comedy, Ostentation, and Pastiche 
  • Jim Carrey - The Mask 
    • Cocobongo Club scene 
  • Autonomous - Bracketed sequence of performance, internal audience 
  • Integrated - Performance subject to narrative
  • Coherence holds little power 
Body Comedy and Cultural Value
  • Excessive v. Praised 
    • Low, dumbed down 
  • Social Disruption 
  • Quotation and intertextuality 
    • "Alrighty then!" - The Cable Guy/Ace Ventura
  • Laughter depends on orientation 
  • Audience witnesses/conspirators 
Dumbness of film less important then recognition of performer and references to his or her star image. 

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