Laughter, resistance and ambivalence in Trevor Noah's stand-up comedy: returning mimicry as mockeryCitation formats

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Laughter, resistance and ambivalence in Trevor Noah's stand-up comedy: returning mimicry as mockery. / Källstig, Amanda; Death, Carl.

In: Critical African Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3, 29.12.2021, p. 338-355.

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Källstig, Amanda ; Death, Carl. / Laughter, resistance and ambivalence in Trevor Noah's stand-up comedy: returning mimicry as mockery. In: Critical African Studies. 2021 ; Vol. 13, No. 3. pp. 338-355.

Bibtex

@article{c9eca8bacd6b4b109748ba63a6e9254c,
title = "Laughter, resistance and ambivalence in Trevor Noah's stand-up comedy: returning mimicry as mockery",
abstract = "This article explores how to understand stand-up comedy as a form of resistance in global politics, combining discussion of Homi Bhabha{\textquoteright}s concepts of ambivalence and mimicry with an examination of Trevor Noah{\textquoteright}s stand-up performances, in particular his material on race, disease and poverty. The article builds upon approaches which have interpreted comedy in terms of hidden transcripts, counter-discourses, and counter-conducts to argue that stand-up is serious politics. Notwithstanding his prominence and success, Noah{\textquoteright}s performances are an alternative to dominant, white, western and Eurocentric discourses of global politics, and can be understood as a form of {\textquoteleft}ambivalent mockery{\textquoteright} which both inhabit and subvert dominant power relations and discourses from within. In his routines race is reified and deconstructed; disease is tragic and laughable; poverty is lamentable, valorized, and misunderstood. Noah invokes, inhabits and challenges racist and racialized assumptions, performing a racial {\textquoteleft}in-between-ness{\textquoteright} ranging across black, mixed, coloured and white identities which subverts assumptions about stable categories of race and identity. Taking this comedy seriously enables important contradictions in assumptions about race, disease and poverty to be seen more vividly, and demonstrates how global politics is performed and resisted in diverse ways.",
keywords = "Africa, comedy, mimicry, post-colonialism, race, resistance",
author = "Amanda K{\"a}llstig and Carl Death",
note = "Publisher Copyright: {\textcopyright} 2020 Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh.",
year = "2021",
month = dec,
day = "29",
doi = "10.1080/21681392.2020.1743191",
language = "English",
volume = "13",
pages = "338--355",
journal = "Critical African Studies",
issn = "2168-1392",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Laughter, resistance and ambivalence in Trevor Noah's stand-up comedy: returning mimicry as mockery

AU - Källstig, Amanda

AU - Death, Carl

N1 - Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh.

PY - 2021/12/29

Y1 - 2021/12/29

N2 - This article explores how to understand stand-up comedy as a form of resistance in global politics, combining discussion of Homi Bhabha’s concepts of ambivalence and mimicry with an examination of Trevor Noah’s stand-up performances, in particular his material on race, disease and poverty. The article builds upon approaches which have interpreted comedy in terms of hidden transcripts, counter-discourses, and counter-conducts to argue that stand-up is serious politics. Notwithstanding his prominence and success, Noah’s performances are an alternative to dominant, white, western and Eurocentric discourses of global politics, and can be understood as a form of ‘ambivalent mockery’ which both inhabit and subvert dominant power relations and discourses from within. In his routines race is reified and deconstructed; disease is tragic and laughable; poverty is lamentable, valorized, and misunderstood. Noah invokes, inhabits and challenges racist and racialized assumptions, performing a racial ‘in-between-ness’ ranging across black, mixed, coloured and white identities which subverts assumptions about stable categories of race and identity. Taking this comedy seriously enables important contradictions in assumptions about race, disease and poverty to be seen more vividly, and demonstrates how global politics is performed and resisted in diverse ways.

AB - This article explores how to understand stand-up comedy as a form of resistance in global politics, combining discussion of Homi Bhabha’s concepts of ambivalence and mimicry with an examination of Trevor Noah’s stand-up performances, in particular his material on race, disease and poverty. The article builds upon approaches which have interpreted comedy in terms of hidden transcripts, counter-discourses, and counter-conducts to argue that stand-up is serious politics. Notwithstanding his prominence and success, Noah’s performances are an alternative to dominant, white, western and Eurocentric discourses of global politics, and can be understood as a form of ‘ambivalent mockery’ which both inhabit and subvert dominant power relations and discourses from within. In his routines race is reified and deconstructed; disease is tragic and laughable; poverty is lamentable, valorized, and misunderstood. Noah invokes, inhabits and challenges racist and racialized assumptions, performing a racial ‘in-between-ness’ ranging across black, mixed, coloured and white identities which subverts assumptions about stable categories of race and identity. Taking this comedy seriously enables important contradictions in assumptions about race, disease and poverty to be seen more vividly, and demonstrates how global politics is performed and resisted in diverse ways.

KW - Africa

KW - comedy

KW - mimicry

KW - post-colonialism

KW - race

KW - resistance

U2 - 10.1080/21681392.2020.1743191

DO - 10.1080/21681392.2020.1743191

M3 - Article

VL - 13

SP - 338

EP - 355

JO - Critical African Studies

JF - Critical African Studies

SN - 2168-1392

IS - 3

ER -