Comic Performativities: Identity, Internet Outrage, and the Aesthetics of Communication
studies patterns of criticism and public debate in the relationship between humor, identity, and offense. In an increasingly reductive and politically charged debate, right-wing pundits argue leftist politics has compromised a free and open discussion, while scholars take right-wing critics to task for reifying systems of oppression under the guise of reason and respect. In response, Goltz scrutinizes twenty-first century "comedic controversies," the notion of "political correctness," and the so-called "outrage machine" of social media. How should we appropriately determine whether a joke is "sexist," "racist," or "offensive"?
Informed by communication, performance, and critical identity theory, Goltz examines infamous controversies involving performers like Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, and Seth MacFarlane, and the social media backlash that redefined these events. He investigates the ironic interplay between spoken word, identity, physicality and, as a result, the contrasting meanings potentially construed. Consequently, the book encourages a greater appreciation of the aesthetics involved in comedic performance that help signpost interpretation and emphasizes the role of the audience as self-reflexive and self-aware.
This book highlights the significant parallels between the nature of performance art and comedic performance in order to elevate analysis of, and discussion around, contemporary comedy. In doing so, it is an important critical contribution to the field of performance studies and cultural criticism, as well as communication studies, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.