Analytical Essay writing on a piece of comedy

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Posted on February 22, 2022


Project Desciption

For your first essay, I want you to select and analyze a relatively brief and thematically coherent piece of comedy (a stand-up routine, a sketch, a poem, a song, a paragraph, two or three related memes, etc.), preferably one with which you are familiar.  In your literary/rhetorical analysis thereof, you will break the piece down into its component parts in an effort to discover (and argue) just what it is that makes it funny.  Then, using your analysis as a foundation, explain (and argue) how this piece points us toward an overall theory of humor (i.e. yours!). Or, you might begin with your overall theory of humor/comedy and use the analysis to explore (and argue) the accuracy of your theory.


The essay should be 3-4 pages in length, properly formatted and meticulously documented in accord with the MLA style.  As for research, begin with and, if necessary, branch out from, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on humor.


Should you have difficulty selecting a piece, see me; I just might be able to help you.


N.B.: For best results, watch, listen to, read, etc. the piece several times and accomplish the basics of your analysis before engaging in any extended research.  Until you have some ideas of your own, it is very difficult to unthink the ideas of the others.



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