Tig Notaro was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer; as a result, she was forced to get a double mastectomy to save her life. Comedians use Sigmund Freud’sReliefTheory to relieve the audience of stress. Comedy professionals use wittypunchlines, riveting personification, andsmart toppersto create humor and convey a theme in their comedy routines.
First, comedians use witty punchlines to create an expected effect. For example, Jim Gaffigan uses punchlines to create the effect of screams of laughter in the audience. In the comedic skit Jesus Carpenter, when Gaffigan says, “Jesus was busy whining, ‘well I’m the son of God.’Well get back to work Jesus.” This evidence proves the comedian creates an expected effect because Gaffigan had already mentioned that he was not a particularly religious person.This affects the audience because the members of the audience still laughed at the joke, the disclaimer of him not being religious alerts the audience that he was not making fun of Christianity in a malicious way.
This helps to shape the comedian’s message because he is helping to make the audience laugh by making fun of Jesus being the son of God. This is important because Gaffigan’s controversial joke was expected because he had already stated that he was not religious, this made the joke less offensive because he was not making fun of anyone who is Christian of Catholic. Additionally, Tig Notaro uses punchlines to create the expected effect of laughter from the audience. For example, when the comedian is states, “Let us not forget, the terrible tragedy that is happening on the inside of that fire truck.” This evidence proves the comedian creates an expected effect of laughter in the audience through the use of punchlines. Notaro uses the punchline of her joke to make the audience explode into laughter. This is important because the way a comedian makes their living, is on the laughter of the audience. The joke that she used made the audience think that the characters were excited at seeing the fire truck, when Notaro delivers her punchline, the audience obviously bursts into laughter. Ultimately, Tig Notaro and Jim Gaffigan use perfectly delivered punchlinesto create a comedic effect and convey the central idea of the comedians’ joke.
Next, comedians use riveting personification to create an unexpected bout of laughter from the audience. For example, Tig Notaro uses personificationto create the effect of laughter from the audience. In the comedic skit Breast Cancer, when the comedian states, “ my boobs just decided one day, ‘ we’ve had enough, let’s kill her!’” This evidence proves the comedian creates an unsuspected effect because the audience was not expecting to hear Notaro’s breasts speak.This affects the audience because the shock of hearing Notaro personify her breasts allowed the audience tostop talking and react to the joke with laughterThis helps to shape the comedian’s tone of light-heartednessbecause Notaro wants to be able to talk about her experience with breast cancer without offending anyone. This relates to the skit because breast cancer is a serious and sad issue, Notaro wants to talk about her battle with the disease in a happy manner, since she achieved remission.Secondly, Tig Notaro uses extravagant personification to create the effect of joyous laughter in the audience. For example, when Notaro says, “ then they said, ‘take her down!’” This evidence proves the comedian creates an unexpected effect by making the audience laugh at a talking body part that does not normally speak. This affects the audience by making them laugh when Notaro makes her breasts speak. This shapes the comedian’s light-hearted tone by having the audience laugh at a joke about a devastating disease. This allows Tig to speak about her cancer openly and feel thankful that she beat her breast cancer during the performance. In conclusion, Tig Notarouses creative and original personification to create a comedic effect and convey the central tone of light-heartedness in her joke.
Lastly, comedians use smart toppers to create a familiar effect. For example, Tig Notaro uses toppersto create the effect of bubbly laughter from the audience. In the comedic skit Breast Cancer, when the comedian says, “take her down!” This evidence proves the comedian creates a familiar effect because the audience had already heard Notaro personify her breasts as the punchline of the joke. This affects the audience because this topper made the joke much funnier that it already was, this caused the audience to feel the familiar sensation of laughter. This helps to shape the comedian’s message because the comedian wants to have the audience laugh at the serious topic of breast cancer. Additionally, Tig Notaro uses witty toppers to create the effect of familiar laughter in the audience. For example, when the comedian states, “let’s kill her!” This evidence proves the comedian creates a familiar effect because the members of the audience that had experienced breast cancer recalled their journey with breast cancer.This affects the audience because the audience members may have felt feelings of gratitude knowing that they had overcome the disease. This helps to shape the comedian’s message by allowing the audience to laugh about breast cancer. Therefore, Tig Notaro uses witty toppersto create a comedic effect and convey her message of being proud of your body and self acceptance.
We can now see how comedians uses elements of structure and word choice work together to create laughter, and relieve tension from the audience, and convey themes of self-acceptance and pride throughout her performances. This is relevant because the Relief theory states that comedy is used to relieve tension and fear from the audience. This is important because it ultimately demonstrates that comedy can be used to make the audience feel better about themselves and relieve anxiety. Comedy makes people come together and feel better.
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