This paper explores the history and humor of manzai, or contemporary Japanese stand-up comedy. It will highlight a particular characteristic of manzai, which is the strong tradition of dialogue in performing comedy. The dialogue tradition in manzai will be contrasted with the tradition of the comic monologue in American comedy from a historical perspective. Cross-cultural distinctions will be discussed along with excerpts from actual comedy performances, through which some patterns of constructing humor are illuminated. The paper will also highlight particular elements of humor observed in manzai while drawing insights from the literature on Japanese comedy, American comedy, as well as humor studies. Examining manzai in its historical development and its characteristics, the present study attempts to provide insights into humor and comedy in Japan.
|Keywords:||Humor, Manzai, Stand-up Comedy, Japanese Comedy, American Comedy|
Associate Lecturer, Japanese Studies , Department of Asian Studies , Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia
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