Humor in Manzai Stand-up Comedy: A Historical and Comparative Analysis

By Hanae Katayama.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.213-224. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 839.025KB).

Dr. Hanae Katayama

Associate Lecturer, Japanese Studies , Department of Asian Studies , Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

Hanae Katayama is an associate lecturer in Asian Studies at Macquarie University. Hanae received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the Pennsylvania State University in 2006. She was then appointed as a postdoctoral writing fellow at the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS) at the University of Wollongong. Her main research interests are intercultural communication, discourse analysis and second/foreign language teaching.

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