Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Kelly Young


From court jesters to lounge performers, the ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ to vaudeville, radio to Netflix, the goal of comedy has been the same: use a comic frame to make the audience laugh. However, some modern comedians have altered that paradigm, including purposefully non-comedic material in their stand-up specials. While other comedians have done this before, they did so as an addendum to the narrative of their special, not as an integral part of that narrative. In this project, I engaged in a rhetorical analysis of three modern comedians, through the lens of humor theory, as they included purposefully non-comedic material, engaging in, and going beyond, the post-comedy turn (Fox, 2018). I found that these comedians were able to find success because of the confluence of many factors, specifically the development of the comedic genre, the acceptance of discussions on mental health, and, most importantly, their privileged statuses.