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Publisher's Summary

In A Vulgar Art, Ian Brodie uses a folkloristic approach to stand-up comedy, engaging the discipline's central method of studying interpersonal, artistic communication and performance. Because stand-up comedy is a rather broad category, people who study it often begin by relating it to something they recognize - "literature" or "theatre"; "editorial" or "morality" - and analyze it accordingly. A Vulgar Art begins with a more fundamental observation: Someone is standing in front of a group of people, talking to them directly, and trying to make them laugh. So this book takes the moment of performance as its focus: stand-up comedy is a collaborative act between the comedian and the audience.
Although the form of talk on the stage resembles talk among friends and intimates in social settings, stand-up comedy remains a profession. As such, it requires performance outside of the comedian's own community to gain larger and larger audiences. How do comedians recreate that atmosphere of intimacy in a room full of strangers? This book regards everything from microphones to clothing and LPs to Twitter as strategies for bridging the spatial, temporal, and socio-cultural distances between the performer and the audience.
©2014 University Press of Mississippi (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"A highly insightful, eloquently written study that explains, through application of folkloristic methodology, how stand-up comedians create an atmosphere of intimacy and evoke laughter from strangers. This will be a valuable addition to the libraries of scholars in a number of fields, as well as readers who enjoy stand-up comedy and want to learn how it works." (Elizabeth Tucker, author of Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Harold Levine on 03-14-17


What made the experience of listening to A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy the most enjoyable?

if you are just planning to do open mike nights this book is for you- don't expect to get rich but a great guide

Any additional comments?

a must have

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1 out of 5 stars
By Byron Chen on 04-08-16

Narration is bad

The book content doesn't seem bad but the narration makes it so that you can't stand to listen. It's like they fed the book into a 1970's movie robot. Buyer beware.

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