Jokes inviting more than laughter … Joan Rivers’ political-rhetorical world viewpurchase PDF
Authors: Don Waisanen
,,,DICTION 5.0,Joan Rivers,persona,rhetoric,comedy,
This article examines the worldview of comedian Joan Rivers. I conducted a close examination of her Live at the Apollo transcript through systematic discourse analysis. I found several distinct clusters emerging in Rivers’ act, involving rhetorics of optimism, uncertainty, egocentricity and realism. In using such language, Rivers invites her audiences to ingest and adopt certain structures of thinking and choices of interpretation characterized by both positive and negative features. I conclude that these communicative themes give us reason to be ambivalent about the comedian’s stand-up as a contribution to public discourse. Several implications are drawn regarding the possibilities and limitations of comedy as a pervasive mode of public communication.