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This study examines the discourses of the U.S.'s 10 top-earning comedians in 2009 and 2010 through systematic textual analyses. Building from two prior case studies and working toward a communicative worldview for comedy as a pervasive mode of public communication, the results indicate that there are several generic clusters emerging across these acts involving rhetorics of optimism, uncertainty, individualism, and others. Many distinctive characteristics in the comedians' messages are also noted. Through such practices, humorists advance a language with political significance-so this essay draws several connections and implications regarding comic discourses in public culture


This chapter was originally published in "Communication and Language Analysis in the Public Sphere," available at DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5003-9.c h023



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