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Critical studies attempting to define and dissect American humor have been published steadily for nearly one hundred years. However, until now, key documents from that history have never been brought together in a single volume for students and scholars.
What's So Funny? Humor in American Culture, a collection of 15 essays, examines the meaning of humor and attempts to pinpoint its impact on American culture and society, while providing a historical overview of its progres-sion. Essays from Nancy Walker and Zita Dresner, Joseph Boskin and Joseph Dorinson, William Keough, Roy Blount, Jr., and others trace the development of American humor from the colonial period to the present, focusing on its relationship with ethnicity, gender, violence, and geography.
An excellent reader for courses in American studies and American social and cultural history, What's So Funny? explores the traits of the American experience that have given rise to its humor.
Part 1 Part I Chapter 2 Introduction: What Is Humor? Why American Humor? Chapter 3 Suggestions for Further Reading Part 4 Part II Chapter 5 American Humorists in 1882 Chapter 6 The Requisites for American Humor Chapter 7 The Great American Joke Chapter 8 No End of Jokes Chapter 9 The Violence of American Humor Chapter 10 Urban Legends Chapter 11 Southern Humor Chapter 12 Women's Humor in America Chapter 13 Comics as Culture Chapter 14 Stand-up Comedy as Social and Cultural Mediation Chapter 15 Ethnic Huor: Subversion and Survival Chapter 16 Comic Films Chapter 17 Television Comedy Chapter 18 Ideology in the Television Situation Comedy