The Comedian as Confidence Man: Studies in Irony Fatigue

The Comedian as Confidence Man: Studies in Irony Fatigue

by Will Kaufman

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Overview

In this lively and fascinating analysis of humorists and their work, Will Kaufman breaks new ground with his irony fatigue theory. The Comedian as Confidence Man examines the humorist's internal conflict between the social critic who demands to be taken seriously and the comedian who never can be: the irony fatigue condition. Concentrating on eight American literary and performing comedians from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, this study explores the irony fatigue affect that seems to pervade the work of comedians—those particular social observers who are obliged to promise, "Only kidding, folks," even when they may not be; in G. B. Shaw's words, they must "put things in such a way as to make people who would otherwise hang them believe they are joking."

If these social observers are obliged to become, in effect, confidence men, with irony as the satiric weapon that both attacks and diverts, then the implications are great for those social critics who above all wish to be heeded.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814346792
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Publication date: 09/09/2019
Series: Humor in Life and Letters Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Will Kaufman is a folk musician and professor of American studies at the University of Central Lancashire. He is the author of Woody Guthrie’s Modern World Blues.

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