The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 5, No 3 (2017)

Book Review. Quirk, Sophie (2015) Why Stand-Up Comedy Matters. How Comedians Manipulate and Influence

Margherita Dore


As the title and introduction explain, Sophie Quirk’s monograph sets out to investigate the reasons and ways comedians manipulate and influence their audience. The term manipulation, however, should be considered apart from its often negative connotations and should be interpreted as the comedian’s attempt to skilfully communicate with their audience, elicit laughter and, most importantly in this case, influence their beliefs, attitude and behaviour (see p. 2). With these premises, Quirk explores instances of stand-up comedy including some interaction between mainly well-known British comedians (e.g. Eddy Izzard, Stewart Lee, Josie Long, etc.) and their audience. She also interviews some of these performers so as to gain a first-hand understanding of the comedians’ performing experience.


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