The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 2 (2023)

Creative uses of language to invoke sex-related taboos in Churchill Raw comedy shows

Simon Wanjala Nganga


Churchill Raw event facilitates creative self-expression of young comedians through the incorporation of a variety of sex-related taboo topics. Yet, the multicultural nature of the participants in the Nairobi-based event makes the communication of such topics particularly problematic, as they can also be deemed offensive. Drawing on theoretical and methodological principles from Interactional Sociolinguistics (Gumperz, 2003), this article investigates how sex-related taboos are drawn into performances using euphemistic linguistic resources, such as puns, metaphors, metonymy, codeswitching and so on. As data we use 10 video recordings of comedians and 2 two-hour interviews with the key comedians. By focusing on situated uses of euphemistic language in the context of comedy in the African city of Nairobi, this article demonstrates that contrary to the general perception, young people observe sex-related taboos by using euphemistic language resources.


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