The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 2 (2023)

Identity investment in stand-up comedy and online sketches

Mihaela Viorica Constantinescu


The article focuses on identity investment in stand-up comedy and online sketches performed by Romanian (or of Romanian descent) comedians acting abroad (France and United Kingdom). It aims at highlighting various humorous strategies that could be construed around a shared feature: the importance of the performer’s stage identity (persona). The analysis is based on a theoretical framework which combines stance(taking) studies and discourse approaches to humour. Immigrant’s (as marginal performers) humour reveals subversive humour: a means of coping with reality, aimed to expose and challenge power structures. The comedians explore stereotypes regarding Romanian or Eastern European immigrants in France and the UK. The differences in staging the stereotypes depend on the comedian’s identity investment in the persona he creates during the humorous performance, as well as on the degree of marginality he assumes for that persona.


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