How Feminists and Other Subversive Comics Speak Truth

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Cynthia Willett
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Julie Willett

Placing theorists in conversation with comedians, Uproarious offers a full-frontal approach to the very foundation of comedy and its profound political impact. Here Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett address the four major theories of humor—superiority, relief, incongruity, and social play—through the lens of feminist and game-changing comics Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Hannah Gadsby, Hari Kondabolu, and Tig Notaro.

Background photo by Rob Laughter on Unsplash


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    This book is freely available in an open-access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)—a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of Emory University and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Learn more at the TOME website, available at openmonographs.org.

    Different versions of chapter 1 were previously published as Cynthia Willett, Julie Willett, and Yael D. Sherman, “The Seriously Erotic Politics of Feminist Laughter,” Social Research 79, no. 1 (2012): 217–46; Copyright New School University; reprinted by permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press; and as Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett, “The Seriously Erotic Politics of Laughter: Bitches, Whores, and Other Fumerists,” in Philosophical Feminism and Popular Culture, ed. Sharon Crasnow and Joanne Waugh (Plymouth, U.K.: Lexington Books, 2013): 15–36. A different version of chapter 2 was published as “Going to Bed White and Waking Up Arab: On Xenophobia, Affect Theories of Laughter, and the Social Contagion of the Comic Stage,” Critical Philosophy of Race 2, no. 1 (2014): 84–105; copyright 2014 The Pennsylvania State University; reprinted by permission of The Pennsylvania State University Press. A different version of chapter 3 was published as Cynthia Willett with Julie Willett, “Can the Subaltern Animal Laugh? Neoliberal Inversions, Cross-Species Solidarities, and Other Challenges to Human Exceptionalism,” in Interspecies Ethics, by Cynthia Willett (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 29–59; copyright 2014 Columbia University Press; reprinted with permission of Columbia University Press.

    Copyright 2019 by Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett

    Uproarious: How Feminists and Other Subversive Comics Speak Truth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
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    University of Minnesota Press
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    Please see the Creative Commons website for details about the restrictions associated with the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.
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    Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett
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