“The Path of the Comedian is Always Going to Be a Lonely One”: Comedians’ Mediation between Family Humour and Public Performance
The article presents a study of the use of family humour in public comedy and the mutual influence of family humour and public humour on comedians’ performances and everyday life. The interrelations between these domains lie at the level of the content of humour, its format, its performance and the interaction between humour producers and their audience. Family and public humour often overlap and interweave in various ways, especially in the experience of those who engage in humour production both in public and in private spheres.
The study is informed by interviews with UK-based comedians on their family humorous folklore and its interrelation with their public humour performances. The interconnection between public and family humour was identified on several levels: textual, communicative, personal and conceptual.
This multidimensional interplay indicates that family humour is contingent on the context, but at the same time is often conditioned by comedians’ public personae and cannot be fully separated from the humour they perform publicly. The study illustrates the vagueness of the dichotomy between public comic performances and family humour and points to multiple ways in which the boundaries between these domains can become blurry.