Truth and autobiography in stand-up comedy, and the genius of Doug Stanhope

Hanscomb, S. (2022) Truth and autobiography in stand-up comedy, and the genius of Doug Stanhope. Philosophy of Humor Yearbook, 3, pp. 63-91. (doi: 10.1515/phhumyb-2022-003)

[img] Text
281970.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 5 October 2023.



It is common for stand-up comedians to tell stories as well as, or instead of, jokes. Stories bring something extra to the performance, and when presented as true add a further layer of appeal. However, most stories told as if true by comedians are not true. A categorizing of forms of comedic story is presented involving the dimensions of grammatical person and truthfulness. Some advantages of comedians’ employing true first-person stories are discussed, and these considerations are then explored through the role of autobiography in the work of Doug Stanhope. Many aspects of Stanhope’s (highly unusual) life find their way into his shows, and true stories and his personality more broadly are folded into other elements of his act (such as his political views). Links are made with Søren Kierkegaard’s notion of “inwardness,” and it’s argued that authenticity is a prerequisite for the quality of self-disclosure that is basic to Stanhope’s excellence.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Autobiography, stand-up, Stanhope, inwardness.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hanscomb, Dr Stuart
Authors: Hanscomb, S.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Philosophy of Humor Yearbook
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN (Online):2698-718X
Published Online:05 October 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
First Published:First published in Philosophy of Humor Yearbook 3: 63-91
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record