Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Gingrich-Philbrook, Craig

Abstract

This purpose of this document is to examine risk as a thematic element in the practice of comedy as performed by women. Risk is evident in various ways: individual female comedic performance, the labeling of someone as "female comedic performer" and in being an individual female who strives to undertake comedy as a means of personal performance. Through an analysis of comedians Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman and myself, this thesis recognizes an appreciation of that risk, argues for the importance of context in thinking about comedy, and ultimately calls for the further inclusion of women in the historical canon of comedic performance.

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