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Title: The new comedian : media and technology in stand-up comedy
Author: Hudson, Ben
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 9283
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is an investigation of media and technology in stand-up comedy performance and a reflection on Practice as Research undertaken at the University of Kent, UK. Using case studies of experimental stand-up practice and the work of professional comedians, I examine the application of technology in stand-up comedy and analyse the performance dynamics of mediatized stand-up. The framework of this study is formed by three Practice as Research performances, considering issues of time, body and space fundamental to live performance and media theory. Ben Hudson’s Super Media World (2012) used digital projection and an internet connection to play simultaneously to a live studio and online audience, exploring the presence and liveness of screened media. Ben Hudson, Not A Real Person (2013) staged a personal journey of discovery through online social networking profiles and an animated double-act, presenting the comedian at odds with their media double. Finally, Ben Hudson’s Dead Funny (2014) used the hypermedium of videogame streaming as a model for stand-up performance in cyberspace, featuring the videogame DayZ (2013) as its online venue. Analysis of these performances, combined with critical reflection on the work of relevant comedians, is placed within a framework of media and performance discourse. Stand-up is presented as a basic model of theatre performance; a present tense encounter with a requirement for two-way communication between audience and performer. This thesis argues that instead of threatening stand-up as a quintessentially live and co-present art-form, media and technology are shown to create exciting potential in comic performance. In their role as cultural mediators, stand-up comedians self-reflexively acknowledge the process of technological mediation. Responding to the specificity of the performance situation and playing with the temporalities of recorded and broadcast media, stand-ups are able to find humour in the juxtaposition of media elements and subvert audience expectations of presence and liveness.
Supervisor: Double, Oliver; Klich, Rosemary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: N Fine Arts