Comedy as Performance

  • Gregor ModerEmail author
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)


This chapter acknowledges that comedy is a genre of repetition, but argues that comic repetition is not merely a reiteration of an original process, form or person. Rather, a comic repetition always includes an element of what is typical for performance art: what is repeated is actually only produced in the act of repetition which manifests it. The chapter looks at the examples of such performative repetition in three seemingly unrelated examples of the popular comic art of the 1990s: in a clown routine in Vyacheslav Polunin’s Slava’s Snow Show and in the television sit-coms Coupling and 3rd Rock from the Sun. The chapter concludes by recalling J. L. Austin’s formulation of performative utterances and argues that they are to be regarded as constituting parts of legal or moral ceremonies, inscribed in what Louis Althusser described as ideological apparatuses. Both comedy and ideology proceed as performance in the described sense—though this does not imply that comedy is necessarily ideological.


Comedy Repetition Performance Ideology Subject 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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