Humor on Cooking Shows
This chapter describes characteristics of play and humor on cooking shows, illustrating how celebrity chefs use language to present cooking as fun. Analyzing the dynamics of “interactional humor” (Tsakona & Chovanec, 2018), this chapter examines humor of two cooking show genres on Food Network that feature talk in interaction: talk cooking shows and travel cooking shows. On the talk cooking show, The Kitchen, five co-hosts chat about food-related news, give cooking and hosting tips, cook, and eat on a set styled like a home with a kitchen, sitting area, and dining table. Their linguistic collaboration is a dynamic communicative event that gives rise to creative and diverse interpretations and meanings linguistically and culinarily. On the travel cooking show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, host Guy Fieri uses innovative expressions and playful quips to relate to ‘ordinary’ people, including restaurant chefs, owners, and local customers at the featured eatery. Humor is constructed in the cooking show discourse by verbal and nonverbal elements, individually and jointly, and through production effects. The dramatic visuality of the tv cooking show, with its kitchen environment and informal space for interaction, induces productive and creative language use. Further, humor creates play frames, allowing celebrity chefs to act outside of ‘normal’ script and activity, promoting openness to ideas and fresh insight into ways of doing or being.
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