Humor, Disability, & the Body

Humor, Disability, & the Body
Representations of the Body
Kiel Moses
Entertainer used
• Josh Blue, Chris Fonseca, and Helen Melon
• Weight, Wheelchair, and limp
• All use their bodies to convey message to
mainstream audience
• Unconscious material can come out in
comedic acts
• Cathartic release through laughter
• Comic can create bond w/ audience with good
Labeling + power + medicine = society
Discussed lack of sexual competence which can
be linked to the disabled
Asexuality is BIG ISSUE = Disabled community
Body & Stories: Comedic Narrative
• Use of gawk and stare to advantage
• Their “uncommon” features create basis for act
• Bodies act as a conduit for mainstream to
understand disabled experience
• Good, bad, sad, happy is all reflected in body of
disabled performers
How they engage
• Josh Blue = Kind disabled approach
• Helen Melon = Confrontational in your face
• Chris Fonseca = Ethnic identity approach
Coping / Humor
• Humor can be helpful to use with people with
disabilities and their families
• Humor can fend off putdowns, increase self
esteem, and be a way to relief stress
• Also, those who have had strokes can use
humor to rediscover their autonomy /
normalcy in their lives
• Disabled performers use their bodies to relate
to their audiences
• These body narratives can bridge the gap
between the mainstream / disabled societies
• Disabled comics can help the deconstruction
of many disability stereotypes that are held
about people with disabilities
• Can also help the comics cope with their own
disabilities they have