Skip over navigation

Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Fall 2017-2018
* AAS 212 / ENG 212 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

What's So Funny? Forms of African American Humor

Kinohi Nishikawa

What's so funny? is a question that could be turned around to ask: Who's laughing? Comedian Dave Chappelle might say it's a question about who gets the joke, and who doesn't. This survey of African American humor is an introduction to getting the joke. We study the technical artistry of black humorists and comedians and reflect on the audiences for whom they write and perform. We examine a range of cultural expression, from the dozens to stand-up comedy. In our critical and creative work, we assess how past forms and strategies can be adapted to the project of African American humor today.

Sample reading list:
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Langston Hughes, The Best of Simple
Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men
Richard Pryor, Live in Concert
Fran Ross, Oreo
George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum

Reading/Writing assignments:
200 pages of reading per week. Short response papers focusing on key concepts from readings. Oral presentation analyzing a comic routine. Term paper on a humorist or comedian of the student's choice.

Requirements/Grading:
Take Home Mid term Exam - 15%
Papers - 20%
Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Term Paper(s) - 25%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
21226 S01 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm M W   Aaron Burr Hall   209   Enrolled:15 Limit:15 Closed