Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Baron Pineda

Committee Member(s)

Jason Haugen
Kip Hutchins
Amy Margaris
Baron Pineda
James Thomas
Jessica Piskata


Stand-up comedy, Cultural anthropology, Marginalization


With the advent of tools like Twitter and what is colloquially known as “cancel culture”, no celebrity seems more at risk of political controversy than the stand-up comedian. Humor is a powerful rhetorical tool, and in this thesis, I will explore its use in three ways: jokes about white people by Black comedians, jokes about Caitlyn Jenner by cisgender male comedians, and a series of jokes by Dave Chappelle, culminating in an examination of audience response to Chappelle’s most controversial special. In conducting this analysis, I hope to build a theoretical framework that allows us to make well-informed judgments about the political impact of comedy.