Uproarious: How Feminists and Other Subversive Comics Speak Truth

By Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett

Cynthia Willett is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University

Julie Willett is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History at Texas Tech University

Placing theorists in conversation with comedians, Uproarious offers a full-frontal approach to the very foundation of comedy and its profound political impact. Here Cynthia Willett and Julie Willett address the four major theories of humor—superiority, relief, incongruity, and social play—through the lens of feminist and game-changing comics Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Hannah Gadsby, Hari Kondabolu, and Tig Notaro.

Read the full description at the University of Minnesota Press. This book was published as part of the TOME initiative. 

From the authors

As a philosopher and a historian, we began this project hoping to reach out to a larger audience across academic disciplines and to general interest readers. Our prose strives to be free of jargon as the book addresses a topic of heightened relevance at a time when a twitter joke can shift the political climate overnight.

But it is TOME that makes the hope of an extended reach a more likely reality. Our reconceptualization of humor draws from feminist stand-ups, post-9/11-era comics, and even the mocking of alpha males across species to challenge traditional theories. Just as our claims are driven by popular culture, we think TOME too helps us engage in global conversations. In an era with the fortunes of academics and educational institutions caught up in growing social inequality, we also hope that TOME allows our research to be more accessible not only to students at elite institutions but also to those who lack resources yet often drive the conversations on trending fields like humor.