A polysemic exploration of stereotypes and racial humor in Tosh.0.


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This case study uses content and rhetorical analyses to address the neutralizing effects of performance strategies used in the racially charged humor of “Tosh.0.” Selected clips were analyzed and discussed through the lens of Ambivalence Theory, which supports the idea that multiple meanings are possible and probable in comedic content due to the incongruous nature of humorous discourses. The researcher viewed multiple clips of the show and coded them based on stereotype, humor theory and performance strategy. Findings indicate that Tosh.0 employs racial stereotypes unequally throughout the show with the greatest amount of negative stereotypes aimed at Blacks. Daniel Tosh also utilized Superiority Theory most frequently with his jokes and depended heavily on “Distance and Disclaimer” methods to avoid accusations of racism. A content analysis of specific clips highlights the polysemic nature of the humor in Tosh.0, meaning that interpretations differ based on the inherent views of the person watching.



Race. Racism. Comedy. Daniel Tosh. Tosh.0. Humor. Stereotypes.