Cerebral Standup Sunday: Emily Levine

Are you frustrated by the daily conundrum of a humor buff:  to laugh or to learn?  Tune into Emily Levine’s performances and flounder in indecision no more–you can indulge in both at the same time.   I found myself listening to genuinely humorous humor theory in Levine’s performance on Ted Talks: Smart Laughs (available on Netflix instant view, or, you know, right here). Her delivery is over-thought, rapid, and dry, much like if Woody Allen were presenting at the American Studies Association conference.

Some of her observations in the beginning reminded me a bit of Bahktin’s theory of the carnivalesque, but Levine directly  synthesizes two academic texts that mention humor, The Garden of Priapus and Trickster Makes this World   putting the various theories into action as she applies them to her life, standup comedy, and society.  For me, Levine has taken some of the sting out of E.B. White’s haunting adage: “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.”  Levine’s frog will live to croak another day. 
 
 
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