The Trouble with Comedy Essay Assignment Choose one of the following options below to write a fully developed and persuasive
1. Do you think the character of Apu on the popular, long-running show The Simpson’s
is built on a racist stereotype of Southeast Asians or are contemporary audiences, as
writer Caitlyn Flanagan suggests, just too sensitive and politically correct?
Incorporate some of Critchley’s theories regarding ethnic humor in your analysis.
You might also discuss a compromise to “killing” Apu off from the show in the final
third of your essay by addressing how the character might be updated from a one-
dimensional ethnic stereotype to a fuller, more positive representation.
2. One of Michael Tueth’s theories of transgressive comedy is that it provides a
conscious release of society’s repressed or unconscious desires. Unlike satire,
transgressive comedy doesn’t have a moral purpose, seek to instruct, or to reform a
particular social institution. Some people argue that online trolling is an extreme form
of transgressive comedy. If so, do you agree? Does trolling provide release of
repressed social tensions or is it simply hateful and divisive, contributing to the
overall coarsening of public discourse? The Trouble with Comedy Essay Assignment
3. If rape jokes can be funny—so long as certain parameters are maintained, as some
comedians in Leyton’s essay argue— is the same true for prison male rape jokes?
Would the same parameters apply? Do you think comedians should exercise the same
caution with jokes about male sexual assault as many are asking them to do with
female sexual assault? Is there a difference? Is one “funnier” than the other? Why or
why not? The Trouble with Comedy Essay Assignment
A successful paper will:
Respond appropriately to the essay prompt.
Have a clear, strong, and developable thesis.
Contain well-developed body paragraphs that contain analysis and textual evidence. The Trouble with Comedy Essay Assignment