Hodgepodge of humor conversation: Lopez, Marche, Ellis and McGraw & Warner

Overall Graphic designer

Lopez argues against Jon Steward to illustrate that political humor creates cynicism and apathy toward government, and comedians such as Steward do not clearly address political issues, but simply making fun of it. Marche, on the other hand, claims that political satire, though popular among social media, is not powerful enough to create desired changes, because it simply entertains the public.

The conversation is about to what extent does political satire change the society. Ellis, the guest of honor, generalizes from the various perspectives about political humor and points out that humor has become an inseparable part of our political life, and whether it has positive and negative effect on the population is worth debating. McGraw & Warner, the defenders for political comedy, posits that comedy is able to deliver the truth and engage people with additional insights. Lopez, in contrast, disagrees with McGraw & Warner by saying that political humor cherry-picks argument to make politicians and news systems appear silly without considering their positive sides. Marche flips the argument, positing that satire can only amuse people, but cannot change their thoughts.

I think comedy can bring positive change toward the politics, because it can address problems that others avoid talking about, and offer the audience different perspectives to view the reality. Besides, the audience are bored of news reports, and they need stimulating political satire to access information. “In representing the interests of the common man, in speaking truth to power, these comic vigilantes provide us with an important – and otherwise absent and/or neglected – political service” (Ellis 155). Comedians, in this way, can engage the audience into contemplating about political issues, and change their perceptions by joking.


Works Cited

Ellis, Iain. “Political Humor and Its Diss Contents.” Pop Matters, 14 Oct. 2012,www.popmatters.com/column/163983-political-humor-and-its-diss-contents/P1/. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 150-155.

Lopez, Ramon. “Why Jon Stewart is Bad for America.” The Federalist, 5 Dec. 2014, http://www.thefederalist.com/2014/12/05/why-jon-stewart-is-bad-for-america/. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 156-162.

Marche, Stephen. “The Left Has a Post-Truth Problem, Too. It’s Called Comedy.” LA Times, 6 Jan. 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-marche-left-fake-news-problem-comedy-20170106-story.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 164-165.

McGraw, Peter and Joel Warner. “Entry 6: Can Comedy Bring About Real Political Change?”Slate, 30 Mar. 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/daily_show_colbert_report_can_political_comedy_affect_real_political_change.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 146-148.


Analysis of the conversation in McGraw’s and Ellis’s articles

McGraw Graphic OrganizerEllis Graphic OrganizerPeter McGraw and Joel Warner, in the article The Humor Code, Entry 6: Can Comedy Bring About Real Political Change?, assert that humor, when used strategically, can greatly improve the society by engaging the public to politics. Iain Ellis, on the other hand, claims that political humor is basically an interplay among politicians, media, and the public. The public have gained great power in shaping the politics, and politicians need to play with humor to promote their positive self-images in different media.

I am interested McGraw’s point that humor can effect real political change. I agree with McGraw because he address some key premises for humor to change the society. He uses Popovic, an example which shows political humor works under optimal condition. Popovic’s jokes fit well with McGraw’s benign violation theory, which states that laughter arises when a joke makes something threatening appears funny, thus alleviating the fear of the audience. “People were afraid, and humor was useful in breaking that fear” (McGraw 148). By joking, Popovic embarrasses the president, and weakens his political power. Still, I wonder if satire that occurs in small country turns out to be more effective because it can spread out quickly over the nation. In this case, the counterargument somewhat makes sense in it addresses that joking in USSR is not effective enough to make big political change.

Works Cited

Ellis, Iain. “Political Humor and Its Diss Contents.” Pop Matters, 14 Oct. 2012, http://www.popmatters.com/column/163983-political-humor-and-its-diss-contents/P1/. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 150-155.

McGraw, Peter and Joel Warner.Entry 6: Can Comedy Bring About Real Political Change?” Slate, 30 Mar. 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/daily_show_colbert_report_can_political_comedy_affect_real_political_change.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 146-148.

Response to Critchley’s and McGraw’s articles

In the essay Did You Hear the One about the Philosopher Writing a Book on Humor?, Simon Critchley draws evidence from experts in humor to claim that laughter arises when joke tellers surprise the audiences by giving a twist to the jokes. But besides the laughter, the jokes can change the way people think through a different viewpoint about the things inside a joke. This leads to incongruity theory, which states humor can shift people’s perception from unexpected incidences. In the first time I read this essay, I mixed relief theory with incongruity theory because they both determine that humor can make people laugh by popping tensions. Now I know that incongruity theory addresses that humor is not merely about relieving tension; it can suddenly change the way people think through this surprise. Also, I come to understand for incongruity to function effectively, a common background is required, though common background theory mainly stresses that the extent to which people have shared identities with the joke tellers can affect people’s reactions to the jokes. I reannotated this sentence, “The incongruities of humor both speak out of a massive congruence between joke structure and social structure, and speak against those structures by showing that they have no necessity” (Critchley126). Before the annotation, I think this is the gist for incongruity theory, but it actually shows a specific ideal situation in which incongruity theory well explains humor’s function in changing the society. Peter McGraw also contributes his answer to this issue, but in a different perspective.

Peter McGraw, on his article The Humor Code, Entry 1: What Exactly Makes Something Funny?, asserts that things are funny when joke tellers bring up something that’s threatening at a first glance, and then get the audiences laugh by making it appear safe. This assertion furnishes benign violation theory. McGraw draws from various experimental data to support benign violation theory, and he also uses counterargument to show why other theories fail to generalize humor’s ability to make people laugh. In the reannotated sentence, “Why do we laugh and derive amusement from so many different things, from puns to pratfalls? Why are some things funny to some people and not to others? How is that while a successful joke can cause pleasure, a gag gone awry can cause serious harm?” (McGraw132), I realized that these motivating questions, in addition to leading to benign violation theory, are really worth thinking about throughout the AWP class.

From the questions above, I see that the major debate between Critchley and McGraw is about which theory better explains what makes things funny. In short words, Critchley thinks that humor makes the silly serious, while McGraw views the opposite way. But going deeper into the simple sentence, I should be careful about the way jokes are told. A joke may address something that seems fixed and unnecessary to talk about, but when it makes the audience rethink about the ostensibly “silly” issue, incongruity theory comes into play. On the other hand, a joke may mention something that is seriously malicious, but as it flips the dark side, making this thing acceptable, benign violation theory seems perfect for explaining this joke. Nevertheless, both Critchley and McGraw agree that people with different backgrounds will react differently to certain jokes. This agreement makes me contemplate the role common ground theory plays in humor.


Works Cited

Critchley, Simon. “Did You Hear the One About the Philosopher Writing a Book on Humour?”Think, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2002, pp. 103-112, doi.org/10.1017/S147717560000035X.Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 122-131.

McGraw, Peter and Joel Warner. “Entry 1: What, Exactly, Makes Something Funny?” Slate, 23Mar. 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/what_makes_something_funny_a_bold_new_attempt_at_a_unified_theory_of_comedy.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 132-135.

Self-assessment of my two portfolio essays

In last quarter, I have completed two candidates for my portfolio: Summary & Synthesis essay and Analysis essay. While the Summary & Synthesis talks about in what way humor fight against stereotypes, my Analysis essay evaluates how Aziz Ansari’s comedy criticizes racism and encourage minorities to fight for their rights. The Summary & Synthesis essay demonstrates good grasp about the cited materials, but the Analysis essay fails to do so. Although Analysis paper shows fewer grammar and style mistakes, it should be made stronger if the comedy is better understood, and some evidence is further unpacked. Summary & Synthesis essay, on the other hand, can be polished if I achieve higher understanding of the materials.

Indeed, the Summary and Synthesis essay presents a vivid conversation of different writers based on the controlling idea about how humor upends stereotypes. It has a clear introduction, which helps readers grasping the “talks” among these authors. The evidence used are clearly geared toward the main question, and they respond to each other in an appropriate way. However, the conversation I created does not fully encompass the claims that I should, and the essay lacks some greater context to make the readers feel curious. So, I need to explore more things that give insights into my Summary & Synthesis essay, and even incorporate these things to make the essay more exclusive. Nevertheless, the essay in whole is well organized, and I comply with academic integrity by giving credits to those who contribute to my essay.

Analysis paper keeps demonstrating good organization and ethic citations, and the grammar and style is a bit improved in this essay. Unfortunately, several major misunderstandings about the comedy puts down the quality. Though I illustrate decent conception about humor theories in my Summary & Synthesis essay, this conception is waned during my writing of Analysis paper. Also, the introduction has zigzag arguments that leave readers puzzled, partly because I barely have background knowledge about the materials. To avoid these pitfalls, I need to come back to the reading materials and get a better sense of their main ideas. Watching some real-life comedy shows is also helpful for understanding how comedians make their arguments.

In this winter break, I have revised the two essays to some degree. While for Summary & Synthesis paper, I focused on fixing language mistakes, I deepened my understanding of the sources cited in my Analysis essay: I came to know that Chris Brown has both good and bad sides, and some people ignore his flows and still enjoy his music. Ansari does not praise George Bush. Instead, he criticizes that president is incompetent in changing the society… These examples warn me that I should first understand the sources before citing them. Besides, in this term, I look forward to learning more backgrounds and arguments about humor. Should I feel confident about these, I can work hard on polishing my portfolio essays to make them exceptional in terms of language and organization.

I strive for excellence

2017 has so much memory for me that I even cannot recount clearly. This year, I got progressed from high school to university. I made a lot of new friends, and happened to boost my thoughts a little bit to a higher level. Nonetheless, this year means a lot for me, and I would thank this year for setting a milestone of my success in the future.

Speaking of success, I should mention my major academic interest. Undoubtedly, I should have done many things to pursue it. For example, I studied organic chemistry for the first quarter. This course is different from my high school in which it puts much emphasis on mechanisms. At first glance, these stuffs seem to need rote memorization. But as I grasped the real nature inside those mechanisms, I even do not have to look at my cheet sheet to come up with a reaction sequence. Of course, I cannot let my academic interest disappoint me, and I feel joyful to overcome the challenge of the so-called “difficult” course.

Starting from my campus life in UCSD, I also continued my love for music. I brought my violin here and got to experiment on more types of music. I also knew how to make beautiful songs from Garageband. These awesome experiences reduce my stress, and I am happy to go on my music journey.

What’s more? I got a satisfying GPA from the first quarter (I am not posting my actual GPA in case you hate me). This means a good start for my college life. I knew that many students are adjusting to the college mode, and even some straight A students are doomed. This is understandable because achieving a high GPA in college is really more difficult than in high school. I got intimidating experience with one of my courses, but thankfully I saved myself in the final. Now, I feel lucky because the result demonstrates that I adjusted to the learning habit really fast.

I am expecting to do more big things in the next year. This year is more amazaing than the last one, but I should keep going on. I got to have first lab course in my life, and probably an research internship for the first time. But I will strive for excellence to maintain my good academic standing, and make my pursuit keep surprising me. So many of my wonderful friends are succeeding, so am I.

2018, here I come.


Reflection of group work

In this term, my group members Flory and Shuli collaborate well to accomplish tasks. They also help me to become a better writer because they can, as readers of my essays, discover the mistakes that I often neglect. I am still impressed by the many times we met in the group study room in Geisel Library to brainstorm ideas and craft our group works. Among the group works, drawing the conversation map is the first and the memorable one. In that meeting, we discussed our understanding of the course readings, and established a conversation among these articles. Shuli summarized the main arguments of each passage, and Flory and I made connections of different writers. After looking at Flory’s arranged notes of what we said, I put the contents into a conversation map.

Besides this first attempt to finish a group work, we do group project in a similar fashion. We would read the materials and discuss how to present them. Then, we make sure our presentation is sounding by practicing it. We will point out some mistakes if we notice a groupmate’s speech is not convincing. In this way, our group works well because everyone is engaged in the group project and has gripped his or her stances.

For essay revision, we normally give advice to each other through group discussion board. After looking at someone’s paper, we can point out its strengths and weaknesses and give suggestions to revise the essay. We reply to each other’s comment to ensure everyone has provided understandable and helpful feedback. If a groupmate does not give feedback timely, we will notice him or her through WeChat, an app that can display instant messages. This work mode is efficient since we all believe we are responsible for each other’s wellness in writing.

Of course, in the field of writing, I particularly contribute to the group about essays’ citation and organization. I am confident about these two aspects: I always cite ethically, and I regularly scrutinize my essay organization to ensure the transition is well-done. As a result, I can readily give advice to my groupmates’ mistakes about citation and organization. I also provide some technical supports: reserving group study rooms in library, making PowerPoint and video clips for the group presentations.

Still, I am concerned about misreading. Because of lack of common ground, we cannot necessarily comprehend some materials covered in the readings. When this comes to revision work, we may give incorrect suggestions for each other’s papers. For me, this will, indeed, be confusing because sometimes I think my groupmates’ advice on my analysis may be misleading. On the other hand, my groupmates will not trust me if my suggestions are not helpful. To resolve this issue, we may go back to the readings and discuss the part’s meanings, google the misunderstood part, or ask our instructor Dr. Gocsik for clarification.

Overall, I am honorable to be grouped with Flory and Shuli. They are thoughtful and see things in different perspectives. I am looking forward to complete more difficult tasks with them in the next term.

Comedy Presentation Plan

Our group will present our support for Dave Chappelle to be invited to the university. We will summarize his comedy first to ensure our classmates know what Chappelle is talking about. Then, by providing three reasons, we will analyze how his jokes work well. Among the three reasons, we will also provide counterarguments of Samantha Bee and Aziz Ansari to explain why the two comedians should not be invited.

Summary: In the stand up, Chappelle first shortly discusses Trump’s election and infer to him as “internet troll”. He mentions the riots in Oregon, which are for protesting Trump’s election. Using the event as a transition, he jokes about black people that watch the riots are saying amateurs. The joke is based on stereotype people have toward blacks that they are violent and are good at creating riots. After introducing the stereotype, he argues against it through jokes about Shooting (at Pulse, a gay night-club, a repressed gay proclaim loyalty to ISIS before he shot) and wu tang clan (Chappelle says that if he has sex with a girl and shout out wu tang does not mean he is in wu tang clan). Through these two jokes, Chappelle demonstrates that even though some of the blacks are violent, not all of them are. After explaining stereotype toward blacks, Chappelle states black lives matters and argues for African American rights. At the end, Chappelle appeals to “give Trump a chance” even though he might not be a good president in protester’s view, for the same reason that white people may not be in favor of blacks have given them equal rights and should treat them equally.

Reason 1: Most of the students are liberal and Dave considers different political opinions. Chapelle first builds common ground between for his white audiences to stand with him. Knowing most of the audiences are protesters of Trump, Chappelle describes Trump as “Internet troll”(1’29’’) in the very beginning of comedy to let audiences know that they are all against Trump. As a university in the California, most of students in the campus are liberal and is against Trump. Chapelle offers the common ground that the students can stand on and engage with the joke.

He also will not offend conservative people (even though they are minority in campus, we do care about their feeling). He claims to “give Trump a chance” at the end of his comedy that shows his support for Trump.

So that is also the reason why we don’t choose Samantha Bee. Because Bee is totally against Trump. Her political opinion and radical attitude towards Trump may offend some conservative students.

Reason 2: Reduce university students’ prejudice toward the black. In the university, sometimes students will also hold stereotype towards black students. Chappelle’s comedy show reduces stereotype they have towards blacks and comfort the black students.

In the comedy show, Chappelle makes a joke to illustrate his claim that not all of the black people are violent and not all of the violence is done by blacks (2:34-3:00).

The joke tells about the shooting event: a gay made a shooting at Pulse. Chappelle makes people laugh at incongruity theory. Based on the common ground people have that ISIS is not gay, Chappelle jokes about ISIS using Grinder, a social networking app for gay, that makes audiences burst out laughing. By pointing out the incongruence, Audiences accept that shooter is not ISIS when they are laughing. Through the joke, Chappelle demonstrates that even though ISIS has done many shootings, not all shootings are done by ISIS, even though some black people are violent, not all violence is done by the black. So, people shouldn’t connect black people with violence together.

Then, Chappelle talks about Obama to claim that black people can also be friendly and respected. All the audience applaud and cheer up when he said Obama has done a good job. (pictures) By reminding the audience of former president Obama as a black, Chappell successfully makes people aware that black people can also become the one everyone admired.

So, the comedy show and the university share the same value in racial equality. When Chappelle’s show is brought to the university, it will be welcomed because his joke reduces the stereotype students have towards the black and will be aware that black people are not that kind of people who only do violence.

Reason 3: Offend people appropriately. Chappelle offends policemen by creating jokes about them. But this offense is appropriate because it only refutes policemen’s discrimination. So, this does not violate university’s principles of community. It also defends black people’s rights, which is embraced by the university.

A commonsense in the world is that people’s life matters more than animals. That’s why policemen shoot a gorilla in a local zoo when it threatens a child. However, Dave Chappelle challenges policemen by saying black people will be in “gorilla costume” to protect themselves (3:56-4:01). This joke implies that police cares more about gorilla than black people.

Then, Dave Chappelle posits that policemen usually shoot innocent black people because they think black people are violent. Though the policemen respond Blue Lives Matter to defend their shooting behavior, Chappelle tells a joke that makes the slogan nonsensical (4:24-4:46).

In this joke, Chappelle uses incongruity theory to argue for Black Lives Matter. He first speaks for the congruence for the two “Life Matters” slogans, then he makes the audience realize that Black and Blue are virtually different: Black is a congenital skin color, but Blue is an external suit. Chappelle shows that if he can take off the skin color, he will not be black, and he is “out of the game”. But that’s impossible. Only policemen can take off their suit to quit being blue. So, Chappelle sensibly offends policemen by deriding their reasoning for shooting black people. He also testifies that police should stop hurt them because they are black.

On the other hand, Aziz Ansari does not address offense aptly. Although both Ansari and Chappelle support equal rights, Ansari exclusively argues against white people, since only they can perform racism. This offense is not appropriate in terms of university standards because he may offend white students.


Work Cited

“Dave Chappelle Stand-Up Monologue – SNL.” YouTube, uploaded by Saturday Night Live, 13 Nov. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–IS0XiNdpk&t=227s.


Reflection of writing in this term

In this term, I have achieved multiple skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking. These skills really give me new insights into the realm of college writing. For instance, instead of simply highlighting, I have learned to annotate in an article when I found somewhere interesting. I also gained the ability to raise an intriguing question. Of course, when answering the question, I have known to draw evidence from multiple sources. With the supporting evidence in hand, I can make my passage sensible. I have, too, understood how to ethically cite sources through studying academic integrity. With the rules in mind, I reached a higher level of thinking, that is, summarizing a passage. I have learned that writing a summary requires me to arrange the materials in a brief yet informational fashion. And after making sense of the summary, I started to synthesize the ideas from different writers and put them into a captivating conversation. I also learned to address counterargument to make my idea stronger, and demonstrate this aspect in my presentation. I internalized grammar and style principles, which are important tools in writing and revising my essays. Then, I understood how to strategically analyze how an argument is made. With reflecting skills, I can be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and work harder in my shortcomings.

This term has its special topic: humor. Reviewing my summary and synthesis paper, I learned how to demonstrate the conversation of different authors about humor’s functions in society. I am pleased to raise an interesting question and invite such many authors to speak for it. This skill is cultivated by studying raising a question and drawing evidence from course readings. The analysis paper also allows me to break down an article and illustrate how each part contributes to the argument. Specifically, when analyzing a comedy, I could apply humor theories, based on my understanding, to address how the comedian makes his or her points. That makes me excited because I can, out of my expectation, tackle the realm of humor with ease. Though most of the assignments are related to humor, the rules that apply to writing are basically the same when I address another discipline. So, I am confident that I can write college-level essays sensibly using the things I learned from the class.

Still, I am concerned about writing in an English convention. I am sure that I do not completely obey that convention when writing, and that makes my essay less understandable. I am also worried about articulating the context or larger conversation. Lacking common background in some fields, I certainly cannot resonate with the readers effectively. Nevertheless, I feel ready for AWP 2B. This class can keep helping me resolving the things I concerned, and proceeds by raising me to a higher level of thinking – argument. This thinking allows me to speak on my own and participate in the larger academic conversation. I feel this step-by-step development of my writing can be really a huge progress in my success in college.

Analysis of Aziz Ansari’s Anti-Racist Comedy

After president Trump’s inauguration, racists started to disparage minorities. To defend the minorities, host Aziz Ansari, in a Saturday Night Live show, performs his stand-up comedy. He argues against racism using the incongruity theory, which states that humor can change the way people think by breaking tension. The audience grow tense as he talks about the lower case kkk movement, that tends to rationalize racism. But when he makes fun of racists, the audience realize that the movement is ridiculous. Ansari proceeds his argument through broaching people’s fear of Muslims. To alleviate discrimination against them, he applies benign violation, a theory that says, “humor arise when something seems wrong and threatening but is completely safe” (McGraw 133). He reveals how people fear about Muslims, and then jokes about these people of their nonsensical fear. Finally, by glorifying former president George Bush’s anti-racist action and consoling the minorities, Ansari scorches the racists and urges Trump to upend racism. Although Ansari offends racists, who support Trump, he confesses, at the beginning, that people should respect them in terms of political opinions. He tells a joke that compares Trump to the popular singer Chris Brown. This joke makes Ansari’s humor successful by creating a common ground, in which people share the understanding of Chris Brown’s music. This common ground helps Ansari to be more understandable and inoffensive. Though he continues offending racists, he gains support from the audience, making the offense worth.

Regarding racism as a serious issue, Aziz Ansari begins his defense of minorities with a statement, “I’m talking about a tiny slice of people that have gotten way too fired up about the Trump thing for the wrong reasons.” (02:30-02:36). Ansari harnesses this statement to shift the audience’s focus toward the lower case kkk movement, and he uses humor to address this problem through implementing incongruity: He stresses the audience by imitating how racists excitedly claim they do not have to pretend to be non-racists. Then, by interrupting the lines, “If you’re one of these people, please go back to pretending” (02:51-02:57), Ansari breaks the audience’s tension and attacks those aggressive racists. He continues the attack through deriding their rationale. “They see me. Trump won, go back to … where you came from. Yeah. They’re not usually geography buffs” (03:53-04:03). Ansari tells this joke to discompose racists, making them laughable instead of intimidating. He proves Critchley’s note that, incongruity creates laughter, and “by laughing at power, we expose its contingency, we realize that what appeared to be fixed and oppressive is in fact the emperor’s new clothes” (Critchley 126). Ansari sensibly uses incongruity to satirize racists, and succeeds in changing the audience’s view about them. He also testifies Mary O’Hara’s belief about humor’s social functions, “Satire is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” (O’Hara 106). Ansari employs this belief to signify that lower case kkk movement makes minorities unsafe. But through satire, he balances the feelings of all the people.

Indeed, Ansari accomplishes refuting racists, making them embarrassed of their irrational actions. But to truly extinguish racism, Ansari should ensure that people are comfortable with minorities. To do this, Ansari leads the audience to another part of his problem, “A lot of people haven’t interacted with any brown people in normal life” (04:57-05:03), and demonstrates that brown people deserve being treated equally. He pokes fun at Muslims by applying benign violation theory, which states that humor makes things funny when the unsafe becomes safe. He first introduces most people’s feelings, “Any time they watch movies, TV shows and a character is Arabic, praying or something that scary music from ‘homeland’ is underneath it. It’s terrifying” (05:50-06:02). This sentence unsettles the audience because of their fear of Muslims. However, as he mocks Muslims, making it appears funny, the audience break into laughter and their fear toward Muslims wanes. According to Olga Khazan, “You can’t make a joke without inserting a wicked twist, and you can’t be a comedian without holding a small amount of power, for even a short period of time, over the audience” (Khazan 113). Ansari broaches Muslims to terrify the audience, gaining him the power to reveal the unsettling truth. Then, as he grasps the power, he shifts the atmosphere and progressively lessens their anxiety through humor. Eventually, he makes people laugh, and they realize that the fear is unnecessary.

After using humor to convince people that racism is absurd, Ansari, with a more emphatic attitude, furthers that president Trump should make a speech denouncing lower case kkk (06:32-06:40). Ansari employs George Bush, a former president of United States, to illustrate what a real president should do: After 9/11, Bush made a speech to denounce terrorists, and clarified that they do not represent Islam. Ansari appreciates Bush speaking for his argument, and uses delightful tone to praise Bush, “He guided us with his eloquence!” (07:44-08:00). Ansari harnesses this tone to empower the minorities, who are disappointed about Trump’s inauguration. He also consoles them by asserting, “If you look at our history, change doesn’t come from president. Change comes from large groups of angry people” (08:17-08:29) He uses this statement to encourage minorities to fight against racism if it still prevails.

So far, Ansari has provided a sounding argument against racism by using humor. Though his jokes offend racists, Ansari identifies with them at the beginning of the comedy. He points out that people should not disparage racists, part of the voters for Trump, and gives credit to them through a shared common ground, that is, knowing the popular singer Chris Brown. Chris Brown’s music has some characteristics that receive different comments from the population, and Ansari applies analogy to compare him with Trump, “Donald Trump is basically the Chris Brown of Politics” (01:54-02:01). Ansari acknowledges that people should respect others even if they hold different political standing. He also admits that split in political opinions, compared to racism, is not a big deal, “As long as we treat each other with respect and remember we are all Americans it will be fine” (02:14:02:20). From this sentence, he can distinguish between political conflict and racism; though Ansari offends racists later, he accomplishes in justifying his arguments against them.

In conclusion, Ansari presents a compelling comedy that targets toward racism. Though he explicitly discusses Trump’s inauguration and motivates people to respect Trump supporters, Ansari disagrees with racists, whom he offends through humor. He applies the incongruity theory to ridicule their reckless discrimination against minorities during the lower case kkk movement. By doing this, Ansari changes the audience’s view about the racists, making them appear funny. He also uses benign violation theory to tell people that interacting with minorities is fine. Finally, Ansari regards George Bush as a model against racism to persuade Trump to take similar actions. Should the racism still exist, Ansari encourages the minorities to defeat racism on their own.


Works Cited

“Aziz Ansari Stand-Up Monologue – SNL.” YouTube, uploaded by Saturday Night Live, 22 Jan.2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whde50AacZs.

Critchley, Simon. “Did You Hear the One About the Philosopher Writing a Book on Humour?”Think, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2002, pp. 103-112, doi.org/10.1017/S147717560000035X.Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC SanDiego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 122-131.

Khazan, Olga. “The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian.” Atlantic, 27 Feb. 2014,www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/02/the-dark-psychology-of-being-a-good-comedian/284104/. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 112-115.

McGraw, Peter and Joel Warner. “Entry 1: What, Exactly, Makes Something Funny?” Slate, 23Mar. 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/what_makes_something_funny_a_bold_new_attempt_at_a_unified_theory_of_comedy.html. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 132-135.

O’Hara, Mary. “A Serious Business: What Can Comedy Do?” Mosaic, 23 Aug. 2016,www.mosaicscience.com/story/comedy-humour-jokes-political-satire-taboo. Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore,2017, pp. 104-111.



I am grateful for my instructor Dr. Gocsik for facilitating me to write analysis effectively. I also appreciate my mentor Sarah for giving suggestions to my focus on the essay. My groupmates Flory and Shuli provide common reader responses and rhetorical analyses to help me revise the essay sensibly.


Response to Instructor Comments

Dear Doctor Karen Gocsik,

I am grateful for your comprehensive comments on my 1N paper. You point out strengths that I should keep, and weaknesses I should work on: The motivating question is inspiring, and the citation and body organization fulfill the basic requirements for college writing. However, to make the essay exceptional, I should understand and analyze the readings effectively at the first place. Without the understanding, the essay will fail to demonstrate a sounding conversation. I also need to be aware of the larger conversation, especially in the introduction. By articulating the broader context, the readers will know how this conversation makes sense in a smaller scale. Moreover, I should be careful about English writing conventions. I make some word choice errors even after revision. Hence, to refine the essay’s expression, making it more understandable, the principles of grammars and styles are still worth revisiting.

To revise this summary and synthesis essay later, I plan to go back to the course readings to make sure I can demonstrate what the authors contribute to the conversation. Then, by comprehending these readings to a higher level, I will check the grammar and style principles, and eliminate inapt words. I will try to illustrate the context of conversation so that the essay will makes impact to the readers, even to the society.