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Four Field Colloquium: Double-Voiced Parody: Stewart Huff Plays a Bigot

Friday, April 4, 2014
12:00 AM
340 West Hall

This talk investigates the creative process of standup comedian Stewart Huff as he recounts, in a video-taped interview with the ethnographer, the act of transforming a painful meeting with a bigot in a bar into the stuff of comedy. While speaking of his own process Huff breaks into a performance that demonstrates the cathartic power of building a parodic scenario that uses two voices. Beginning from Bakhtin’s insight that parody involves a hostile relation between the speaker and another, and that introducing someone else’s words into one’s own speech results in a double-voiced narrative, I analyze Huff’s re-creation as providing the comedian himself with an empowering act of transformation from horror into humor, while simultaneously providing humorous recreation for his comedy club audiences.

Susan Seizer, Associate Professor, Department of Communication & Culture Indiana University