Orality, Humour and the Rhetorical Discourse of Stand-up Comedy in Nigeria

Peter E. Omoko
Keywords: I Go Die, AY, Orality, Humour, Stand-up Comedy
Tropical Journal of Arts and Humanities 2019 1(2), 1-16. Published: February 1, 2020


The place of stand-up comedy as a major aesthetic sight in Africa is no longer in doubt. It has established itself in the last two decades as one of the artistic forms that connect the performer and the audience in a single shared experience. However, this genre of artistic creation has its roots in oral tradition where it constitutes the aesthetic channel through which the African people dispel boredom as well as come to terms with social reality. The oral artist in traditional societies serves as the recorder of traditional mores and the social critic from whose mouth the tyrant king is sanctioned. These attributes also foreground the aesthetic goal of the stand -up comedian in Africa. This essay examines the aesthetic significance of anecdotal references and allusions in selected stand - up comedy performances in Nigeria. The allusions and references in the jokes performed implicate important personal experiences, and serve as social responses to remarkable events , with humourous and exaggerated expressions enriching their profundities. The analytical materials for the study are got ten from selected digitised comedy shows of I Go Die and AY – two of the most celebrated stand-up comedians in Africa. The study draws essential analytical resources from the postcolonial theory in the context of “re -storying” the discarded sociopolitical thoughts of the people. The essay reveals that, for the African people, stand -up comedy serves various utilitarian and aesthetic functions and concludes that the stand-up comedians, through their comedies, contribute to the development of national consciousness from the discourses generated in the process.