SURF

Bradley Allen Hunt

Marginalization and the American Comedic Voice

‘Comedy’–as a genre, term, and concept–receives relatively little attention and academic exploration when juxtaposed with more ‘central’ fields of literary studies. Comedy is considered ‘low art’ by some, simply ‘illegitimate’ by others, and even believed to be derived from sin itself by a few literary critics. By examining the early travel writings and letters of Mark Twain, as well as the contemporary television program “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” I attempt to determine from where the marginality of the American comedic voice originates, and what effect it has on the so-called ‘power’ or ‘weight’ of American comedic texts. I will also spend time with the existing (albeit, small) body of criticism concerning comedy in order to better conceptualize and articulate the concepts examined in my primary texts.

Message to Sponsor

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship is undoubtedly the most exciting opportunity I've had the honor of receiving at this point in my academic career. For my field of study, as well as most others, self-guided research is the 'holy grail' of academic work, the eventual privilege that all previous hard work has led to. My current project attempts to examine comedy in a manner that would never be possible in a classroom setting, since the act of 'breaking new ground' necessarily implies an exploration of ideas that would not be taught in a standard semester. The SURF program allows me to explore these ideas in my own manner, and challenges me to prove my abilities as an independent researcher.
  • Major: English
  • Mentor: Kent Pucket, English