Class Year

2017

Access Type

Vassar Community Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

First Advisor

Alexander Kupfer

Second Advisor

Dara Greenwood

Abstract

Joan Rivers. Elayne Boosler. Roseanne Barr. Janeane Garofalo. Amy Schumer. What do these commedians–whose careers span seven decades–have in common? Starting in the 1950s and ending in contemporary times, we see that there are transhistorical trends–including self-deprecation, navigating one’s anger, and a contentious and often contradictory relationship to feminism as well as femininity–which link these and other women comedians together in lasting and complicated ways. However, at the same time, we find that these very comedians have often pushed back against the tropes and stereotypes that have attempted to define them through the decades in exciting and innovative ways.

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