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Cracking Up

Black Feminist Comedy in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century United States

Katelyn Hale Wood (author)

ISBN: 9781609387723

Publication Date: Jun 2021

Format: Paperback

Archives and analyses Black feminist stand-up comedy in the United States over the past sixty years. Looking closely at the work of Jackie ‘Moms' Mabley, Mo'Nique, Wanda Sykes, Sasheer Zamata, Sam Jay, and others, this book shows how Black feminist comedy and the laughter it ignites are vital components of feminist, queer, and anti-racist protest.
£27.50

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Cracking Up archives and analyzes Black feminist stand-up comedy in the United States over the past sixty years. Looking closely at the work of Jackie 'Moms' Mabley, Mo'Nique, Wanda Sykes, Sasheer Zamata, Sam Jay, Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams, Amanda Seales, and Michelle Buteau, this book shows how Black feminist comedy and the laughter it ignites are vital components of feminist, queer, and anti-racist protest.

Katelyn Hale Wood interprets these artists not as tokens in a white, male-dominated field, but as part of a continuous history of Black feminist performance and presence. Broadly, Cracking Up frames stand-up comedy as an important platform from which to examine citizenship in the United States, articulate Black feminist political thought, and subvert structures of power. Wood also champions comedic performance and theatre history as imperative contexts for advancing historical studies of race, gender, and sexuality. From the comedy routines popular on Black vaudeville circuits to stand-up on contemporary social media platforms, Cracking Up excavates an overlooked history of Black women who have made the art of joke-telling a key part of radical performance and political engagement.

Reviews

Cracking Up is a timely and beautifully written book that boldly centers Black queer feminist subjectivity within the stand-up comedy tradition. By situating Black/queer feminist comedians as intellectuals, activists, and Black cultural producers in their own right, Katelyn Hale Wood captures a long-overdue chapter in Black women's history and culture." - La Donna L. Forsgren, author, Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theatre and Performance
Illustrations 17 black & white figures
Pages 204
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Jun 2021
Publisher University of Iowa Press
Series Studies in Theatre History & Culture
Subject/s Gender studies: women   Black & Asian studies   Feminism & feminist theory   Ethnic studies   Other performing arts   Comedy  
Katelyn Hale Wood is assistant professor of theatre history at the University of Virginia. Their previous writing has been published in Performance Matters, Theatre Topics, QED: A Journal in GLTBQ Worldmaking, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, and the Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance. Wood lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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