Divine Comedy

Hiroki Araki-Kawaguchi

Divine Comedy

In this course you will analyze, research, write, workshop, and perform stand-up comedy material each week. You do not have to be able to get laughs or be comfortable on stage, but you do have to be brave, respectful, and hardworking. You will not only be asked to critique our class texts, but also to conceive and develop your own stand-up material as a form of social, cultural, or media critique. This course will be interested in forging a productive dialogue between the speaker and issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Your writing and performance will be subject to a variety of constraints (for example: no derogatory slurs that demean another person based on their color, nation, culture, etc.).

We’re not asking you to hold all your punches. We are going to ask you to take a lot of risks. We are going to discuss these risks and we want to defend your right to take them. At the same time we should always be considering this problem, this contradiction of comedy. The comedy we’re going to be confronting (and producing) hinges on a contradiction between the offensive and the critical. The central contradiction of stand-up comedy—of anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-colonial comedy—is that homophobia, sexism, racism, and colonialism are ugly phenomena and pressing concerns while at the same time, they have an internal ridiculousness that makes us laugh. The confrontation of tragedy can provoke laughter. So can the demystification of incredibly dark desires.

You are going to continually ask yourself questions like these: How can you be funny about racism without advertising racism? How can you be funny about violence without undermining the consequences of violence? We will also be concerned with the ethics of contemporary stand-up comedy (for example: gender inequality for professional comedians). In this class, we will create comedy by taking comedy as our subject.


Virtual Advising:

Available through vac.ucsd.edu.

Walk-In Advising:

Held in the Sixth College Annex.

Monday and Wednesday: 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Summer I 2016