Taboo humor and the Holocaust / Karin Babbitt Chilcott.
This thesis addresses the topic of taboo humor in performance and how Holocaust humor both defines and defies comedy taboo standards. It examines the nature of taboo, the signifiers and functions of controversial humor in performance, and reviews elements of taboo inducing humor in Holocaust comedies of various performance media. Research reveals the applicability of the sociological study of taboo by Mary Douglas to the interpretation of taboo humor. In defining taboo as a necessary tool for social control, controversial humor emerges as the comedic mechanism for the shaping of social values. Volatile critical responses exist from many consumers of Holocaust humor because of an implied defilement of the esteemed sacred memory of Holocaust victims. The study indicates that Holocaust humor in performance transcends taboo consignment because of the profound inadequacy revealed in attempts to represent the tragedy in seriousness.
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