Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Scot Daforth

Second Advisor

Kris DePedro

Third Advisor

William Simmons


Historically, disabled people have not been viewed as innovators of humor because disability is associated with tragedy. My dissertation challenged the association of disability with tragedy by positioning disabled comedians as educators and ambassadors of disability rights. I reviewed the literature on disability and humor as well as disability oppression, which disability humor challenges. I used phenomenology as well as culturally responsive methodologies to examine what disabled comedians are achieving with their humor and what nondisabled audience members learned from attending their performances. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of learning was used to examine learning outcomes for audience members. I examined historical and contemporary Black humor, which is much older than disability humor in order to investigate what may be the future of disability humor.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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