Interactional humour and spontaneity in TV documentaries



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Lingua
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Linguistics
Keywords humour; pragmatics; broadcast discourse; TV documentary; spontaneity; authenticity; conversational humour; prank
Description This article investigates spontaneous humour-related phenomena in TV documentary, arguing that their presence helps to overcome the scripted nature of the genre. Focusing on the diegetic level of interaction between the presenter and other individuals present in the scene, the analysis traces how the interlocutors achieve mutual in-tune-ness that is necessary for setting up the play frame. It pays attention to several humour-related phenomena, including non-humorous laughter, joint joking and physical pranks. The findings indicate that while laughter can alleviate tension associated with face-threat or personal failure, other forms of humour emerge in the diegetic frame as part of the programme producers’ design to divert from the transactional mode of factual television to a more entertaining hybrid format based on a significant experiential component. As a result, TV viewers do not simply receive information but derive pleasure from the playful spontaneity performed for their benefit by the presenter and other interlocutors.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.