The Stand Up Comedy and The Parrhesiast

  • Simone Cantino
Keywords: Satire, Stand up comedy, Comedian, Truth, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Euphemism


In the present essay the author examines the american Stand up comedy as a form of art and entertainement which involves many different aspects (for instance One man show and Preaching). The intent of this essay is to look into the correlation that the comedian creates between laughter and the search for truth (both personal and universal).

By comparing different bits and excerpts taken from the comedy acts of american authors such as Lenn Bruce, George Carlin and Bill Hicks, the author finds a relation between the elements of satire in the Stand up comedy genre and the concept of ‘parrhesia’ and parrhesiast.

The purpose of the essay is to demonstrate how the peculiar figure of the stand up comedian can assume a precise philosophical and ethical role. The act of showing the people their own hypocrisies and self deceptions by using the laughter is a way  to stimulate a reflection and, potentially, determine a growth of self awareness in the mind of the people of the audience. Stand up comedy should be seen not only as a form of entertainment, but also as a way for developing a critical thinking and can be considered, in some cases, a tool for achieving some kind of revelation and change.


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Author Biography

Simone Cantino

Simone Cantino,, has achieved a degree in Culture Moderne Comparate (2011) with the supervision of Barbara Lanati. He has obtained a Ph.D in “Letterature e culture d’Europa” issued by “Istituto italiano di scienze umane” in Florence (2011-2014). His main field of research involves english and anglo-american contemporary literature, William S. Burroughs and also authors and philosophers as Sade, Foucault, Starobinski, Deleuze, Blanchot. His doctoral dissertation, with the supervision of Nadia Fusini, is about the hybridation of inner and outer reality in the works of british sci-fi writer J.G. Ballard.


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How to Cite
Cantino, S. (2017). The Stand Up Comedy and The Parrhesiast. Between, 6(12).
With God or Against God, but Never without God. The Laugh in Writing (and Rewriting)