Childhood experiences of professional comedians: Peer and parent relationships and humor use.

Gil Greengross, Rod A. Martin, Geoffrey F. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract

This study examines a commonly held belief, left over from psychoanalytic theories of humor as a coping mechanism, that relationships with parents strongly influence comedians' temperaments and career choices. Thirty one professional stand-up comedians and 400 students completed the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), which concerns recollected parental care and protectiveness, and a new self-report questionnaire that measures popularity and humor use among peers during adolescence. Results show that comedians' parents did not differ from students' parents in care or protectiveness, and comedians did not differ from students in adolescent popularity, but comedians did use more humor among adolescent peers (were more likely to be class clowns, make fun of others, laugh at themselves, and be the butt of jokes). The results suggest that stand-up comedians do not differ much from ordinary college students in their parental or adolescence peer relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-505
Number of pages15
JournalHumor
Volume25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • humour
  • comedians
  • stand-up comedy
  • parental bonding
  • development

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