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Event Series: Afrikakolloquium

Stand-up Comedy and the Performance of Everydayness in Nigeria

Stand-up comedy and the performance of everydayness in Nigeria


Wed., Jan. 22, 2020
4:15pm - 5:45pm


Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Nigerian stand-up comedians are unanimous concerning the essentiality of the moorings and embeddedness of their art and creative sensibilities in the social cosmologies and political landscape of their homeland. This unanimity finds concrete expression in their relentless engagement with the everydayness of the existential, lived experiences of Nigeria’s  heterogeneous population in ways that conventional media and other domains of communication have not been able to accomplish. However, this comic engagement with the everyday and its corpus of contradictions within a postcolonial dynamic has not received sufficient scholarly attention. The everyday is present in contradictions that define routinized individual and corporate, private and public performances in politics/government, religion, economy, culture, ethnic and sexual identity politics, entertainment, lifestyle and sports. Like the jesters in indigenous cultures who wielded enormous epistemological capital with their playful, foolish wisdom, Nigerian comics have also mobilized their artistry to negotiate the paradoxes of the postcolonial condition. They deploy the figural language of satire, sarcasm, irony, burlesque, buffoonery, caricature, parody, hyperbole, mimicry and aggressive humor to map the comic terrain and interrogate life’s realities. This presentation, therefore, explores Nigeria’s comic practices and the dynamic ways in which stand-up comics participate in Nigerian everyday life through their performances while offering alternative interpretive practices and possibilities in a postcolonial milieu.

James Tar Tsaaior is Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow in the Institute for Anglophone and American Studies, University of Potsdam and former Isaac Newton and Leverhulme Trust Fellow, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

Further information

Organizer: Seminar für Afrikawissenschaften
Speakers: Prof. Dr. James Tar Tsaaior (Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos / Universität Potsdam)
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Susanne Gehrmann


Prof. Dr. Tom Güldemann
Phone: 030 2093 66072


Invalidenstraße 118.Institutsgebäude
Room: 410