ABSTRACT

In developing a reflective awareness of the audience's reactions, particularly recognising the quality of their laughter, the comic performer draws on the same set of interactive, performative tools that the stand-up comedian employs. Oliver Double defines the stand-up comedian as 'a single performer standing in front of an audience, talking to them with the specific intention of making them laugh'. The educational psychologist Carl Rogers talked about the need for teachers to have 'unconditional positive regard' (1956) for their learners and the same is true for comic performers and the characters that they inhabit. Comic performance is very closely linked to playfulness. As a communicative activity that is firmly located in the 'here and now', comic interplay is very similar to the characteristics employed by the early care-giving activities during the ubiquitous and universal engagement that is termed 'Child Directed Speech' (CDS). Interplay is in some ways a hidden phenomenon in comic performing.