Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Kee Yong



Committee Member

Petra Rethmann


It has been suggested that Canadian society increasingly promotes a rhetoric of tolerance, through the dissemination of multicultural and politically correct discourses. At the same time, there has been a growth in the popularity of performances that seemingly counters this national image; that of risqué stand-up comedy. This dissertation explores if an institutionalized rhetoric of multiculturalism and “PC”, popularized since the late 1980s, is pierced, protracted and parodied within risqué stand-up comedy while remaining confined within spatial and temporal boundaries. Furthermore, this relationship between comedy and multicultural and “PC” discourses illuminates the nature of power circulating within our dialogues about issues of discrimination in contemporary Canadian society. This thesis establishes that both stand-up comic performances and politically correct rhetoric share a carnivalesque nature that while degrades authorial discourses, is ultimately constrained within its self-definition.

McMaster University Library