A Brazilian, a Politician, and a Jew Walk Into a Gay Bar: How the Satirical ‘Fake News’ of the Daily Show With Jon Stewart Adapted Augusto Boal’s Joker System for Its Coverage of LGBTQ Rights
Trothen, Steven Vern
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AbstractThis thesis examines modern interpretations of Augusto Boal’s politically engaging and transformative theatrical theory, the Joker System and its derivatives. The concentration of the research uses Boal’s system as the lens for which to examine how televised satire, specifically The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, utilized this historically linked theory of public engagement with politics, policy, and government through theatrical interpretation of modern journalism in both video and print. The arts have, historically, interpreted and commented on contemporary cultural and current events, most ardently at the beginning of the modern era at the turn of the twentieth century. Traditionally, this entailed creating satirical performance art by which performers interpret and perform narrative that is both informative and engaging for an audience that is more proletariat than bourgeoisie. Most art is created for specific audiences and this thesis emphasizes that the 24-hour televised news is both journalism and theatrical narrative. However, my argument takes exception that the target audience of the 24-hour news has been directed towards a demographic that is homogenous, when the information reported on has broad effects on a much larger demographic than it is intended to serve. Boal’s Joker System is the reinterpretive tool utilized by The Daily Show, and similar programs, to disseminate information to the underserved demographics often overlooked by cable news. His tools share a tradition with the modern theatre of the twentieth century, and Modernism in general, that focuses on elevating and educating the meager masses in an effort to combat their exploitation and disenfranchisement.
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