Date of Award

Summer 8-2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Speech Communication

Committee Chair

John C. Meyer

Committee Member 2

Keith Erickson

Committee Member 3

Charles Tardy

Committee Member 4

Lawrence Hosman

Committee Member 5

Eura Jung


Hispanic/Latino comedians' use of humor as argument is a rich environment to study. The relationship between the comedian (as the joke teller) and the audience (as the receivers of the joke) creates an environment where many topical boundaries fall, and the comedian is free to express him/herself without fear of persecution or ridicule. More specifically, this setting allows the comedian to use the platform as joke teller to communicate arguments to the audience through humor. Comedians who use humor rhetorically often communicate arguments about well-known stereotypes freely because audiences attend shows expecting to laugh.

Using Kenneth Burke's (1959) perspective by incongruity as a lenses, this study analyzes the strategies and meanings in the arguments made through humor created by George Lopez and Carlos Mencia from a rhetorical perspective. The primary goal is to create a method that communication scholars are able to apply not only to Hispanic/Latino comedians, but to the overall use of humorous messages with arguments. By establishing the importance of understanding messages created in a communicative setting where humor is expected, Lopez' and Mencia's strategies become clearer. In this case, this method revealed how Lopez and Mencia made strategic arguments through enthymemes and incongruity humor and how those uses of humor affect the stereotypical identities of the Hispanic/Latino population. The results of this study will be used to examine potential rhetorical strengths of using humor not only for Lopez and Mencia, but also for humor users in general.