Kiah Bennett’s paper published in Television & New Media

Ph.D. student Kiah Bennett has published the paper “The Refractive Comic: Nanette and Comedy From Inside Identity” in Television & New Media.


This essay theorizes a millennial-era iteration of stand-up comedy: refractive comedy. Through close textual analysis of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette (2018), I argue refractive comedy alters the message, affective nature, and form of stand-up comedy through a rejection of the dominant worldview and subsequent centering of marginalized standpoints. This essay examines Gadsby’s refraction in a broader discourse of industrial and cultural, gendered, and racial gatekeeping. I examine how refractive comedy, additionally, has inspired critical conversation on comedy’s role in relation to shared and collective trauma, as seen in Bo Burnham’s Inside (2021).