Yabbing and Wording
216 pages

Yabbing and Wording , livre ebook

216 pages


Yabbing and Wording: The artistry of Nigerian stand-up comedy is a long-overdue academic interrogation of the novel stand-up practice in Nigeria as performance. 'Yabbing' comes from the Nigerian Pidgin English verb, 'yab', which means a satirical jibe thrown at individuals, groups or institutions. Nigeria's Fela Anikulapo-Kuti used this effectively in his recorded and live music performances against successive military regimes. 'Wording' derives from the English term 'word' and refers to a game in which parties exchange insults. It is a modern-day coinage for traditional forms of joking that existed across Nigeria and elsewhere in precolonial times. In this book, Nwankw? identifies 'yabbing' and 'wording' as outstanding indigenous elements within contemporary stand-up practice in Nigeria. On the one hand, these local joking patterns inform how comedians fashion their narratives. On the other, they mitigate offence and how the audience responds to ridicule in joke performance venues. The book's strength is its academic perspective and the inclusion of as many examples of stand-up and comedians as possible, to give a panoramic view of the practice. It also traces the historical path of the development of professional stand-up comedy in Nigeria. Its closing chapters detail the global outreach of Nigerian stand-up while also anticipating its future developments.



Chapter 1: Origins and influences

Chapter 2: People and personae

Chapter 3: Techniques and devices

Chapter 4: Offence, taboos and themes

Chapter 5: Language and accent

Chapter 6: Audiences, venues and events

Chapter 7: Diaspora performances

Chapter 8: Eyes on the future





Publié par
Date de parution 31 décembre 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781920033866
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

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Dina Ligaga, Women, visibility and morality in Kenyan popular media, 2020.
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Molefe Motsamai, African Personhood and Applied Ethics, 2020
Kwesi Yankah, Beyond the political spider – Critical issues in African Humanities, 2021YABBING AND WORDING
The artistry of Nigerian
stand-up comedy
IZUU NWANKW ỌPublished in South Africa on behalf of the African Humanities Association
by NISC (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 377, Makhanda, 6140, South Africa
First edition, frst impression 2021
Publication © African Humanities Association 2021
T ext © Izuu Nwankwọ 2021
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or any information storage or retrieval system , without prior permission in
writing from the publisher .
ISBN: 978-1-920033-85-9 (softcover)978-1-920033-86-6 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-1-920033-87-3 (ePub)
Project manager: Peter Lague
Indexer: Sanet le Roux
Cover design: Advanced Design Group
Cover photograph: © Fer Gregory/Shutterstock
Te author and the publisher have made every efort to obtain permission for and
acknowledge the use of copyright material. Should an inadvertent infringement of
copyright have occurred, please contact the publisher and we will rectify omissions or
errors in any subsequent reprint or edition.Contents
Acknowledgements viii
List of fguresxiii
ChaPter1Origins and infuences 8
ChaPter 2 People and personae29
ChaPter 3 Techniques and devices45
ChaPter 4 Ofence, taboos and themes68
ChaPter 5 Language and accent 87
ChaPter 6 Audiences, venues and events107
ChaPter 7 Diaspora performances129
ChaPter 8 Eyes on the future 149
bibliograPhy 158
index 191
I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have this work fnally in print. Without
the inspiration and direction You give, I would be nowhere near where I am today.
Tank You! Much love to Nenye and our boys, Daniel and Dubem. Te way you
climb my back and your mom encouraging you with smiles is all the inspiration and
motivation I need. You guys rock! A signifcant portion of my appreciation goes to the
American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS), which has supported my research
variously through its African Humanities Program (AHP). Tis publication’s success
is attributable to its unwavering support for humanities research in Africa. Trough
the AHP network, I have come to know great scholars who have, in no small measure,
positively impacted my career. Special thanks to Ibukun Filani for his wealth of
knowledge and commitment to the study of stand-up in Nigeria. I am also grateful
to the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), the Alexander von
Humboldt Foundation, and the Department of Anthropology and African Studies,
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, for the several opportunities provided for
researching, commencing and completing this book. Special thanks to my Alexander
von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship host, Professor Dr. Matthias Krings, for his
trust, support, suggestions, and timely interventions. Tere are also individuals that
I owe special thanks to, for this work – Rowland Amaefula for reading the frst
draft and making impactful suggestions, and Daria Tunca, Ifeyinwa Okolo, Laura S.
Martin for their characteristic encouragement and nudgings.
Today, Nollywood flms and Afrobeats music are the two genres of popular culture
for which Nigeria is best known beyond its borders, across the African continent
and globally. Equally prolifc, yet somewhat less known outside Nigeria, is a third
genre: stand-up comedy. Like the other two, it originated during the 1990s, took of
during the 2000s and has matured over the past decade. From its humble beginnings
on radio and television and its evolution into multimedia variety live shows, staged
not only in Nigeria but also in the diaspora, stand-up comedy has developed into
Nigeria’s third genre of popular culture to be reckoned with internationally.
Whereas the genre’s name hints at inspirations taken from US models and
elsewhere abroad, its very essence is uniquely Nigerian. It is rooted in the experience of
the Nigerian everyday whose multiple challenges aford patience, witty workarounds
and a personal approach that rather laughs about the inevitable than risk being
dragged down by it. A wonderful expression of this attitude is to be found in the
funny and often ironic ‘translations’ of acronyms almost every Nigerian is familiar
with; during the 1980s, when the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) failed
to deliver a constant fow of electricity, its acronym thus came to stand for ‘never
expect power always’; also immortalised by a Tony Allen album of the same title in
1984. Creating their jokes mostly from the vantage point of the ordinary people, it is
only consequential for comedians to perform in Nigerian Pidgin English, the lingua
franca of the postcolonial Nigerian urban experience. In this sense, Fela Anikulapo
Kuti, who decidedly craf

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