Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Michael Z. Newman

Committee Members

Elana Levine, Dana Schowalter


Gender Dichotomy, Louis C.k., Marc Maron, Masculinity, Podcast, Stand-up Comedy


This thesis discusses the emerging new man comedic persona in contemporary stand-up comedy. The new man comedian eschews the hypermasculine and heteronormative traits that were common among male stand-up comedians during the boom era (1980s-1990s). The new trend of a feminized and feminist comedic persona will be analyzed through case studies of two comedians: Louis C.K. and Marc Maron. Their comedic personae transcend their on-stage comedic routines and are augmented through transmedia texts. In the case of Louis C.K., he challenges the audience's perception of his persona through his semi-autobiographical and sometimes surrealistic television series, Louie. Maron's comedic persona is amplified through his podcast, WTF, as well as his appearances in other media where he is portraying a version of himself. Each comedian's relationship with their audience and their contemporaries will be discussed, both in fictional and non-fictional texts. The emergence of new man comedy through these two comedians also leads to a new theory of stand-up comedy as media genre: That the end goal of stand-up comedy is more than just making the audience laugh.