Project #3 Ideas

The first idea that came to mind of a paradigm shift is the shift that has occurred in stand up comedy. Only a few decades ago, comedians like Bill Cosby were incredibly popular, telling very clean, and simple jokes. Comedy began to shift around the time Eddie Murphy became popular. At this time, comedy began to be darker, and was done in a fashion much like story telling. Nowadays, popular comedians’ jokes, like that of Louis CK, are incredibly dark, touching on some of the most controversial topics of life (race, gay marriage, etc.) Comedy specials are now like watching a master story teller tell the story of everyday life with an interesting spin. This comedy is a lot harder to grasp than that of the past, but also conveys very important messages about how the comedian and the audience should think about how the world works. Despite this shift, there are still some comedians that use the olden-day styles of Bill Cosby (Gabriel Iglesias, for example). I think it would be incredibly interesting to see what types of jokes comedians are shifting to, as well as discover how audiences are reacting to these jokes.

The other topic idea I have is the paradigm shift that has taken place in rap music. In the early days of hip hop, rap was the medium through which underprivileged artists spoke their mind. Artists like Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls rapped about the struggles they were currently facing, as well as what they had to deal with in the past. Until the end of this era in rap, rappers like Biggie and Tupac rapped to bolster their own reputation, and worried solely about their work. However, rap is shifting into a completely new vein. Rappers try to rap about struggles that they have not truly experienced (Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” is a great example). Also, rappers have shifted away from getting messages out through their rap. Finally, rappers constantly bash on each other to increase publicity. Chris Brown recently called out Drake on live radio. Things like this never used to happen, but are now everyday occurrences in rap. Rap is becoming more and more popular, so I think it would be very interesting to analyze this paradigm shift.

2 thoughts on “Project #3 Ideas

  1. Caitlyn Marie Edgell

    Both of these ideas are reflected in culture today, and I think this is what makes them most interesting. I haven’t really thought about how comedy has changed, but now that you mention it, the dirtiness of jokes has definitely evolved over time. Before, it was all about making people laugh by commenting on life experiences, and today it seems like making people laugh only occurs when poking fun at other people’s hardships. This seems like a small enough period for you to analyze deeply and many examples for both sides can be found. If you use this for your idea, I would consider having some videos of the comedy routines in your TED talk to prove your point. As far as your second idea, I don’t listen to rap music a lot, so I’m probably not the best to give advice on this topic, but I think that you could definitely make it work. It’s interesting that the lyrics before had such a deep meaning and now the lyrics are about things that the rapper can’t relate to. I think it would also be interesting to look at the whole idea of the rap culture and how it has evolved. Rap stars today have an societal image that I feel like they think that they need to meet as far as the way they conduct themselves, their style, their language, etc. You could analyze this as well, and I think that that would make for a very interesting paper. What’s great about both of these topics is that I can see either of them being made into a TED talk that the audience can enjoy. Good luck!

  2. Sarah Danielle Williams

    I think both of these ideas are really interesting, but I think the one about comedy is a bit more specific and may be easier to write about. I’m sure you’ll have plenty to analyze about either topic, but personally I find the first one a bit more compelling – how did we, as a culture, make such a drastic change in our holistic sense of humor over a relatively short time? What happened that caused us to stop telling clean jokes in favor for offensive ones, especially in time periods where inclusion and equality are preached everywhere?

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