2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

"Comedy is Tragedy plus Time": Adversity in the Lives of Successful Comedians
Danny L. Hearst
Dr. Mark Hatala, Faculty Mentor

Previous research on successful comedians identified five characteristics disproportionately represented among comedians compared to the general population. Notably, successful comedians were disproportionately from low socioeconomic status families and high school dropouts. This study examines whether the adversity such individuals experienced in their early life is related to their success as entertainers later in life. One hundred comedians were coded on an adversity scale, which was then compared to their ranking on Comedy Central's Top 100 Comedians of All Time to see if a relationship between early life adversity and success in comedy could be identified. Results identified a significant effect for adversity in general (p<.001), with notable effects from parental actions (p<.05), issues with peers (p<.05), and low socioeconomic status (p<.001).

Keywords: adversity, development, psychology


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 11-6
Location: GEO-SUB
Time: 3:30

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