The essays in Rashi Bhargava and Richa Chilana’s collection evaluate what it means to “punch up” in stand-up comedy, particularly in the comedic histories of non-Western nations. The volume offers a global perspective on punching up, moving away from the heavily Anglicized focus that is found in the Americas and the United Kingdom. But the volume does not just fill a gap with respect to scholarship on comedy or humor from other nations but aims to reevaluate stand-up’s relationship with politics by building on insights derived from a Western tradition of stand-up. Bhargava and Chilana argue that “all stand up performances are political and no jokes are innocent” (6), a state of affairs that they maintain compels us to “revisit our notion of what constitutes the political and vice versa” (23).

To do so, Bhargava and Chilana lean on Rebecca Krefting’s theory of charged humor, humor that intends “to create...

You do not currently have access to this content.