Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors
This thesis examines the relationship between late-night comedy news shows and their audiences, in terms of how they impact public opinion, political attentiveness and civic engagement. It looks at how the genre of late night political comedy is not a monolith, and neither is its audiences, and addresses the different ways these two interact with one another. Through an in-depth literature review, this thesis finds that late night political comedy has the most impact on politically inattentive audiences who end up learning about politics inadvertently, and that the jokes featured on these shows actively primes these viewers to hold certain views on political candidates and systems. The research points to key communication and humor theories that help explain these findings.
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Olmstead, Molly J., "Late-Night Political Comedy’s Impact on Audience Political Attentiveness, Public Opinion, and Civic Engagement" (2020). University Honors Theses. Paper 986.