“Usually I Love The Onion, but This Time You’ve Gone Too Far”: Disability Humour and Transgression

Rebecca Mallett suggests that critical correctness has hamstrung the critical analysis of disability humour, leaving comic representations of disability under-theorized and able to claim a comedic immunity to an extent seldom tolerated for humour based on, for example, race or gender. Building on Mallet’s work, the article combines humour theory, critical material on “ethnic”/racist humour, and existing work from disability studies (both humour-based and non-humour-based) to synthesize a contribution to a more nuanced critical approach to disability humour, and to explore the problems and possibilities it presents for disability studies. The article also probes the assumptions made, both inside and outside disability studies, about the relationship between disability and humour. To demonstrate the praxis of this approach, examples from the popular humour publication The Onion are examined.