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  • The Editor’s Drawers
  • David Gillota

Dear readers,

I am pleased to present issue 9.2 of Studies in American Humor. Once again, we have an issue that represents the breadth of work being done in American humor studies, with essays focusing on poetry, drama, late-night television, and film comedy. The work in this issue also demonstrates that scholarship on American humor is not only being created by scholars working in the United States, as we have two pieces from scholars out of Europe.

First up is Sarah Shermyen’s “Reading Gertrude Stein for Pleasure: Finding the ‘Mere Humor’ in ‘High Modernism.’” Shermyen offers an analysis of Stein’s seemingly impenetrable poem “If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso.” However, rather than offering a traditional literary analysis, Shermyen focuses on the poem’s playfulness and teases out the ways in which its use of sound and repetition may generate laughter for readers. Next, Mark Hama explores the sophisticated uses of ethnic humor in the work of playwright Luís Valdez. Hama’s essay “Challenging Stereotypes: Prosocial Racial Humor in Luís Valdez’s Actos” provides a useful historical context for Valdez’s work and ultimately focuses on the ways in which his one-act play Los Vendidos uses humor to challenge predominant stereotypes of Mexican Americans.

After that, Michael Louis Moser explores the multiple strategies of late-night television hosts during the pandemic in his piece “Intimacy, In-Jokes, and the Feeling of Spontaneity on Late-Night Talk Shows: How Hosts and Audiences Laughed Together in Pandemic Times.” This excellent essay adds to the growing body of work about how COVID may have changed the ways in which we consume, produce, and understand humor. Finally, Wieland Schwanebeck explores the intersections of community building and awkward humor in his essay “When the Community of Laughter [End Page 203] Needed the Bathroom: Bridesmaids and the Limits of Cringe Comedy.” This piece offers a compelling analysis of the raunch-com film Bridesmaids and of the social impact of cringe comedy in general. The issue is rounded out by a full slate of book reviews and our usual “On Second Thought” feature. Lastly, please keep your eye out for our forthcoming special issue on feminist humor, due out one year from now. [End Page 204]

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