Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ted Friedman

Second Advisor

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley

Third Advisor

Jason Mittell

Fourth Advisor

Alisa Perren

Fifth Advisor

Leonard Teel


The relationship between humor and politics has been a frequently discussed issue for communication researchers in the new millennium. The rise and success of shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report force a reevaluation of the relationship between journalism and politics. Through archival research of scripts, programs, and surrounding discourses this dissertation looks to the past and historicizes news parody as a distinct genre on American television. Since the 1960s several programs on network and cable parodied mainstream newscasts and newsmakers. More recent examples of this genre circulate within the same discursive field as traditional television news, thereby functioning both as news in their own right and as a corrective to traditional journalism grounded in practices of objectivity. The dissertation utilizes genre, discourse, and textual analyses to establish the attributes of television news parody and to analyze its role in past and contemporary journalism and culture.