Disciplining the Carnivalesque: Chris Farley's Exotic Dance
The comedian Chris Farley routinely performed a carnivalesque humor. This essay considers his appearances on Saturday Night Live as a critical site for understanding a dominant practice of transforming the carnival-grotesque (a positive force, according to Mikhail Bakhtin) into a burlesque (a negative aesthetic expression, according to Kenneth Burke). Particular attention is paid to a skit in which Farley performs an exotic dance, which serves as a model for this problematic endeavor. Aligned with Bakhtin's concept of reduced laughter, this essay further considers media coverage of Farley's death as a symptomatic extension and completion of this disciplinary practice.