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By Charles J. Mays, Graduate Fellow for the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication
Watch the video. Read the transcript. Listen to and download the podcast.
OCTOBER 24―Comedian, writer, and Ph.D. candidate Amberia Allen examined why "humor matters," especially in this political era, in the October 24 installment of National Agenda's Midterms Matter speaker series. Allen, who boasts an impressive resume not only as a comedian but also as a Ph.D. candidate studying sociology with a focus on race and gender, said that sometimes you just have to roll with the chaos.
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Comedian Amberia Allen spoke with students in the National Agenda class on October 24, 2018.
In all the pandemonium of the news, some of which can be dark and depressing, Allen said she draws her humor from looking for all of the ways in which a situation is absurd. Allen described several recent news stories about black Americans having the police called on them during mundane activities. As a writer on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, for example, she focused on the many details surrounding the story earlier this year about two black men who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a business partner. Allen said it's important to pick apart all aspects of such events to provide some humor alongside bringing light to a serious issue.
Amberia Allen also spoke about the issues facing women and women of color in the entertainment industry, which is a focus of her doctoral work. When asked by a student about how to break into the industry, her first piece of advice was to seek out mentorship. Networking and friendships are important in Hollywood, she noted. Second, she warned that someone wanting to get into the field must be prepared for opportunity whenever it pops up. "Be ready for the call."
Guest speaker Amberia Allen discussed why Humor Matters with National Agenda director and moderator Lindsay Hoffman on Wednesday, October 24, at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall Audiitorium.
Allen also said that Hollywood and the media need more minority and female representation, explaining that television doesn't reflect that 40 percent of the population is of minority background and 50 percent female. She pointed out that shows featuring diversity tend to perform better across all domestic demographics and even internationally. The data shows that diversity sells, but unfortunately progress is slow.
The eighth annual National Agenda speaker series, hosted by the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication, brings nationally known speakers to campus. This year's theme, "Midterm Matters," explores how issues affect midterm elections and why voter and civic engagement is important. National Agenda is free and open to the public and made possible with support from the University of Delaware Office of the Provost. For more information, please visit www.cpc.udel.edu/nationalagenda.