Pragmatics of Crisis-Motivated Humour in Computer Mediated Platforms in Nigeria
Humour, an established means of releasing stress and tension has attracted scholarly attention over the years. In the Nigerian discourse context, studies on Crisis-Motivated Humour (CMH) via CMC platforms are scanty. This paper investigates humour shared through the social media which reflects the socioeconomic/political challenges in Nigeria in order to identify CMH as a form of humour through which real-life experiences of other people can be understood. Ethnography of Communication and Pragmatic act theory serve as the theoretical framework. Ten anonymous humorous compositions were randomly selected from WhatsApp and Facebook. CMH is a creative composition of jokes which reflects the Nigerians’ experiences, perceptions, imaginations and assumptions. They are purposefully composed by Nigerians, in order to downplay the effects of the crisis and bring temporary reliefs to the audience. These jokes elicit amusement, high-level wits and satirise the crisis situation(s). CMH are composed mainly in English with a blend of pidgin and a reflection of some Nigerianism. They are replete with verifiable, but exaggerated facts deployed through varying practs. Use of the first person singular pronoun ‘I’ and second person singular/plural ‘you’ with the use of simple present tense of verb among other grammatical elements, are a norm. All these make some of the jokes believable and also establish CMH as a unique genre of humour with an unlimited audience. CMH are often preserve-able and re-usable and thus serve as a relevant medium through which political leaders can assess the plights of the populace and access first-hand information on the ‘real’ impacts of the crisis.