A Case Study On the Use of Humorous Code-Switching in Harith Iskander’s Stand-Up Comedy Shows


  • Hagiladeswari Palani Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Farhana Bakar Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0783-2980




Code-switch, Stand-up Comedy, Humour, Harith Iskander



Code-switching is a phenomenon where bilingual and multilingual speakers use two or more languages. Code-switching is a common situation in Malaysia due to the diversified cultural communities. However, little that we know how code-switching influences stand-up comedy shows. Hence, this paper explores the use of code-switching in stand-up comedy shows. Specifically, this paper explores the humorous code-switching that a comedian uses, the different linguistic types of code-switching used, and the conversational functions of code-switching. Data from this case study was collected by observing the stand-up comedy show from YouTube videos by one of the best Malaysian comedians, Harith Iskander. A total of ten YouTube videos were chosen where Harith used humorous code-switching to make the audience laugh. The data were analysed according to the objectives of this study The analysis revealed three types of humour that aligned with superiority theory: self-deprecating humour, disparaging others, and sarcasm. We found that ad-lib humour and funny comments aligned with the theory of incongruity. The analysis also revealed one humour that aligns with the relief theory. This study used Poplack’s (2008) three types of code-switching, namely tag-switching, inter-sentential switching, and intra-sentential switching. Based on Gumperz's (1982), six conversational functions, four of which have been identified in Harith Iskander's stand-up comedy shows: quotation, reiteration, message qualification, and personification versus objectification. This also suggests that humorous code-switching is invaluable for stand-up comedians and the audience, particularly those who are bilingual or multilingual.



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How to Cite

Palani, H., & Bakar, F. (2023). A Case Study On the Use of Humorous Code-Switching in Harith Iskander’s Stand-Up Comedy Shows. LSP International Journal, 10(2), 13–26. https://doi.org/10.11113/lspi.v10.20121