Beck Krefting is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Department, affiliate faculty for Gender Studies, Intergroup Relations, and Media and Film Studies at Skidmore College. Her monograph, All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents (Johns Hopkins UP), charts the history and economy of “charged humor” or stand-up comedy aimed at social justice. She is a contributing author to edited collections some of which include: Hysterical!: Women in American Comedy (University of Texas Press, 2017), Transgressive Humor of American Women Writers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), The Joke’s On Us: Political Comedy Encounters Neoliberalism (Lexington Books, 2018), and Taking a Stand: American Stand-up Comedians as Public Intellectuals (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). You can read her most recent article, titled “Hannah Gadsby Stands Down: Feminist Comedy Studies,” this spring in a special issue focusing on humor in the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies. She is a member of the editorial board for Studies in American Humor and serves on the series editorial board for Penn State’s Humor in America Series. Beck has been invited to speak about her research at colleges and universities domestically and internationally. Current research includes: analyzing feminist comedy studies, the impact of new media on the business of stand-up comedy, and prepper/survivalist subcultures. She is currently working on a new book project, that focuses on 21st century preppers/survivalists. It’s not that funny.

About Beck

Rebecca Krefting, PhD

Recent Publications

Hysterical! Women in American Comedy
Book Cover

“‘We Are the Baddest Motherfuckers on the Block’: Recruiting Margaret Cho’s Army.”

In Hysterical! Women in American Comedy, edited by Linda Mizejewski and Victoria Sturtevant. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2017.

“Dueling Discourses: The Female Comic’s Double-Bind in the New Media Age.”

In Transgressive Humor of American Women Writers, edited by Sabrina Fuchs Abrams. NY, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

In this examination of stand-up comedy, Rebecca Krefting establishes a new genre of comedic production, “charged humor,” and charts its pathways from production to consumption. Some jokes are tears in the fabric of our beliefs—they challenge myths about how fair and democratic our society is and the behaviors and practices we enact to maintain those fictions. Jokes loaded with vitriol and delivered with verve, charged humor compels audiences to action, artfully summoning political critique…

“Feminist comedy? Oxymoronic. Women comics? Not funny. Stand-up comics with a social justice agenda? Don’t get me started. Rebecca Krefting atomizes why these stereotypes persist, illuminating the rich world of comedy committed to progressive politics. Her superb, up-to-the-minute, first-of-its-kind study argues that we build cultural citizenship through humor—nothing could be more serious.”


“A stand-up-comic-turned-scholar, Rebecca Krefting wittily argues for a comprehensive, intersectional rethinking of political comedy. All Joking Aside distinguishes among types of political humor and offers an original theory of “charged comedy” and cultural citizenship. Lively and provocative, this book is a game-changer, and it’s fun to read.”


“This is the kind of introspective stuff that only comedians notice. Rebecca does a terrific job of dissecting a very complex landscape. Read this book and enjoy the view under the microscope before someone charges you a two-drink minimum for the privilege.”


“This is an incredibly valuable and worthwhile read, because it explores not only the remarkable influence comedy has, but it confronts the biases that can undermined great comics while allowing certain hacks to succeed… The value of charged humor cannot be overstated, especially these days, and neither can insightful tomes like this one.”


I have been excited for Rebecca Krefting’s All Joking Aside (out now through Johns Hopkins University Press) to come out since hearing her present at the 2010 AHSA/MTC conference in San Diego (this year in New Orleans).  Krefting’s approach to stand-up comedy is thoughtful, nuanced, and entertaining.


— Tracy Wuster, Humor in America

Read an interview with the author on her new book (with an excerpt).

Academic Appointments

  • Present2017

    Associate Professor, American Studies Department

    Skidmore College

  • 20172015

    Director of Media and Film Studies Program

    Skidmore College

  • 20172011

    Assistant Professor, American Studies Department

    Skidmore College

  • 20112010

    Visiting Assistant Professor

    Skidmore College

  • 20112010


    University of Maryland, College Park

  • 20102006

    Research Assistant/Program Coordinator

    Africa-American Studies at UMCP

  • 20062004

    Administrative Assistant to the Art Gliner Center for Humor Studies

    University of Maryland

  • 20042003


    Ohio State University

  • 20022002

    Research Assistant to Professor Ruby Tapia

    Ohio State University

  • 20012000

    Research Assistant for the Women’s Studies Resource Center

    University of Alabama in Huntsville


  • Ph.D. 2010

    American Studies

    University of Maryland, College Park

  • M.A. 2004

    Women's Studies

    Ohio State University

  • B.A. 2001

    English and Psychology

    University of Alabama in Huntsville

Honors, Awards, and Grants

  • 2015-16
    Research Initiative Grant (FDG)
  • 2014-2015
    Full-Year Sabbatical Enhancement Award
  • 2014
    Faculty-Student Summer Research Grant Recipient
  • 2014
    Faculty Development Grant Recipient
  • 2013
    Faculty Development Grant Recipient
  • 2013
    Faculty Commencement Speaker
  • 2012
    Faculty-Student Summer Research Grant Recipient
  • 2010
    Honors Humanities Doctoral Teaching Fellow
  • 2009-2010
    CTE (Center for Teaching Excellence) Lilly Graduate Teaching Fellow
  • 2008
    Goldhaber Travel Award to present at Digital Humanities 2008, University of Oulu, Finland, June 25-29
  • 2007
    PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) Fellow
  • Spring 2004
    Nominated for Graduate Assistant Teaching Award