Beck Krefting is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department, affiliate faculty for Gender Studies, and director of the Media and Film Studies Program at Skidmore College. In 2014, she published her first book, All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents (Johns Hopkins UP)—charting the history and economy of “charged humor” or stand-up comedy aimed at social justice—and is a contributing author to several edited collections including the forthcoming edited collection, Hysterical!: Women in American Comedy (University of Texas Press, 2017). She is currently working on a new book project that focuses on 21st century preppers/survivalists and has several forthcoming chapters in edited collections on humor such as Transgressive Humor of American Women Writers, Taking a Stand: American Stand-up Comedians as Public Intellectuals, and Political Comedy: Critical Encounters.

About Beck

Rebecca Krefting, PhD

Recent Publications

Book Cover

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

  • Present2015

    Director of Media and Film Studies Program

    Skidmore College

  • Present2011

    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