Mark Angel is a comedian, screenwriter, and video producer from Nigeria. He is best known for his YouTube short film series Mark Angel Comedy, which frequently features child comedians such as his cousin, Emmanuella Samuel, his niece, and her cousin “Aunty” Success Madubuike.
According to Yinka (2015), Nigeria is fast becoming the African Nation to beat the Lampoon, wit and emerging genres of comedy. History has decorated countries like Britain and United States of America as the nations with great sense of humour owing to their ability to laugh at themselves and freedom to get away with controversial jokes. Although this art form is as old as the ﬁrst world civilization, comedy has evolved through the ages and the dynamics of its changes in the digital age. In judging which nation is funniest, reviewers often rely on television shows, festival related comedies, the size of the practicing professionals and popular views. The rivalry between Britain and United States of American in this act is overwhelming, as both countries can boast of many breakfast shows with witty television hosts. For every Jonathan Ross, there is Ellen DeGeneres. What’s more, they both have a repertoire of sitcoms that can make you miss a job interview. The British and America television have content writers and producers that develop comic sketches, satirical drama and stand-up comedy shows for a variety of entertainment programming. In addition, British Journals, magazines and newspaper reviews regularly promote this aspect of their cultural life.
America has always topped the game by getting the ﬁrst family involved in comedy.
Neeruam (2013) is of the opinion that the Nigerian comedy scene is quite disorganized. To the non-professional, the industry, if it can be so called, can be loosely split into two. One arm is for the stand-up comedians while the other is for social media downs that have no umbrella body. However, we used to have sitcoms like the new masquerade. Basi and company, and Charley Boy show with segments such as proof, productions that had been one of the longest running sitcoms till date. Many Nigerian sitcoms ﬁzzled out of our screens because they lacked sponsorship. The stand-up comedians began to rebuild the sitcom scenery. Comedians such as Ay and Teju Babyface have brought smiles to many faces with their contribution to funny television content. But that not all.
Yinka (2015) says since internet service provider launched their operations in Nigeria, it has been a diﬀerent ballgame for comedy where it romances with another art form. Photography and videos have been made easy with the availability of aﬀordable smartphones and many Nigerian jesters have their exhibition on social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram and personal blogs. The frequency of uploads of picture with funny caption was initially attributed to the unemployed until a few gainfully employed youths led the pack Falz-the- bad-guy is a fast-rising online comedian whose part started as a lampoon. Falz-the-bad-guy mimics some Yoruba natives whose accents interfere strongly with the waves of correct use of English Language. Beyond provoking laughter, he uses his jokes to make social commentaries on human vices and prevalent attitudes. He also gets the audience involved by entertaining parodies of his comical.
Satirical comedies in Nigeria have made light of issues that should be received with heavy hearts. Let us take a cue from the recent jokes on fuel scarcity: one of the most popular comic images on this theme is that of a chained Alsatian fastened to a 50litres jerry can of fuel. It clearly needs no explanation to elicit laughter. There is another picture of a young man who folded his legs above his head and lowered his body below the dashboard with the hashtag. #Ainnobodygotfuelforthat. That image was published on CNN website in a detailed news report about Nigeria’s fuel crisis jokes such as this help to douse tension and distractions from surrounding turmoil still, they have been criticized for being capable of undermining the seriousness of societal ills.
No doubt, the world will begin to take Nigeria comedy seriously when we document this act of comedy through a series of workshops and festival of comedy. A forum that brings the cartoonist, online jesters, photographers, comic video and television content producers and reviewers as well as scholars in art together will spell decorum and set standards for this emerging industry. In addition, the deliberations, if it ever happens, should help position the art of comedy in a rightful place in the nation’s economy and in promoting societal values.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed in many academic studies that good societal values in Nigeria are on the decline. These include traditional values of truth, hard work, justice, tolerance, etc. Many of these values have been eroded for various reasons including modernization among others (Idang, 2015). As a result, there has been an increase in societal vices and crime such as terrorism, kidnapping, vandalism, drug abuse, cultism, armed robbery, etc. These have greatly undermined the Nigerian society and has resulted in a crisis that aﬀects the very fabric of society. Traditional institutions and means of control have not been able to suﬃciently tackle the problems arising from this erosion of societal values. It is on the basis of this that it has been argued that comedy can play an important role in promoting societal values. Comedy is in many ways the art of observation. It reﬂects the culture from which it comes. Because of this, comedy is edgy when it is new, and dated once culture has changed. Comedy is an especially eﬀective way to address sensitive issues like societal values, social justice because it is an arena in which we now expect to hear people speaking candidly, and not being “politically correct.” What cannot be said in newspapers or in the wake of delicate political campaigns is welcomed in the routine of comedy. Moreover, because of comedy’s massive popularity and reach in Nigeria, it is capable of creating major social change that can aﬀect people’s perceptions towards societal values or social justice. Since the advent of comedy videos, it is assumed in some quarters that the videos are tilted toward mimicking public ﬁgures, as well as, spreading central or economic challenges and their shortcomings. It has also been inferred that the masses devout more attention to comedy videos that mimic an entity than those that communicate values. The question this study seeks to another is: “how do Nigerian comedy videos promote societal values?” taking Mark Angel comedy videos as a case study.
Objectives of the Study
This study has the following objectives:
- To determine the societal values and trends conveyed by Mark Angel comedy
- To determine which societal values had the highest mention in Mark Angel comedy
- To ascertain the negative societal values conveyed by Mark Angel comedy
- To determine which Negative Societal values had the highest
The Concept of Societal Values
Societal values form important parts of the culture of the society. Values account for the stability of social order and provide the general guidelines for social conduct. Values such as fundamental rights, patriotism, respect for human dignity, rationality, sacriﬁce, individuality, equality, democracy etc. guide behaviour in many ways. People use values as yardsticks for assessing their daily lives, arranging their priorities and choosing between alternative courses of action.
According Johnson (1963), Values are general standards and may be regarded as higher order norms Young and Mack (1960) write: “Values are assumption, largely unconscious, of what is right and important”. Haralambos and Holborn (1995, p.5) however, assert that “A value is a belief that something is good and worthwhile. It deﬁnes what is worth having and worth striving”.
According to Peter Worsley (1966 p.19), “Values are general conceptions of ‘the good’, ideas about the kind of ends that people should pursue throughout their lives and throughout the many diﬀerent activities in which they engage”. In simple words, values may be deﬁned as measures of goodness or desirability. Values are standards of social behaviour derived from social interaction and accepted as constituent facts of social structure. They are objects that social conditions desire. These are culturally deﬁned goals and involve sentiments and signiﬁcance that consist of aspirational reference.Values are expected to be followed for judging and evaluating social interaction, goals, means, ideas, feelings and the expected conduct. Without such evaluating standard, it would be diﬃcult to judge individual behaviour or social action. Values aim to integrate expected individual behaviour and social action. It tends to forestall tension and as such have tension management role.
The Concept of Comedy
Comedy is a powerful source of inﬂuence and information in the digital age that is available more than ever. Various societies accept and recognise comedy as one of the purest forms of public communication, which also implements various cultural and social aspects in its presentation (Arnot, 2007). Consequently, one can say that comedy and social change go hand in hand. Social change is the backbone of comedy as it provides stability in the conceptualisation of topics for discussion.
Although the subject of humour is usually undervalued, it is quite clear that the study of culture and society cannot signiﬁcantly wrap its ﬁngers around the index of societal values, concerns and even attitudes without its incorporation (Henkel, 1980). Hence, comedy reveals the best concepts of humour and positively manifests its values within a given culture with an aim of triggering the social change in various aspects of our daily lives.
Most television and live performance program use the “laughter eﬀect” to pass their messages on social change. This includes issues ranging from poverty eradication, ending marital abuse to the importance of political change. Even if this concept has been so far successful, there is still an underlying factor that comedy and social change have their roots deeply intertwined with several dramatic performances and complex rituals richer value than we can ever comprehend (Oring, 2003).
Mark Angel Comedy
Emmanuella Samuel is a talented Nigerian comedienne born on July 22, She is Mark Angel’s niece and the duo have produced over 100 short comedy shows in Nigeria, with more than 2.5 million viewers and about 430,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. Emmanuella recently got the rare opportunity to be featured on Cable News Network, CNN, to the delight of many viewers in the world.
There are two interrelated strands packaged in Emmanuella’s comedy show: Nigerian children’s socio-cultural experiences and age- dependent humour. First, in an adult dominant society like Nigeria, children are not so socially empowered and their rights are largely subjective, which reﬂects in their socio-cultural experiences. Age- dependant humour has received little scholarly attention in Africa and this study therefore investigates the children’s experience in symmetric and asymmetric social relationships in informal settings and food related attitudes within the humorous discourse on the show.
Signiﬁcantly, humour scholarship has gained currency for about three decades now; although while it is not an exclusively adult exploration, more scholarly attention has been so directed. Children’s humour particularly manifests socio-cultural experiences of children. Diﬀerentiating children’s humour from adults’, Polimeni and Reiss (2006) opine that at about 7 or 8 years old, children’s humour approach that of an adult, although it understandably lacks the same richness. Meanwhile, Apte (1985) argues that surveillance of the anthropological literature on children’s humour gleaned two points: one, Children mimicking adults in a comical manner may be universal; two, Humour involving ridicule is always more common in children compared to adults. Adults humour is distinctly structured and patterned toward relaxation of physical audience in most cases as it is in the Nigerian stand-up comedy. However, contemporary children’s humour is more characterised within the media because of the signiﬁcant role the media plays in children’s discourse, especially in the way they are represented.
This research eﬀort is anchored on the Social Learning Theory which posits that the learning process and social behaviour can be acquired by observing and imitating others. Social learning theory was developed in 1977 by psychologist Albert Bandura, and remains one of the most inﬂuential theories of learning and development. It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement. In addition to the observation of behaviour, learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. When a particular behaviour is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist; conversely, if a particular behaviour is constantly punished, it will most likely desist. Social Learning Theory is concerned on observational learning process among people.: The Social Learning Theory says that people can learn by watching other people perform the behaviour Sincero (J 2011). Observational learning explains the nature of children to learn behaviours by watching the behaviour of the people around them, and eventually, imitating them. It is believed that not all observed behaviour could be learned eﬀectively, nor learning can necessarily result to behavioural changes. Inyang (2017) however argues that learning or imitation can only take place when stimuli are oﬀered following a given mediated behaviour to increase the likelihood of such behaviour being modelled.
This theory is relevant to this study because Mark Angel videos have a new and deep ﬁeld for exploring social learning theories. Viewers of these comedies learn certain societal norms. They are exposed to the demonstration of certain societal values and through the actors and actresses, these values could possibly be inculcated, learned and acted upon, as Inyang (2017) notes that “we live in a world saturated with media products, and that these products tend to aﬀect the way we do things and live our lives generally” (p.33).
Ferguson (2012) notes that “online programming has made media content available through the computer screen, tablet or speaker that displaces or substantially supplements the use of non-computer media content” (p. 143). Social Learning theory in media cannot be overlooked, especially as the forms of media have increased manifold in the last decade. Initially it was only through television or newspaper or radio that the media could reach adolescent minds, manipulating their social learning abilities, the signiﬁcance of social learning theory in media has grown and its inﬂuence can hardly be ﬁltered. Easy access to today’s social networking sites helps in shaping the behaviour of adolescents.
This study employs content analysis because of its relevance in the promotion of societal values and trends. It enables the researcher to quantify and analyse the presence, meanings and relationships of words, themes and concepts with detailed information on the topic under study. This study considered a random selection of 50 episodes of the 200 episodes in the Mark Angel Comedy series, spanning the year 2017 to 2019. The selected minute episodes were viewed and analysed for the presence of value-related messages involving societal ethics.
The unit of analysis in this study is each of the Mark Angel comedy videos which are; : Don’t mind him (episode 111 April 28, 2017), Police oﬃcer (episode 238, December 6, 2019), English test (episode 218 July 19, 2019), Trump (episode 203 April 5, 2019), Commander (episode 192 January 18,2019), My girlfriend (episode 192 January 18, 2019), Carry over (episode 183 November 16, 2018), You will not understand (episode 182 November 2, 2018), Class in class (episode 140 December 30, 2017), Good Samaritan (episode 200 March 15, 2019), The Journey (episode 200 March 15, 2019), Wicked man (episode 202 March 22, 2019), Apple phone (episode 196 February 15, 2019), Which boyfriend (episode 211 May 31, 2019), Maths competition (episode 167 July 20, 2018), Test result (episode 155 April 13, 2018), Christmas cloth (episode 185 November 30, 2018), Sorry (episode 176 September 21, 2018), Speak English (episode 178 October 5, 2018), Sound (episode 159 May 11, 2018), Two money (episode 173 August 31, 2018), Kakukaka (episode 41 October 16, 2015), Accolades (episode 177 September 28, 2018), True love (episode 191 January 11, 2019), Born gain (episode 38 September 25, 2015), Am a cooker (episode 143 January 13, 2018), What happened (episode 144 January 26, 2018), God bless you (episode 47 November 27, 2015), Why (episode 76 June 24,2016), Don’t help him (episode 76 June 24, 2016), Combantrin (episode 81 August 16, 2016), Who is your pastor (episode 61 June 8, 2018), My Daddy (episode 91 October 28, 2018), Take to where (episode 88 October 7, 2016), Take (episode 86 September 23, 2016), Who is selling (episode 55 January 22, 2016), Film people (episode 148 February 23, 2018), She was there (episode 113), Not your family (episode), Touch me (episode 94 November 18, 2016), Omini Knowest (episode 59 February 19, 2016), Your trousers (episode 45 November 13, 2015), Again (episode 79 July 15, 2016), The apprentice (episode 87 January 4, 2018), World cup (episode 163 June 15, 2018), You have sense (episode 181 October 26, 2018), Who died (episode 147 February 16, 2018), Valentine (episode 195 February 8, 2019), Fainting (episode 153 March 30, 2018). The content categories for this study are the societal values both positive and negative. The forms of presentation for Mark Angel Comedy videos include: Music, Pidgin English, Pure English Mixed language
,Interviews. The research instrument used in this study is a coding sheet with a well prepared coding guide. This consists mainly accessing the electronic version of all the Mark Angel Comedy Series. This is available via the YouTube Channel (i.e. https://www.youtube.com/user/MarkAngelComedy). A coding guide was developed which contains the name of the episodes, number of the episodes date it originally aired, promotion of societal values observed, and a space provided for direct quotes. The coding analysis from the video was cross checked by a communication expert and certiﬁed appropriate. The method of data presentation and analysis were done using tables and percentage.
Data Presentation and Analysis
Research Question One: What societal values and trends does Mark Angel comedy videos convey?
Table 7: The Societal Trends Conveyed in Mark Angel comedy videos
|Societal Values Conveyed||Frequency||Percentage (%)|
|Service/Giving back/ Contribution||4||2%|
Source: Content Analysis, 2020
Table 7 compares the societal values conveyed in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and it revealed that about 7 societal values were conveyed in the analysed videos. From the study, it was gathered that (14%) of the video conveyed respect, (8%) of the videos conveyed justice/fairness, (2%) of the video conveyed honesty, (2%) of the video conveyed service/giving back/ contribution, (2%) of the video conveyed responsibility and (36%) of the video conveyed family values, while (26%) of the video conveyed community value. This illustrates that the highest societal trends conveyed in Mark Angel Comedy Video skits centres on family and community and this answers the research question one as it revealed that Mark Angel comedy videos convey societal values related to family and community.
Research Question Two: Which societal values had the highest mention in Mark Angel comedy videos?
|Societal Values Conveyed||Frequency||Percentage (%)|
|Service/Giving back/ Contribution||4||2%|
Research Question Three: What negative societal value does Mark Angel comedy videos convey?
Table 9: The Negative Societal Trends Conveyed in Mark Angel comedy videos
|Negative Societal Values Conveyed||Frequency||Percentage (%)|
Source: Content Analysis, 2020
Table 9 compares the negative societal trends conveyed in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and it revealed that (30%) of the video conveyed discrimination, ( 10 %) of the videos conveyed discouragement, (24%) of the video conveyed humiliation, (8%) of the video conveyed rejection, and (16%) of the video conveyed harassment, while (12%) of the video conveyed condemnation. This depict that Mark Angel Comedy Video skits conveyed negative trends such as discrimination, discouragement, humiliation, rejection, harassment and condemnation, but it portrayed discrimination and humiliation more.
Research Question Four: Which negative societal trends in the Mark Angel comedy had the highest mention?
|Negative Societal Values Conveyed||Frequency||Percentage (%)|
Discussion of Findings
Societal values in Mark Angel Comedy Videos
Table 8 compares the societal values conveyed in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and reveals that about 7 societal values were conveyed in the analysed videos. This however revealed that (14%) of the video conveyed respect, (8%) of the videos conveyed justice/fairness, (2%) of the video conveyed honesty, (2%) of the video conveyed service/giving back/ contribution, (2%) of the video conveyed responsibility and (36%) of the video conveyed family values, while (26%) of the video conveyed community value. Nevertheless, the study shows that the highest societal value conveyed in Mark Angel Comedy Video skits centers on family and community and this answers the research question one as it revealed that Mark Angel comedy videos conveyed societal trends related to family and community. Findings corroborates the view of Abah (2011) who concluded that the moral values conveyed through the medium of comedy have a lasting eﬀect on the audience. He added that the audience also has a moral, emotional involvement in the course of events and the roles of various characters, their language and style of speaking does leave an impression on the spectators.
Societal values with the highest mention in Mark Angel comedy videos
Table 9 compares the highest societal values mentioned in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and it revealed that (70%) of the video conveyed positive societal values, while (30%) of the videos conveyed negative societal value. This depict that Mark Angel Comedy Video skits conveyed more positive societal values than negative. Thus, this corroborated the research question one, which revealed that family and community societal values are always emphasized in Mark Angel comedy videos. This corroborates the view of Nathan, (2014), who submitted that the realization of this fact that most comedy video portray family and community value, necessitate the reason for setting up a censor board which scrutinizes all the scenes that are not likely to corrupt the wells of social morality.
Negative societal values in Mark Angel comedy videos
Table 10 compares the negative societal values conveyed in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and it revealed that (30%) of the video conveyed discrimination, ( 10 %) of the videos conveyed discouragement, (24%) of the video conveyed humiliation, (8%) of the video conveyed rejection, and (16%) of the video conveyed harassment, while (12%) of the video conveyed condemnation. This depict that Mark Angel Comedy Video skits conveyed negative values such as discrimination, discouragement, humiliation, rejection, harassment and condemnation, but it portrayed discrimination and humiliation.
The view of Idang (2015) corroborated this fact as it added that many of the positive values in our society has been eroded all in the name of entertainment, including modernization among others. He however added that as a result, there has been an increase in societal vices and crime such as terrorism, kidnapping, vandalism, drug abuse, cultism, armed robbery, etc.
Negative societal values with the highest mention Mark Angel comedies
Table 11 compares the highest negative societal values conveyed in the 50 video skits of Mark Angel Comedy and it revealed that 30 percent of the sampled videos conveyed the negative value of discrimination. It is this negative value that had the highest mention in mark angel comedy videos. Consequently, this study ascertained that although, Mark Angel Comedy conveyed more negative societal values like discrimination and humiliation more, yet it doesn’t accept them as a norm in the society but only portray them to educate the publics on it level of reoccurrence in the society and how to deal with it. Corroborating the ﬁndings, Olatunbosun (2015) added that these negative societal values have greatly undermined the Nigerian society and has resulted in a crisis that aﬀects the very fabric of society. However, traditional institutions and means of control have not been able to suﬃciently tackle the problems arising from this erosion of societal trends.
To return the discussion on promotion of societal values and trends in Mark Angel comedy videos, it could be said that the possibilities presented by the new media now, in turn, allowed comedians to engage with an extensive public, not limited by presence at a speciﬁc venue, while their work is in the process of creation. However, societal value such as respect, justice/ fairness, honesty, service/ giving back/contribution, responsibility, family values and community value could be easily conveyed in Mark Angel comedy videos due to the advent of new technological tools like YouTube, which Mark Angel comedy adopts. Thus, the extent to which this material has already withstood the test of exposure via social media makes it possible to suggest that the media environment itself is a kind of engine for stimulating new comedy.
Nevertheless, technological tools such as YouTube disseminate content at a rate which, given the requirement for novelty in comedy ﬁrst noted by Freud (2011), might seem to threaten to exhaust the production capacity. Indeed, it is reasonable to suggest that the demand for authenticity, which comedians and critics impose on the task of writing comedy, actually contributes strongly to more and better quality comic material that help promote societal values. Thus, it could be said that Mark Angel Comedy Video skits use the “laughter eﬀect” to pass their messages on social change.
Based on the above ﬁndings and conclusion, the researchers therefore recommend that: Comedians in this age of social media are both artists and technicians, thus there is the consistent need to employ a range of more creative and communication skills to produce new jokes with the ﬂavour of authenticity that could help promote more societal values. Nigerian youths who have passion for comedy should also explore their own responses to life and polish this into new jokes that can be oﬀered up to audiences and uphold societal values. The Federal Government through her relevant agencies should continue devise means through which comedians could genuinely entertain the people and also ensure their societal values messages reach those who are often not reached by other forms of instruction or media. Also, Mark Angel Comedy should make their videos more educational than just humorous and should avoid the assumption that everyone who listens to their sarcasm is enlightened enough, smart enough, to understand it as sarcasm.
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