Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.


humor, contact hypothesis, para-social, homosexual acceptance, distraction


Data collected from a survey questionnaire disseminated to college students was used to examine the relationship between humor in the mass media on audience attitude. This research study attempted to link the comedic nature of media with a heightened tolerance toward unpopular messages by looking specifically at the show Will & Grace. Results supported the hypothesized positive relationship between humor on attitudes toward the show, as well as attitudes toward real life homosexuals. In addition, distraction and interpersonal communication served as mediators between humor and attitudes. Results supported positive relationships between humor and both distraction and interpersonal communication, and supported the mediated path involving distraction. But the interpersonal communication mediated path was negative. Results, implications, and recommendations for future research are discussed.