Comedy - A Cultural View



Comedy - A Cultural View
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Alternative comedy
Atellan Farce
Authority figures in comedy
Ballad opera
Black comedy
Blue comedy
Callback (comedy)
Character comedy
Christian comedy
City comedy
Comedic device
Comedy club
Comedy festival
Comedy of humours
Comedy of menace
Comedy rock
Comedy of errors
Comedy of manners
Comic science fiction
Comic opera
Comic timing
Concert saloon
Cringe comedy
Customer review comedy
Double entendre
Comedy (drama)
Fictional fictional character
Form-versus-content humour
Comedic genres
Gross out
Guerrilla improv
Hack (comedy)
History of comedy
Improv comedy teacher
Improvisational theatre
Inherently funny word
Insult comedy
Joke (sketch)
Joke thievery
Light poetry
Low comedy
Madrigal comedy
Observational comedy
One-person show
Onomastì komodèin
Practical joke
Prank call
Prop comedy
Pull my finger
Punch line
Racial comedy
Restoration comedy
Roast (comedy)
Savoy opera
Screwball comedy film
Sick comedy
Stand-up comedy
The King of Comedy
Whitehall farce
Zombie comedy
Article Sources and Contributors
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
Article Licenses
Comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, komoithia) as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse generally
intended to amuse, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its
academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian
democracy, the public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic
poets at the theaters.[1] The theatrical genre can be simply described as a dramatic performance which pits two
societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye famously depicted these two opposing
sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old",[2] but this dichotomy is seldom described as an entirely
satisfactory explanation. A later view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively
powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes; in this sense, the youth is understood
to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse to ruses which
engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.[3]
Much comedy contains variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, repetitiveness, and the effect of
opposite expectations, but there are many recognized genres of comedy. Satire and political satire use ironic comedy
to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of
humor. Satire is a type of comedy. Parody borrows the form of some popular genre, artwork, or text but uses certain
ironic changes to critique that form from within (though not necessarily in a condemning way). Screwball comedy
derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters. Black comedy is defined
by dark humor that makes light of so called dark or evil elements in human nature. Similarly scatological humor,
sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways. A comedy of
manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper class society) and uses humor to
parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts
burgeoning romance in humorous terms, and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.
The word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία kōmōithía, which is a compound either of κῶμος
kômos (revel) or κώμη kṓmē (village) and ᾠδή ōidḗ (singing); it is possible that κῶμος itself is derived from κώμη,
and originally meant a village revel. The adjective "comic" (Greek κωμικός kōmikós), which strictly means that
which relates to comedy is, in modern usage, generally confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking".[4] Of this, the
word came into modern usage through the Latin comoedia and Italian commedia and has, over time, passed through
various shades of meaning.[5]
Greeks and Romans confined the word "comedy" to descriptions
of stage-plays with happy endings. In the Middle Ages, the term
expanded to include narrative poems with happy endings and a
lighter tone. In this sense Dante used the term in the title of his
poem, La Divina Commedia. As time progressed, the word came
more and more to be associated with any sort of performance
intended to cause laughter.[5] During the Middle Ages, the term
"comedy" became synonymous with satire, and later humour in
general, after Aristotle's Poetics was translated into Arabic in the
medieval Islamic world, where it was elaborated upon by Arabic
writers and Islamic philosophers, such as Abu Bischr, his pupil
Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. Due to cultural differences,
The Greco-Roman mask of Thalia in a Three Stooges
slapstick short title card.
they disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes
and forms, such as hija (satirical poetry). They viewed comedy as simply the "art of reprehension", and made no
reference to light and cheerful events, or troublous beginnings and happy endings, associated with classical Greek
comedy. After the Latin translations of the 12th century, the term "comedy" thus gained a more general semantic
meaning in Medieval literature.[6]
Comedy is one of the original four genres of literature as defined by the philosopher Aristotle in his work called
Poetics. The other three genres are Tragedy, Epic, and Lyric. Literature in general is defined by Aristotle as a
mimesis, or imitation of, life. Comedy is the third form of literature, being the most divorced from a true mimesis.
Tragedy is the truest mimesis, followed by epic, comedy and lyric. The genre of comedy is defined by a certain
pattern according to Aristotle's definition. All comedies begin with a low, typically with an "ugly" guy who can't do
anything right. By the end of the story or play, the "ugly" guy has won the "pretty" girl, or whatever it was he was
aiming for at the beginning. Comedies also have elements of the supernatural, typically magic and for the ancient
Greeks the gods. Comedy includes the unrealistic in order to portray the realistic. For the Greeks, all comedies ended
happily which is opposite of tragedy, which ends sadly. The oldest Greek comedy is Homer's Odyssey, the story of
Odysseus and his crew's attempt to return home after the fall of Troy.
Aristophanes, a dramatist of the Ancient Greek Theater wrote 40 comedies, 11 of which survive and are still being
performed. In ancient Greece, comedy seems to have originated in bawdy and ribald songs or recitations apropos of
fertility festivals or gatherings, or also in making fun at other people or stereotypes.[4] Aristotle, in his Poetics, states
that comedy originated in Phallic songs and the light treatment of the otherwise base and ugly. He also adds that the
origins of comedy are obscure because it was not treated seriously from its inception.[7]
In ancient Sanskrit drama, Bharata Muni's Natya Shastra defined humour (hāsyam) as one of the nine nava rasas, or
principle rasas (emotional responses), which can be inspired in the audience by bhavas, the imitations of emotions
that the actors perform. Each rasa was associated with a specific bhavas portrayed on stage. In the case of humour, it
was associated with mirth (hasya).
Comedy took on a different view with the advent of the Christian era. The comic genre was divided by Dante in his
work The Divine Comedy, made up of the epic poems Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Dante's division of comedy
into three sub genres still exist today in various forms. Inferno represents the darkest of all comedies, or what is
known as dark or black comedy. In such comedy, one is forced to laugh or enjoy dark or black topics that one
shouldn't enjoy or laugh at. Generally, most who read the whole Divine Comedy find the Inferno to be the most
enjoyable of the three. At the end of the dark comedy, one is still left with a sense of hope but one has not
necessarily achieved what one has looked for. Purgatorio is made up of what most comedies today possess.
Purgatorio is light hearted, at least compared to Inferno, and yet one still does not achieve fully what one looks for.
As such, Purgatorio leaves the main character with a sense of hope greater than what was felt at the end of Inferno.
Paradiso is the most traditional of the three in way of the Greek standard of comedy. The supernatural play a huge
role in all three poems, but Paradiso ends the happiest of all three with the main character achieving his goal.
Infernal, Purgatorial and Paradisal comedies are the three main genres in which one can place all other comic forms.
The phenomena connected with laughter and that which provokes it have been carefully investigated by
psychologists. They agreed the predominating characteristics are incongruity or contrast in the object, and shock or
emotional seizure on the part of the subject. It has also been held that the feeling of superiority is an essential, if not
the essential, factor: thus Thomas Hobbes speaks of laughter as a "sudden glory". Modern investigators have paid
much attention to the origin both of laughter and of smiling, as well as the development of the "play instinct" and its
emotional expression.
George Meredith, in his 1897 classic Essay on Comedy, said that "One excellent test of the civilization of a country
... I take to be the flourishing of the Comic idea and Comedy; and the test of true Comedy is that it shall awaken
thoughtful laughter." Laughter is said to be the cure to being sick. Studies show, that people who laugh more often,
get sick less.[8] [9]
Comedy may be divided into multiple genres based on the source of humor, the method of delivery, and the context
in which it is delivered. The different forms often overlap, and most comedy can fit into multiple genres. Some of the
sub-genres of comedy are farce, comedy of manners, burlesque, and satire.
Performing arts
Major forms
Dance · Music · Opera · Theatre · Circus Arts
Minor forms
Magic · Puppetry
Drama · Tragedy · Comedy · Tragicomedy · Romance · Satire · Epic · Lyric
Performing arts
Historical forms
Ancient Greek comedy, as practiced by Aristophanes and Menander
Ancient Roman comedy, as practiced by Plautus and Terence
Burlesque, from Music hall and Vaudeville to Performance art
Citizen comedy, as practiced by Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton and Ben Jonson
Clowns such as Richard Tarlton, William Kempe, and Robert Armin
Comedy of humours, as practiced by Ben Jonson and George Chapman
Comedy of intrigue, as practiced by Niccolò Machiavelli and Lope de Vega
Comedy of manners, as practiced by Molière, William Wycherley and William Congreve
Comedy of menace, as practiced by David Campton and Harold Pinter
comédie larmoyante or 'tearful comedy', as practiced by Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée and
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
Commedia dell'arte, as practiced in the twentieth-century by Dario Fo, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Jacques Copeau
Farce, from Georges Feydeau to Joe Orton and Alan Ayckbourn
Laughing comedy, as practiced by Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Restoration comedy, as practiced by George Etherege, Aphra Behn and John Vanbrugh
Sentimental comedy, as practiced by Colley Cibber and Richard Steele
Shakespearean comedy, as practiced by William Shakespeare
Stand-up comedy
Dadaist and Surrealist performance, usually in cabaret form
Theatre of the Absurd, used by some critics to describe Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet and Eugène
Sketch comedy
Comic theatre
Musical comedy and palace •
• One-liner joke
• Blonde jokes
• Shaggy-dog story
• Paddy Irishman joke
List of comedians
List of stand-up
List of musical
List of Australian
List of British comedians
List of Canadian
List of Finnish comedians
List of German language
List of Indian comedians
List of Italian comedians
List of Mexican
List of Puerto Rican
Improvisational theatre
Bouffon comedy
Comic opera
Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a mode of comic performance in which the performer addresses the audience directly,
usually speaking in their own person rather than as a dramatic character.
Impressionist (entertainment)
Alternative comedy
Comedy club
Comedy albums
Events and awards
Mass media
• Comic novel
• Light poetry
• Comedy film
Anarchic comedy film
Gross-out film
Parody film
Romantic comedy film
Screwball comedy film
Slapstick film
British Comedy Awards
Canadian Comedy Awards
Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
The Comedy Festival, in Aspen, formerly the HBO Comedy Arts Festival
Comedy Walk
, monthly comedy festival in Los Angeles
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh Comedy Festival
Halifax Comedy Festival
Just for laughs festival
Leicester Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
New Zealand International Comedy Festival
New York Underground Comedy Festival
HK International Comedy Festival
Vancouver Comedy Festival
Television and radio
• Television comedy
• Situation comedy
• Radio comedy
Lists of comedy television programs
British sitcom
British comedy
Comedy Central - A television channel devoted strictly to comedy.
German television comedy
List of British TV shows remade for the American market
Paramount Comedy (Spain).
Paramount Comedy 1 and 2.
TBS (TV network)
The Comedy Channel (Australia)
The Comedy Channel (UK)
The Comedy Channel (USA) not to be confused with HA! - channels that have merged into Comedy Central.
• The Comedy Network, a Canadian TV channel.
• G.O.L.D
See also
• List of comedies
• Humour
• Aristotle. Poetics.
• Buckham, Philip Wentworth (1827). Theatre of the Greeks [12].
• Marteinson, Peter (2006). On the Problem of the Comic: A Philosophical Study on the Origins of Laughter [13].
Ottawa: Legas Press.
• Pickard-Cambridge, Sir Arthur Wallace
• Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy , 1927.
• The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, 1946.
• The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 1953.
Raskin, Victor (1985). The Semantic Mechanisms of Humor.
Riu, Xavier (1999). Dionysism and Comedy [14].
Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane (2003). Tragedy and Athenian Religion. Oxford University Press.
Trypanis, C.A. (1981). Greek Poetry from Homer to Seferis. University of Chicago Press.
Wiles, David (1991). The Masked Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance.
External links
• Comedy [15] at the Open Directory Project
• A Vocabulary for Comedy [16] from a professor at Dallas Baptist University
[1] Henderson, J. (1993) Comic Hero versus Political Elite pp.307-19 in Sommerstein, A.H.; S. Halliwell, J. Henderson, B. Zimmerman, ed
(1993). Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis. Bari: Levante Editori.
[2] (Anatomy of Criticism, 1957)
[3] (Marteinson, 2006)
[4] Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, 1934.
[5] Oxford English Dictionary
[6] Webber, Edwin J. (January 1958), "Comedy as Satire in Hispano-Arabic Spain", Hispanic Review (University of Pennsylvania Press) 26 (1):
[7] Aristotle, Poetics, lines beginning at 1449a. (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ cgi-bin/ ptext?lookup=Aristot. + Poet. + 1449a)
[8] LENNY BRUCE (http:/ / www. ep. tc/ realist/ 15/ 03. html) (continued from cover) The Realist No. 15, February 1960
[9] Essay on Comedy, Comic Spirit, by George Meredith (http:/ / emotional-literacy-education. com/ classic-books-online-b/ esycm10. htm) from
the Encyclopedia of the Self, by Mark Zimmerman
[10] This list was compiled with reference to The Cambridge Guide to Theatre (1998).
[11] http:/ / www. comedywalk. com
http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=IjAZAAAAYAAJ& printsec=frontcover& dq=The+ Theatre+ of+ the+ Greeks
http:/ / www. chass. utoronto. ca/ french/ as-sa/ editors/ origins. html
http:/ / ccat. sas. upenn. edu/ bmcr/ 2000/ 2000-06-13. html
http:/ / www. dmoz. org/ Arts/ Performing_Arts/ Comedy/
http:/ / www. dbu. edu/ mitchell/ comedydi. htm
Alternative comedy
Alternative comedy is a term that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1980s for a style of comedy[1] which
would eventually go on to become mainstream in the 1990s and continuing into the 21st century. The term often
applies to comedy that makes a conscious and sometimes generational break with the mainstream comedic style of
an era,[2] and typically avoids relying on a standardised structure of a sequence of jokes with punch lines.
An alternative comedian might rely on any, some, or all of the following:
• Observational humour: Making humour out of everyday occurrences, laughing at one's own foibles and
weaknesses (traditional comedians laughed at other people, such as ethnic minorities or "the mother-in-law",
while alternative comedians laughed at themselves, their situation, and at the human condition). The success of
Seinfeld made this style of comedy mainstream.[3]
• Political satire: Or, at the very least, a radicalised political awareness rooted in socialism; if a comedian was
floundering, he/she could get a cheer out of the audience by simply making a joke about Margaret Thatcher (Ben
Elton, a well-known alternative comedian, referred to her as 'Mrs Thatch' and would often say, "Ooh, little bit of
politics!" when he drifted into political satire).
• Breaking social taboos: Particularly those relating to sex and bad language; alternative comedians swore on stage
and, continuing the theme of observational humour, often made jokes about sex acts and sexuality. Toilet humour
was not uncommon either.
• Surreal whimsy: A comedian might start with observational humour and then drift into a degree of surrealism. For
example, Paul Merton's Policeman on Acid sketch, or much of Alexei Sayle's material.
Alternative comedy
• Intellectual humour: Generally speaking, alternative comedy required an educated or knowledgeable audience. It
required the audience to participate and understand the humour, rather than simply sit back and expect to be made
to laugh. For example, the television series Yes, Minister relies on the audience having a degree of background
knowledge about politics and the civil service.
• Extreme slapstick: People were often set on fire, had bricks smashed over their heads, or were flung through walls
etc. This is arguably a less common trait of alternative comedy, however, and was only practiced by a handful of
artists, such as Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson (and also Rowan Atkinson in the Blackadder television
• Improvisation: Working without a script or plan and making up comedy on the spot in response to audience
suggestions. This was usually during nights dedicated to 'improv', however.
• Story-telling & personal narrative: Emphasizing story, personal experience and individual rhythm instead of the
rigid set-up/punchline jokes and rhythms of mainstream comedy.
Patton Oswalt defines it as "comedy where the audience has no pre-set expectations about the crowd, and vice versa.
In comedy clubs, there tends to be a certain vibe—alternative comedy explores different types of material."[4]
United Kingdom
In the UK, where the term was first used, alternative comedy had its roots in British nonsense writings of the
Victorian era. But in the early 1980s, Britain was a politically divided country. Margaret Thatcher had come to
power and was pushing forward free trade reforms, but many still believed that Britain would one day be a socialist
country. Punk rock had just come and gone in the late 1970s and Britain was changing forever in ways few people
understood. From this melting pot, alternative comedy was born.
It could be argued that alternative comedy was a natural progression of anti-establishment comedy which had started
in the 1950s and 1960s with the Satire Boom, the stage show Beyond the Fringe and TV shows like That Was The
Week That Was. In addition, the bizarreness and surrealism of TV shows such as Monty Python's Flying Circus and
Spike Milligan's Q5 (also known as Q6, Q7, Q8 and Q9) and the observational style of Dave Allen [5] undoubtedly
had an influence.
With regard to the origin of the term "alternative comedy", pioneering alternative comedian Malcolm Hardee wrote
in his autobiography "I Stole Freddie Mercury's Birthday Cake" (1996) that minor comedian Tony Allen is usually
credited with coining the phrase. He goes on to claim its origin was the series of 'alternative cabaret' shows staged in
1978 by the owner of the Ferry Inn at Salcombe, Devon, who advertised that his cutting-edge comedy was
'alternative' to the more mainstream comedy being put on by the local yacht club. But most would argue that
alternative comedy found its home in London, in The Comedy Store and The Comic Strip clubs (later also Jongleurs
& The Comedy Club) as well as others). As alternative comedy became more popular, similar clubs were opened in
most British cities. They were (and still are) live venues which presented nothing but comedy and, although
described as clubs, membership was not necessary. The "stage" was usually a raised platform inches away from the
audience, which made for more intimate and less theatrical performances.
Those in the UK sometimes referred to as the "grandfather of alternative comedy" include Arnold Brown[6] ,
Malcolm Hardee[7] , Mike Harding[8] , Spike Milligan[9] , and Alexei Sayle[10] . French and Saunders are also cited
as pioneers.[11] Several alternative comedy pioneers were former students at Manchester University, including
Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall, and Ben Elton.
Alternative comedy
Transition to mainstream
Spurred on by the actions of up coming television producers, such as Paul Jackson, Geoffrey Perkins and Jimmy
Mulville (see also Hat Trick Productions), alternative comedy spilled onto TV in the 1980s. It was supported by
minority channel BBC 2 in the form of The Young Ones and other sitcoms. These were seen as cult programmes,
although there was some mainstream success for shows like Not The Nine O'Clock News and French & Saunders,
both of which eventually switched from BBC2 to BBC1.
The UK's other minority channel, Channel 4, hosted Saturday Live (later Friday Night Live), which effectively
provided a TV platform for all those appearing at the Comedy Store at the time. Channel 4 also commissioned most
of The Comic Strip pastiches as a central part of the channel's early development.
The problem presented by alternative comedy on television was finding the correct format - a stand-up comedy
performance was at odds with the needs of TV. Sketch shows, which relied on punchlines, were alien to the nature of
alternative comedy. This led to a very high quantity of failed TV pilots. If there wasn't an alternative comedy star or
top-rated programme in the early days, it wasn't through lack of trying.
However, despite that, 'alternative' comedy would eventually become mainstream, with the likes of Absolutely
Fabulous becoming prime-time BBC viewing. In the early 1990s Ben Elton presented the UK TV chat show Wogan,
in the host's absence, signifying that alternative comedy was to be thrust upon mainstream audiences whether they
liked it or not. When comedy duo Rob Newman and David Baddiel played the largest ever stand-up gig at Wembley
Arena, alternative comedy was hailed as "the new rock and roll" and acts made significant sums from
merchandising, recordings of their TV shows and live performances.
Traditional comedy, characterised by Bernard Manning and Frank Carson, would be relegated to the sidelines in live
venues such as working men's clubs. Nowadays traditional comedians appear on television only as curiosities in
mockumentaries, or as game show hosts.
Modern British alternative comedy
It is debatable whether alternative comedy still exists. Comedians have always been averse to describing themselves
as alternative, even during the genre's heyday. Comedians like Mark Thomas, Mark Steel, and Jeremy Hardy still
perform stand-up with a hard political and intellectual edge but their isolation makes them conspicuous, and they're
far from being household names. Few of the original alternative comedians appear on stage any longer, least of all
performing stand-up comedy. Ben Elton, now considers himself a writer, and has scripted several West End stage
musicals just like Andrew Lloyd Webber.
There is certainly still a strong scene of underground stand-up comedians supported by the likes of the Edinburgh
Fringe and various live comedy clubs up and down the country. Proponents include Boothby Graffoe, Ross Noble,
Andre Vincent, Dominic Holland, Sean Lock and Dave Gorman. BBC Radio 4 sponsors many up-and-coming
alternative comedians, such as The Consultants, via half-hour shows. Character comedy is also a large part of
modern alternative comedy and modern alternative comedians are usually also actors-- Graham Fellows is a notable
example. It's worth noting that the comedy clubs which sponsored alternative comedy are still in operation and a
search of their Friday and Saturday night list of acts shows the contemporary scene off very well. Modern alternative
comedy tends to be more absurdist than previously, perhaps as a reaction to the pointed satire and deliberate
intellectualism of the earlier generation which had become odious. It's also more international than previously, with
Australian, Irish, and American comedians mixing in well with what was at one time an almost exclusively British
scene. One suggestion towards a definition of modern alternative comedy might be that it is popular but in a limited
way (i.e. it achieves cult status). Recent examples include Brass Eye, The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentlemen
programmes, or, from a previous generation, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (Reeves & Mortimer).
Alternative comedy
United States
Los Angeles
One American alternative comedy scene was Los Angeles. In 1990 performance artist-turned comedian Beth
Lapides started bringing comedy to "alternative" venues like The Women's Building and Highways Performance
Space. In contrast to the material onstage at the Comedy Store and the Improv, Lapides and her fellow-travellers
were interested in comedy that was not homophobic, xenophobic or misogynistic, and dubbed their show
Un-Cabaret took up residence in 1993 at LunaPark, an eclectic music club in West Hollywood, with Sunday night
shows for the next seven years featuring performers who had been active in the straight clubs like Taylor Negron,
Dana Gould, Andy Kindler, Judy Toll, Laura Kightlinger, Margaret Cho, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, plus others
like Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, Scott Thompson, et al. who came from The Groundlings and other sketch
traditions. Un-Cabaret's brand of alternative comedy was based in storytelling and stream-of-consciousness rants,
and added a structural innovation: a second microphone in the back of the room that Lapides used to talk to other
performers while they were onstage. This ensured an informal, conversational and spontaneous performance
situation in keeping with Un-Cabaret's insistence that performers never "do their act".
The alternative comedy scene flourished, with many other shows pursuing more surreal sketch & musical forms. It
was at this time that Bob & David started workshopping "Mr. Show" in a live club context. Kathy Griffin produced a
show called "Hot Cup of Talk" at the Groundlings Theater and there were numerous other shows that came and
went. Comedy Central finally produced a one-hour Un-Cabaret special.
When LunaPark closed, Un-Cabaret moved to the HBO Workspace, Knitting Factory, and then M-Bar, with
increasing focus on getting funny people to tell unusually honest stories about their real life. TV writers like Michael
Patrick King, Judd Apatow, Larry Charles and Winnie Holzman started performing with Un-Cabaret as a creative
alternative to their network day-jobs. This led to other Un-Cabaret produced shows like "Say the Word" (writers
reading their own true funny stories) and "The Other Network", a collection of un-aired TV pilots introduced by their
Un-Cabaret continues to present live shows and conduct workshops to help comedians and writers explore this style
of funny personal narrative.[12]
The Other Network subsequently became an alternative route to get your foot in the door to Hollywood, with The
Other Network Comedy Contest offering winners receiving script notes from top TV showrunners, and The Other
Network Writers' Room, in which Beth Lapides interviews writers including Michael Patrick King, Larry Charles
and Alan Zweibel about how aspiring writers can write for TV.[13]
Many of the comedians from the 1990s LA alternative scene (David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Patton Oswalt) were
outspoken in their leftist political beliefs, and insistent on a reality-based and personal point-of-view, a remarkable
contrast to the current downtown New York scene that prefers absurdism and irony to making statements.
New York City (East Village)
In downtown New York, comedy flourishes outside of the stand-up club circuit. Theatres that are more known for
improv or sketch comedy, like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB), Magnet Theater and the Peoples Improv
Theater (PIT), as well as cabarets that do not exclusively offer any kind of comedy, like Rififi, have weekly comedy
shows. The UCB Theater has Crash Test every Monday, hosted by Aziz. The PIT has Hot Tub every Friday, hosted
by Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal. Rififi has Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions And Also There Is A
Game and Invite Them Up.
The comedians at these shows offer character-based humour or surreal humour as opposed to observations of
everyday life or more polemical themes.[14]
Alternative comedy
A growing number of comics (Demetri Martin, Slovin and Allen) opt to play music, give Powerpoint presentations
or act out sketches as well.[14] It's rare to see these performers in a traditional New York comedy club much like it's
rare to see a traditional "club comic" in an underground room. A few alternative comics (David Cross, Todd Barry,
Patton Oswalt) have enough crossover appeal to play in more mainstream venues.
Comedy group Stella (Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain) and the sketch group Upright
Citizens Brigade were heavily influential on the current New York alternative comedy scene. Stella -- a trio whose
absurdist humour has been compared to the Marx Brothers -- began doing their shows (in which they would perform
along with other comics and sketch groups like Eugene Mirman and the Upright Citizens Brigade) at the NY club
Fez in 1997. In 1999, the original Upright Citizens' Brigade Theatre opened in Chelsea. Four years later, in 2003,
several performers at the UCB spun off their own theater, and formed the PIT.[15]
The Seattle comedy scene is a mystery to some. Very talented performers have stepped out of Seattle, including
Mitch Hedberg. For years, there were just two main comedy options in the city: The Comedy Underground, and
Giggles Comedy club. In 2005 a group of comedians known as the People's Republic of Komedy (PROK) started an
alternative show called Laffhole in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. This spawned other "alt" shows around town,
and eventually the group started getting press. (Something unheard of in the Seattle comedy scene for some time.)
Laffhole started in the small basement theater of the Capitol Hill Arts Center, and has since moved to Chop Suey, a
popular Seattle nightclub. In the summer of 2007, PROK booked their own comedy stage at the Bumbershoot Music
and Arts Festival. Other performers at the festival included Eugene Mirman, Michael Ian Black, Todd Barry, Doug
Benson, and more. In 2008, PROK performed at the Sasquatch Music Festival and will once again manage the
Regional Comedy stage at Bumbershoot. Laffhole takes place every other Wednesday at 10:00pm, and has become
the flagship of the Seattle alt comedy scene.[16]
Prominent acts include Dartanion London.
The Chicago scene has flourished in the past few years. With a lack of mainstream clubs in the city, comics on the
North side have drawn more influence from its improv and sketch traditions, such as The Second City, I.O., and
Annoyance Theatre The Improv Open Mic at the iO is a great place to see some comedy that is very unschooled.
Top alt/independent rooms in the North Side scene include the Lincoln Lodge, Chicago Underground Comedy and
the Lakeshore Theater, which are considered the top Alt-rooms in the Midwest. The cities many open mics differ
from the open mics in LA or NYC in that they are well attended and still attract great comedians. The fact that there
is less industry in Chicago than in LA or New York probably has something to do with this. The Open Mic's at
Schuba's Sunday, Globe Pub Monday, Jake Melnick's Tuesday, The Edge, Bucktown Pub, and McDunna's on
Wednesday, The Tonic Room and O'Hagan's on Thursday, would serve as the aspiring Chicago stand-ups template
for a productive week as of August 8th 2009(Call ahead to see if the mics are still happening.) Recent Chicago
stand-ups to get exposure include Hannibal Buress, Dan Telfer, Mike Sheehan, Junior Stopka, Drew Michael,
Prescott Tolk, James Fritz,Mort Burke, Mikey Manker, T.J. Miller, Renee Gauthier, Danny Kallas, and Pete
Holmes.[17] Blerds [18] The Bastion [19] The Lincoln Lodge [20] Chicago Underground Comedy [21] The Comedians
You Should Know Show [22]
Alternative comedy
Toronto is a city renowned for creating comedy. Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Catherine
O'Hara and many others have roots in Toronto. The city's comedy scene has been dominated by Yuk Yuk's standup
comedy club and The Second City improvisational theater for quite some time. The success of SCTV, a Toronto
produced television show based on characters developed at Second City, became the benchmark for Canadian
comedy. Yuk Yuk's, conversely, renowned for bawdy humour, caters to lovers of traditional "set-up/punchline"
stand-up. The roots of Toronto's alternative comedy scene lie in The Rivoli in the 1980s, where the Kids in the Hall
presented their revolutionary sketch comedy as part of what would become the weekly ALTdot COMedy Lounge,
which remains Toronto's most popular alternative comedy show. A weekly Sketch Comedy Lounge was added in
Prominent acts
Stand-ups/solo performers
• Michael Balazo
• Brian Barlow
• Gavin Crawford
Seán Cullen
Jon Dore
Nikki Payne
Ron Sparks
Gavin Stephens
Winston Spear
Sketch troupes/group acts
• Corky and the Juice Pigs
• The Minnesota Wrecking Crew
• The Sketchersons
See also
• The Comedy Store Players
• The Sound of Young America
• The Comedians of Comedy
External links
• Manchester Alternative Comedy Forum [23], UK-based message board
• Un-Cabaret [24], US-based website for "idiosyncratic story-based comedy"
• Alternative Comedy Festival [25]
[1] Lisa Selin Davis (November 10, 2003). "The Brooklyn Paper: SERIOUS FUN" (http:/ / www. brooklynpaper. com/ stories/ 26/ 45/
26_45piehole. html). The Brooklyn Paper. . Retrieved 2009-10-30. "Alternative comedy is nothing new. The term gained fame in 1980s
Britain, when out-of-the-ordinary sitcoms like "The Young Ones" or "Absolutely Fabulous" popped up, and continued in America with
unorthodox sketch comedy groups such as Manhattan’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade. But, according to [Andrea Rosen of the "Pie Hole Comedy
Show" in Brooklyn, New York], alternative comedy predates all of those acts. "Mel Brooks was an alternative comic," said Rosen, citing his
famous 2000-Year-Old Man routine. "So is Steve Martin." And Rosen’s influences also include old masters like filmmaker Woody Allen, who
started his career as a standup. "There’s a whole world of alternative comedy rooms, in bars and basements.""
Alternative comedy
[2] Jeremy Tunstall (1993). Television Producers (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=b0RG7GBW7ooC& pg=PA127& lpg=PA127&
dq="alternative+ comedy"+ define& source=bl& ots=VDyhOc6UA1& sig=nWOhFsxFkbku0aZlNP6ZMGcE57k& hl=en&
ei=ejDqSozsI4aOtAPRnszUCA& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=7& ved=0CBoQ6AEwBjgU). Routledge. p. 127.
ISBN 0415094712. . "'Alternative' comedy is inevitably difficult to define, not least because it tends, after an interval, to join the mainstream."
[3] "Seinfeld It Ain't" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2006/ 01/ 29/ fashion/ sundaystyles/ 29Comedy. html?pagewanted=all). The New York
Times. January 29, 2006. . Retrieved 2009-10-30. "There's a decent chance that [Brett] Gelman's over-the-top Hitler bit wouldn't play well
among the tourists at Manhattan's traditional stand-up clubs, places like Caroline's and Stand-Up New York, a universe where Seinfeldian
observational humor still reigns"
[4] "Patton Oswalt" (http:/ / www. altcomfestival. com/ pressArticle6. php). Panorama Magazine. AltCom!. May 5, 2008. . Retrieved
[5] http:/ / www. unesco. org/ courier/ 1999_05/ uk/ dires/ txt1. htm
[6] http:/ / www. comedycv. co. uk/ arnoldbrown/ index. htm
[7] http:/ / www. bobslayer. com/ about/
[8] http:/ / www. eyes-and-ears. co. uk/ pennine/ / details. asp?Title=Manchester%20Crime%20Wave:%20Snorting%20Charlie
[9] http:/ / www. cs. rice. edu/ ~ssiyer/ minstrels/ poems/ 1044. html
[10] http:/ / www. kultureflash. net/ archive/ 87/
[11] http:/ / www. museum. tv/ eotvsection. php?entrycode=saundersjen
[12] "UN-CABARET | "Free-Range Comedy Since 1991"" (http:/ / www. uncabaret. com). . Retrieved 2008-11-07.
[13] "The Other Network" (http:/ / othernetwork. com). . Retrieved 2008-11-07.
[14] "Seinfeld It Ain't" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2006/ 01/ 29/ fashion/ sundaystyles/ 29Comedy. html?pagewanted=all). The New York
Times. January 29, 2006. . Retrieved 2009-10-30. "Bars and back rooms in the East Village and Lower East Side are overflowing these days
with the likes of Adolf Dice Hitler Clay: not spoofs of Nazis necessarily, but rather a wave of young and creative comics who are branching
out from straight stand-up to eccentric sketch and character-based humor that owes more to Da Ali G Show than to George Carlin....Any
attempt to define the term alternative comedy was doomed, [Andrés] du Bouchet said before his Tuesday night show, but he gave it a shot
anyway. "Alternative is a catchall phrase for 'not stand-up,' " he said. Aziz Ansari, 22 and an up-and-coming comic on the scene, elaborated.
"The alternative rooms give you an outlet to explore something other than straight stand-up," he said. "You can do characters. I can bring a
girl on stage that I got rejected by and interview her, or do a PowerPoint presentation or show a short film. The nature of the venues allows
you to experiment.""
[15] Warren St. John (Published: January 29, 2006). "Alternative Comedy - New York Times" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2006/ 01/ 29/
fashion/ sundaystyles/ 29Comedy. html?ex=1296190800& en=81d9e77f927d8fc5& ei=5090& partner=rssuserland& emc=rss).
. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
[16] "BBC - Comedy - The Young Ones" (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ comedy/ guide/ articles/ y/ youngonesthe_1299003473. shtml). .
Retrieved 2008-11-07.
[17] Susan Stone (February 14, 2003 ·). "Alternative Comedy from 'The Other Network' : NPR" (http:/ / www. npr. org/ templates/ story/ story.
php?storyId=1163104). . Retrieved 2008-11-07.
[18] http:/ / www. blerds. com/ blerds/ wordpress/
[19] http:/ / thebastion. org/
[20] http:/ / thelincolnlodge. com/
[21] http:/ / chicagoundergroundcomedy. com/
[22] http:/ / comediansyoushouldknow. com/
[23] http:/ / www. setbb. com/ madchestercomed/
[24] http:/ / www. uncabaret. com/
[25] http:/ / www. altcomfestival. com/
Atellan Farce
Atellan Farce
The Atellan Farce (Latin: Atellanae fabulae or fabulae Atellanae, "Atellan fables"), also known as the Oscan
Games (Latin: ludi Osci, "Oscan plays"), were a collection of vulgar farces, containing lots of low or buffoonish
comedy and rude jokes. It was very popular in Ancient Rome, and usually put on after longer plays like the
pantomime. Named after Atella, an Oscan town in Campania, where they were invented, they were originally written
in Oscan and imported into Rome in 391 BC. In later Roman versions, only the ridiculous characters read their lines
in Oscan, while the others used Latin.
Played by young men of good family, the stock characters included:
Macchus (a Pulcinella-type figure)
Bucco (the fat man)
Manducus (a greedy clown)
Samnio (a Harlequin-type figure)
Pappus (a doddery old man)
These later formed the basis for characters of the Commedia dell'arte, as well as Punch and Judy. Largely
improvised, the Atellan Farce was performed after tragedies and represented the habits of the lower classes (as the
upper classes saw them).
In regard to authorship, it is believed that the dictator Sulla wrote some; Quintus Novius, who flourished 50 years
after the abdication of Sulla, wrote some fifty Atellan Fables, including Macchus Exsul ("Exiled Macchus"),
Gallinaria ("The Henhouse"), Surdus ("The Deaf One"), Vindemiatores ("The Harvesters"), and Parcus (“The
Lucius Pomponius, of Bologna, is known to have composed a few, including Macchus Miles ("Macchus the
Soldier"), Pytho Gorgonius, Pseudoagamemnon, Bucco Adoptatus, and Aeditumus. Fabius Dorsennus and a
"Memmius" were also authors of these comedies; Ovid and Pliny the Younger found the work of Memmius to be
See also
• Improvisational comedy
• Improvisational theatre
• Theatre of ancient Rome
Fragments of the Atellan Fables can be found in the Poetarum latinorum scen. fragmenta, Leipzig, 1834
Maurice Meyer, Sur les Atellanes; Manheim, 1826, in-8°;
C. E. Schober, Über die Atellanen, Leipzig, 1825, in-8°;
M. Meyer, Etudes sur le théâtre latin, Paris, 1847, in-8°.
The works of Pomponius and Novius can be found in
• Otto Ribbeck, Comicorum Romanorum praeter Plautum et Terentium Fragmenta
• Munk, De Fabulis Atellanis (1840).
Atellan Farce
External links
• (French) Meyer, Maurice, “Études sur le théâtre latin” [1]
• (French) Imago Mundi -Atellanes [2]
[1] http:/ / remacle. org/ bloodwolf/ livres/ meyer/ un. htm#82
[2] http:/ / www. cosmovisions. com/ textAtellanes. htm
Authority figures in comedy
A recurring theme in the literary, theatrical and film tradition of comedy is the use of stock characters representing
authority figures, designed to poke fun at officialdom by showing that its members are not immune to entanglement
in the ridiculous. This is an old tradition, well illustrated in works such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Voltaire's
This theme was commonly used by British comedy troupe, Monty Python. In their sketches, a "common comedic
device was for authority figures (such as military officers, police, judges, Conservative politicians, BBC news
announcers and even God) to take their characters to extremes by suddenly spouting complete nonsense".[1]
Examples include:
• Police officers, as seen in Keystone Kops, Inspector Clouseau, Reno 911!, Police Academy, The Thin Blue Line
and Carry On Constable.
• Soldiers, as seen in Sgt. Bilko, Carry on Sergeant, Stripes, Blackadder Goes Forth and Il Capitano in the
Commedia del Arte.
• Civil servants, as seen in Yes Minister, Carlton-Browne of the F.O.[2] , The Ministry of Silly Walks and Spin City.
• Priests, as seen in All Gas and Gaiters and Father Ted.
• Teachers, principals, and deans, as seen in Animal House and High School High.
Some television shows, such as South Park and The Simpsons, have a collection of characters that represent all of the
main groups of authority figures, and each portray such figures as humorously flawed. Indeed, each show has a
resident police officer — Officer Barbrady and Chief Clancy Wiggum, respectively — portrayed as an incompetent
and bumbling idiot. The shows also mockingly portray their resident religious leader — Priest Maxi in South Park
and Reverend Timothy Lovejoy in The Simpsons. The shows also include, with slightly different characteristics, the
flawed exercise of authority by parents, teachers, school principals, mayors, and occasionally of soldiers and
Examples can also be found in the art of the Russian joke.
[1] Craig Hight, Jane Roscoe. Faking It: Mock-Documentary and the Subversion of Factuality. Manchester University Press (2002) ISBN
0-7190-5641-1 (p. 80).
[2] Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959) (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ title/ tt0053044)
Ballad opera
Ballad opera
The term ballad opera is used to refer to a
genre of English stage entertainment
originating in the 18th century and
continuing to develop in the following
century and later. There are many types of
ballad opera. This article describes the
principal sub-genres.
The earliest ballad operas
Ballad opera has been called an
"eighteenth-century protest against the
Italian conquest of the London operatic
scene"[1] It consists of racy and often
Painting based on The Beggar's Opera, Act III Scene 2, William Hogarth, c. 1728
interspersed with songs that are deliberately
kept very short (mostly a single short stanza and refrain) to minimize disruptions to the flow of the story, which
involves lower class, often criminal, characters, and typically shows a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral
values of the Italian opera of the period.
It is generally accepted that the first ballad opera, and the one that was to prove the most successful, was The
Beggar's Opera of 1728.[2] It had a libretto by John Gay and music arranged by John Christopher Pepusch, both of
whom probably experienced vaudeville theatre in Paris, and may have been motivated to reproduce it in an English
form. They were also probably influenced by the burlesques and musical plays of Thomas D'Urfey (1653–1723) who
had a reputation for fitting new words to existing songs; a popular anthology of these settings was published in 1700
and frequently re-issued.[3] A number of the tunes from this anthology were recycled in The Beggar's Opera.
Gay produced further works in this style, including a sequel to The Beggar's Opera, Polly. Henry Fielding, Colley
Cibber, Arne, Dibdin, Arnold, Shield, Jackson of Exeter, Hook and many others produced ballad operas that enjoyed
great popularity.[1] By the middle of the century, however, the genre was already in decline.[4]
Although they featured the lower reaches of society, the audiences for these works were typically the London
bourgeois. As a reaction to serious opera (at this time almost invariably sung in Italian), the music, for these
audiences, was as satirical in its way as the words of the play. The plays themselves contained references to
contemporary politics — in The Beggar's Opera the character Peachum was a lampoon of Sir Robert Walpole. This
satirical element meant that many of them risked censorship and banning — as was the case with Gay's successor to
The Beggar's Opera, Polly.
The tunes of the original ballad operas were almost all pre-existing (somewhat in the manner of a modern "jukebox
musical"): however they were taken from a wide variety of contemporary sources, including folk melodies, popular
airs by classical composers (such as Purcell) and even children's nursery rhymes. A significant source from which
the music was drawn was the fund of popular airs to which 18th century London broadside ballads are set. It is from
this connection that the term "ballad opera" is drawn. This ragbag of "pre-loved" music is a good test for
distinguishing between the original type of ballad opera and its later forms.
The Disappointment (1762) represents an early American attempt at such a ballad opera.
Ballad opera
The Singspiel connection
In 1736 the Prussian ambassador in England commissioned an arrangement in German of a popular ballad opera,
The Devil to Pay, by Charles Coffey. This was successfully performed in Hamburg, Leipzig and elsewhere in
Germany in the 1740s. A new version was produced by C. F. Weisse and Johann Adam Hiller in 1766. The success
of this version was the first of many by these collaborators, who have been called (according to Grove) "the fathers
of the German Singspiel". (The storyline of The Devil to Pay was also adapted for Gluck for his 1759 French opera
Le diable à quatre).
Pastoral Ballad Opera
A later development, also often referred to as ballad opera, was a more "pastoral" form. In subject matter, especially,
these "ballad operas" were antithetical to the more satirical variety. In place of the rag-bag of pre-existing music
found in (for example) The Beggar's Opera, the scores of these works consisted in the main of original music,
although they not infrequently quoted folk melodies, or imitated them. Isaac Bickerstaffe's Love in a Village (1763)
and Shield’s Rosina (1781) are typical examples. Interestingly, many of these works were introduced as after-pieces
to performances of Italian operas.
Later in the century broader comedies such as Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Duenna and the innumerable works
of Charles Dibdin moved the balance back towards the original style, but there was little remaining of the impetus of
the satirical ballad opera.
The 19th Century
English nineteenth century opera is very heavily drawn from the "pastoral" form of the ballad opera, and traces even
of the satiric kind can be found in the work of "serious" practitioners such as John Barnett. Much of the satiric spirit
(albeit in a greatly refined form) of the original ballad opera can be found in Gilbert's contribution to the Savoy
operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, and the more pastoral form of ballad opera is imitated, or at least emulated, in one of
Gilbert and Sullivan's early works, The Sorcerer.
The 20th Century
The Threepenny Opera of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht (1928) is a reworking of The Beggar's Opera, setting a
similar story with the same characters, and containing much of the same satirical bite. On the other hand, it uses just
one tune from the original – all the other music being specially composed, and thus omits one of the most distinctive
features of the original ballad opera.
In a completely different vein, Hugh the Drover, an opera in two acts by Ralph Vaughan Williams first staged in
1924, is also sometimes referred to as a "ballad opera". It is plainly much closer to Shield's Rosina than to The
Beggar's Opera.
In the twentieth century folk singers have produced musical plays with folk or folk-like songs called "ballad operas".
Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, and others recorded The Martins and the Coys in 1944, and Peter Bellamy and
others recorded The Transports in 1977. The first of these is in some ways connected to the "pastoral" form of the
ballad opera, and the latter to the satiric Beggar's Opera type, but in all they represent yet further reinterpretations of
the term.
Ironically, it is in the musicals of Kander & Ebb —especially Chicago and Cabaret— that the kind of satire
embodied in The Beggar's Opera and its immediate successors is probably best preserved, although here, as in
Weill's version, the music is specially composed, unlike the first ballad operas of the 18th century.
Ballad opera
• Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Ballad opera
• Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack, The concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, (Oxford, 1979), Ballad opera.
External links
• Brief history of British light opera [5]
[1] M. Lubbock, The Complete Book of Light Opera (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962), pp. 467-68
[2] J. Milling, P. Thomson, J. W. Donohue, eds, The Cambridge History of British Theatre: 1660 to 1895 / edited by Joseph Donohue
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 131.
[3] Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, D'Urfey, Thomas.
[4] J. Warwick and E. West, The Oxford Dictionary of Opera (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 43.
[5] http:/ / www. theatrehistory. com/ british/ lightopera001. html
Black comedy
Black comedy is a sub-genre of comedy and satire[1] [2] in which
topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo are treated in a
satirical or humorous manner while retaining their seriousness.
Synonyms include dark comedy, black humor, dark humor, and
morbid humor.
The purpose of black comedy is to make light of serious and often
taboo subject matter, and some comedians use it as a tool for exploring
vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as
amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include
murder, suicide, war, barbarism, drug abuse, terminal illness, domestic
violence, insanity, nightmare, disease, racism, disability (both physical
and mental), chauvinism, corruption, and crime. By contrast, blue
comedy focuses more on crude topics, such as nudity, sex and bodily
Hopscotch to oblivion, Barcelona, Spain. A
similar concept also appears on Korn's album
cover Follow the Leader.
Although the two are interrelated, black comedy is different from
straightforward obscenity in that it is more subtle and doesn't necessarily have an explicit intention to offend people.
In obscene humor, much of the humorous element comes from shock and revulsion, while black comedy usually
includes an element of irony, or even fatalism. This particular brand of humor can be exemplified by a scene in the
play Waiting for Godot, where a man takes off his belt to hang himself and his trousers fall down.
Writers such as William Faulkner, Thomas Pynchon[1] , Kurt Vonnegut[1] , Warren Zevon, Patrick Hamilton, Joseph
Heller[1] , Mark Twain, Martin McDonagh, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and George Bernard Shaw have written novels,
poems, stories, plays and songs in which profound or horrific events were portrayed in a comic manner. Comedians
including Lenny Bruce[2] , George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Peter Cook, Jack Dee, Frankie Boyle, and the Monty Python
team have also helped popularize the genre.
Black comedy
Black comedy is commonly used in dramatic or
satirical films, retaining its serious tone. The term is
credited to the Anthology of Black Humour (Anthologie
de l'humour noir), a 1939 French anthology of 45
writers edited by André Breton. In the United States,
black comedy as a literary genre came to prominence in
the 1950s and 1960s. A later English-language
anthology edited by Bruce Jay Friedman, titled Black
Humor, assembles many examples of the genre.
Black comedy is a prevalent theme of many cult films,
television shows and video games. The 1964 Stanley
Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove presents one of the
best-known mainstream examples of black comedy.[1]
The subject of the film is nuclear warfare and the annihilation of life on Earth. Normally, dramas about nuclear war
treat the subject with gravity and seriousness, creating suspense over the efforts to avoid a nuclear war. But Dr.
Strangelove plays the subject for laughs; for example, in the film, the fail-safe procedures designed to prevent a
nuclear war are precisely the systems that ensure that it will happen. Plotwise, Group Captain Mandrake serves as
the only sane character in the film, while Major Kong fills the role of the hero striving for a harmful goal.
Major "King" Kong riding a nuclear bomb to oblivion, from the film
Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the
The Shakespearean play Titus Andronicus, with its many semi-parodic on-stage murders is generally seen as one of
the earliest examples of black comedy in English.
See also
Comedy horror
Crude humor
Cringe humor
Gallows humor
Problem plays
Shock value
[1] http:/ / www. encyclopedia. com/ doc/ 1E1-blackhum. html
[2] http:/ / encyclopedia. farlex. com/ black+ humor
Blue comedy
Blue comedy
Blue comedy is comedy that is off-color, risqué, indecent, profane, or obscene.[1] It often contains profanity and/or
sexual imagery that shocks and offends many audiences. The term comes from the music hall comedian Max Miller
who kept all his adult jokes in a blue colored notebook. [2]
"Working blue" refers to the act of performing this type of material. A "blue comedian" or "blue comic" is a
comedian who usually performs blue, or is known mainly for his or her blue material. Blue comedians often find it
difficult to succeed in mainstream media.
Many comedians who are normally family-friendly might choose to work blue when off-camera or in an
adult-oriented environment; Bob Saget exemplifies this dichotomy. Private events at show business clubs such as the
Bob Saget Club and The Masquers often showed this blue side of otherwise cleancut Bob Saget; a recording survives
of one Masquers roast from the 1950s with Jack Benny, George Jessel, George Burns, and Art Linkletter all using
highly risque material and, in some cases, obscenities.
Blue comedians
Chelsea Handler
Dave Attell
Lewis Black
Kathy Griffin
Frankie Boyle
Russell Brand
Roy 'Chubby' Brown
Lenny Bruce
George Carlin
Jimmy Carr
Rodney Carrington
Dave Chappelle
Margaret Cho
Rodney Dangerfield
Andrew Dice Clay
Dane Cook
Sacha Baron Cohen
David Cross
Anthony Cumia
Jim Davidson
Nick DiPaolo
Jeff Duran
Jim Florentine
Jamie Foxx
Redd Foxx
Pablo Francisco
Gilbert Gottfried
Eddie Griffin
Buddy Hackett
Bill Hicks
Gregg Hughes
Jim Jeffries
Sam Kinison
Richard Jeni
Lisa Lampanelli
Artie Lange
Denis Leary
Stephen Lynch
Louis C.K.
George Lopez
Cheech Marin
Carlos Mencia
Stephanie Miller
Rudy Ray Moore
Mantan Moreland
Eddie Murphy
Jim Norton
Patton Oswalt
Richard Pryor
Chris Rock
Paul Rodriguez
Joe Rogan
Sean Rouse
Rodney Rude
Bob Saget
Robert Schimmel
Sarah Silverman
Snatch and the Poontangs
Doug Stanhope
Howard Stern
Ryan Stout
Michael Bolton
Hans Teeuwen
Daniel Tosh
Natalie Tran
Chris Tucker
John Valby
Rusty Warren
Ron White
Kevin Bloody Wilson
Katt Williams
Robin Williams
Jo Brand
Jay Leno
Wanda Sykes
[1] "blue" (http:/ / www. merriam-webster. com/ dictionary/ blue). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster,. . Retrieved
[2] The Story of Light Entertainment - episode 4 - The Comics, BBC 2, 12 August 2006
A burletta (Italian, meaning little joke), also sometimes burla or burlettina, is a musical term generally denoting a
brief comic Italian (or, later, English) opera. The term was used in the 18th century to denote the comic intermezzos
between the acts of an opera seria, but was sometimes given to more extended works; Pergolesi's La serva padrona
was designated a 'burletta' at its London premiere in 1750.
In England the term began to be used, in contrast to burlesque, for works that satirized opera but without using
musical parody. Burlettas in English began to appear in the 1760s, the earliest identified being Midas by Kane
O'Hara, first performed privately in 1760 near Belfast, and produced at Covent Garden in 1764. The form became
debased when the term 'burletta' began to be used for English comic or ballad operas, as a way of evading the
monopoly on opera in London belonging to Covent Garden and Drury Lane. After repeal of the 1737 Licensing Act
in 1843, use of the term declined.
The word 'burletta' has also been used for scherzo-like instrumental music by composers including Max Reger and
List of burlettas
• Le serve rivali (1766)
• The Recruiting Serjeant (1770)
• Warrack, John and West, Ewan (1992), The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, Oxford ISBN 0-19-869164-5
• Nicholas Temperley. "Burletta", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 08 September 2007), [1] (subscription access).
[1] http:/ / www. grovemusic. com/
Busking is the practice of performing in public places
for tips and gratuities. People engaging in this practice
are called buskers. Buskers may also be known as
street performers, street musicians, minstrels or
troubadours. Busking performances can be just about
anything that people find entertaining. Buskers may do
acrobatics, animal tricks, balloon twisting, card tricks,
clowning, comedy, contortions & escapes, dance, fire
eating, fire breathing, fortune-telling, juggling, magic,
mime and a mime variation where the artist performs as
a living statue, musical performance, puppeteering,
snake charming, storytelling or recite poetry or prose as
a bard, street art (sketching and painting, etc.), street
theatre, sword swallowing, and even putting on a flea
The Prague Castle Orchestra, a busking trio
Busking is a British term used in many areas of the
English-speaking world. The place where a busker
performs is called their pitch. People busk for a variety
of reasons: for money, for fun, for attention, to meet
people and socialize, for the love of their art, to practice
their skills, or try out new material in front of an
audience. Some buskers only work part time, while
Mother and son busking in Lhasa, Tibet
others make a living performing full time on the streets.
Some buskers do professional entertainment gigs in addition to working the streets. A busker's income depends on
many conditions including, the type and quality of the performance, the composition of the audience, the weather,
the location and the time of day. Competition from other buskers can also play a key role. Some people make only
pocket change from busking while others can earn a substantial income.
Busking can be the bottom rung of the
entertainment industry. Some of the most
famous groups and superstars started their
careers as buskers. Joan Baez, Beck, Roni
Benise, The Blue Man Group, Pierce
Brosnan, Jimmy Buffett, George Burns,
Tracy Chapman, Cirque du Soleil, Judy
Collins, Bob Dylan, Stephane Grappelli,
Woody Guthrie, Bob Hope, Jewel, Steve
Martin, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Penn &
Teller, Gerry Rafferty, Edith Piaf, Simon
and Garfunkel, Pete Seeger, Rod Stewart,
Joe Strummer, Stomp, and Robin Williams.
Many other buskers have also found fame
and fortune.
Street performers exhibiting a chained bear and a monkey.
There are three basic forms of busking. Circle shows are shows that tend to gather a crowd around them. They
usually have a distinct beginning and end. Usually these are done in conjunction with street theater, puppeteering,
magicians, comedians, acrobats, jugglers and sometimes musicians. Circle shows can be the most lucrative. Some
time the crowds attracted can be huge. A good busker will control the crowd so the patrons don't obstruct foot traffic.
Walk-by acts are typically with the busker providing a musical or
entertaining ambiance. There is no distinct beginning or end and
the crowds do not particularly stop to watch. Sometimes an
intended walk by act will spontaneously turn into a circle show.
Café busking is done mostly in restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes.
Musicians can frequently be found using this venue with the
performers doing a show in return for tips and gratuities offored.
Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez all used this venue early
on in their careers. Making a living on the piano bar principle (i.e.
German street buskers play for pedestrians.
for tips) is done in a range of genres, including jazz, rock, and
even "light" Classical style. Diverse artists like Jimmy Durante
and Andrea Bocelli have used this venue. Perhaps one of the most famous of these is Billy Joel, who rose to fame
from working in piano bars. His hit song "Piano Man" was written about a six month stint he did in 1972 at the
"Executive Room" piano bar in Los Angeles.
Most buskers will use their instrument cases
or a special can or box to collect the tips. A
bottler is a British term that describes the
person with the job of collecting the money.
A bottler may also be called the "hat man"
or "pitch man". The term bottler came from
a device old world performers used for
collecting money. It was made from the top
half of a glass bottle. It had a leather flap
inserted in the bottle neck and a leather
pouch attached. It was designed to allow
coins in but not allow them to be removed
easily without being noticed by the jingling
of the coins against the glass. The first use
Toss juggling - street performance in Denmark
of such contrivances was recorded by the
famous Punch and Judy troupe of
puppeteers in early Victorian times.[1] Bottling itself can be an art form, and the difference between a good and a bad
bottler can be crucial to the amount of money earned on a pitch. A good bottler is able to encourage audience
members to give money. A bottler usually gets a cut of the money made on the pitch. Prior to the 20th century, it was
common for buskers to use a trained monkey as a bottler. That practice has diminished due to animal control laws,
but as tribute to the monkey's service there is a device known as monkey stick which buskers use to get attention. A
monkey stick is a long stick with bottle caps or small cymbals attached such that they make an attention getting noise
when shaken.
A good pitch can be the key to success as a busker. An act that might
make money at one place and time may not work at all in another
setting. Popular pitches tend to be public places with large volumes of
pedestrian traffic, high visibility, low background noise and as few
elements of interference as possible. Good locations may include
tourist spots, popular parks, entertainment districts including lots of
restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs and theaters, subways and bus stops,
outside the entrances to large concerts and sporting events, almost any
plaza or town square as well as zócalos in Latin America and piazzas,
and in other regions. Other places include shopping malls, strip malls,
and outside of supermarkets, although permission is usually required
from management for these.
In her documentary movie and book, Underground Harmonies: Music
and Politics in the Subways of New York (Anthropology of
Contemporary Issues), Susie J. Tanenbaum examines how the old
adage "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast" plays out in
regards to busking. Her sociological studies showed that in areas where
buskers regularly perform, crime rates tended to go down. She also
discovered that those with higher education tended to appreciate and
support buskers more than those of lesser learning. Some cities are
encouraging buskers because they can be a tonic to the stresses of
An organ grinder in Vienna, with barrel organ.
shopping and commuting, and can be an influence which is
entertaining and beneficial for all.[2] Some cities give preference to "approved" buskers in certain areas and even
publish schedules of performances.[3]
In the United States there has been a rebirth of this art form as the new millennium has started. Buskers are found at
many locations like Mallory Square in Key West, in New Orleans all over the place, in New York around Central
Park, Washington Square, and the subway systems, in San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf area, Market Street,
Union Square and the Cable Car turnarounds and BART stations, in Washington DC around the transit centers, in
Los Angeles around Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade, and the Hollywood area, in Chicago
on Maxwell Street, in the Delmar Loop district of St. Louis, and many other locations throughout the US. Busking is
still quite common in Scotland, Ireland, and England with musicians and other street performers of varying talent
There have been performances in public places for gratuities in
every major culture in the world, dating back to antiquity. This art
form was the most common means of employment for entertainers
before the advent of recording and personal electronics.[4] Prior to
that, a living human being had to produce any music or
entertainment, save for a few mechanical devices such as the
barrel organ, the music box, and the piano roll. Organ grinders
were commonly found busking in the old days.
These performers have not always been called buskers. The term
busking was first noted in the English language around the middle
1860s in Great Britain. Up until the 20th century buskers were
commonly called minstrels in America, Europe and other
English-speaking lands.
The word busk comes from the Spanish root word buscar,
meaning "to seek" – buskers are literally seeking fame and
fortune.[5] [6] The Spanish word buscar in turn evolved from the
Latin "buskin". Buskins were ornamental sandals which were
worn by Roman performers on celebration days.
Puppet Bike in Chicago, Illinois
Busking is common among the Gypsies, also known as the Romani people. Romantic mention of Gypsy music,
dancers and fortune tellers are found in all forms of song poetry, prose and lore. The Roma brought the word busking
to England by way of their travels along the Mediterranean coast to Spain and the Atlantic ocean and then up north
to England and the rest of Europe.
In medieval France buskers were known by the terms troubadours and jongleurs. In northern France they were
known as trouveres. In old German buskers were known as Minnesingers and Spielleute. In obsolete French it
evolved to busquer for "seek, prowl" and was generally used to describe prostitutes. In Italian it evolved to buscare
which meant "procure, gain" and in Italy buskers are called buscarsi or, more simply, Buskers (see loan word). In
Russia buskers are called skomorokh and their first recorded history appears around the 11th century.
Mariachis are Mexican street bands that play a specific style of music by the same name.[7] Mariachis frequently
wear ornate costumes with intricate embroidery and beaded designs, large brimmed sombreros and the short charro
jackets. Mariachi groups busk when they perform while traveling through streets and plazas, as well as in restaurants
and bars.
Around the middle 1800s Japanese Chindonya started to be seen using their skills for advertising, and these street
performers are still occasionally seen in Japan.
In the US, medicine shows proliferated in the 1800s. They were traveling vendors selling elixirs and potions to
improve the health. They would often employ entertainment acts as a way of making the clients feel better. The
people would often associate this feeling of well-being with the products sold. After these performances they would
"pass the hat".
One man bands are buskers who perform a variety of instruments simultaneously. One Man Bands proliferated in
urban areas in the 1800s and early 1900s, but they continue to exist in the 2000s. A typical 2000s-era one man band
set-up is a singer who plays acoustic guitar, while also playing a harmonica (attached to his neck with a rack) and
tapping a tambourine with his or her foot. Many new one man bands are using karaoke recordings on CD or
sequenced MIDI recordings for backup.
Folk music has always been an important part of the busking
scene. Cafe, restaurant, bar and pub busking is a mainstay of this
art form. Two of the more famous folk singers are Woody Guthrie
and Joan Baez. The delta bluesmen were mostly itinerant
musicians emanating from the Mississippi Delta region of the
USA around the early 1920s and on. B.B. King is one famous
example who came from these roots.
The counterculture of the hippies of the 1960s occasionally staged
"be-ins", which resembled some present-day busker festivals.
Bands and performers would gather at public places and perform
for free, passing the hat to make money. The San Francisco Bay
Area was at the epicenter of this movement — be-ins were staged
at Golden Gate Park and San Jose's Bee Stadium and other venues.
Classical fiddler in Arles, France
Some of the bands that performed in this manner were Janis Joplin
with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service,
Country Joe and the Fish, Moby Grape, and Jimi Hendrix.
Christmas caroling can also be a form of busking, as wassailing included singing for alms, wassail or some other
form of refreshment such as Figgy pudding. In Ireland the traditional Wren Boys and in England Morris Dancing can
be considered part of the busking tradition.
In India and Pakistan's Gujarati region Bhavai is a form of street art where there are plays enacted in the village, the
barot or the village singer also is part of the local entertainment scene.
In the 2000s, some performers have begun "Cyber Busking". Artists post work or performances on the Internet for
people to download or "stream" and if people like it they make a donation using PayPal.
Pitfalls of busking
Some people stereotype buskers as being unemployed, homeless or beggars. Most buskers are none of those things.
Some people will heckle buskers and stigmatize them as such, regardless of the buskers' social status. When referring
to a busker these terms are normally disrespectful and derogatory and may be a cause of action for a defamation
Conflicts and fights over pitch can and do happen. Career buskers may try to maintain a "right of pitch" over others.
Generally it is considered first come, first served. Some buskers will send a person ahead of them to fend others off a
pitch until they arrive. This practice is known as "squatting" and is greatly looked down upon by other buskers. At
times, a compromise may be reached between competing buskers and a pitch will be shared on a rotational basis.
Beggars have been known to congregate around buskers trying to intercept those patrons who want to pay the busker
for their services and convert the donation to themselves. The buskers refer to these types as "spongers." Beggars
may also try to extort money from buskers by being obnoxious and harassing people until the busker pays them to go
Buskers may find themselves targeted by thieves due to the very open and public nature of their craft. Buskers may
have their earnings, instruments or props stolen. One particular technique that thieves use against buskers is to
pretend to make a donation while actually taking money out instead, a practice known as "dipping" or "skimming".
George Burns described his days as a youthful busker this way:[8]
Sometimes the customers threw something in the hats.
Sometimes they took something out of the hats.
Sometimes they took the hats.
Busking and the law
The first recorded instance of laws affecting buskers were in
ancient Rome in 462 BC. The Law of the Twelve Tables made it a
crime to sing about or make parodies of the government or its
officials in public places; the penalty was death.[9] [10] Louis the
Pious "excluded histriones and scurrae, which included all
entertainers without noble protection, from the privilege of
justice".[11] In 1530 Henry VIII ordered the licensing of minstrels
& players, fortune-tellers, pardoners and fencers, as well as
beggars who could not work. If they did not obey they could be
whipped on two consecutive days.[12]
In the United States under Constitutional Law and most European
common law, the protection of artistic free speech extends to
busking. In the USA and most places, the designated places for
free speech behavior are the public parks, streets, sidewalks,
thoroughfares and town squares or plazas. Under certain
circumstances even private property may be open to buskers,
particularly if it is open to the general public and busking does not
interfere with its function and management allows it or other
forms of free speech behaviors or has a history of doing so.[13]
Historic painting of a street musician, entitled O Pobre
Rabequista (The Poor Rebec Player).
While there is no universal code of conduct for buskers, there are common law practices which buskers must
conform to. Most jurisdictions have corresponding statutory law. In Great Britain free speech and busking can be
regulated. Some towns in the British Isles limit the licenses issued to bagpipers because of the volume and difficulty
of the instrument. In Great Britain places requiring licenses for buskers may also require auditions of anyone
applying for a busking license. Some venues that do not regulate busking may still ask performers to abide by
voluntary rules. Some places require a special permit to use electronically amplified sound and may have limits on
the volume of sound produced. It is common law that buskers or others should not impede pedestrian traffic flow,
block or otherwise obstruct entrances or exits, or do things that endanger the public. It is common law that any
disturbing or noisy behaviors may not be conducted after certain hours in the night. These curfew limitations vary
from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is common law that "performing blue" (i.e. using material that is sexually explicit
or any vulgar or obscene remarks or gestures) is generally prohibited unless performing for an adults-only
environment such as in a bar or pub.
In London, busking is prohibited in the entire borough of the City of London. The London Underground provides
busking permits in tube stations, and many London boroughs allow busking by permit. The only borough in London
permitting busking without a permit is Camden.[14]
United States law
In the United States there have been numerous legal cases about regulations and laws that have decided the rights of
buskers to perform in public. Most of these laws and regulations have been found to be unconstitutional when
challenged. In the US, free speech is considered an essential and absolute civil right of every individual, guaranteed
by the First and Fourteenth constitutional amendments. It matters not if people practise artistic free speech for
money. In the USA about the only reasons that can be used to regulate or ban busking behavior are public safety
issues and noise issues in certain areas that require silence like hospital zones, around churches, funeral homes,
cemeteries and transport terminals where announcements need to be heard. Such laws must be narrowly tailored to
eliminate only the perceived evils by limiting the time, place and manner that busking may be practiced. They must
also leave open reasonable alternative venues. The only exceptions to these free speech rules are sedition, as defined
by the Smith Act, public displays of pornography and obscenity and criminal behavior such as fraud or defamation
and the common laws talked about above. In the US, laws regulating or banning busking must be applied evenly to
all forms of free speech. Busking cannot be prohibited in an area where other forms of free speech are not prohibited.
For example if busking is regulated or banned but people are allowed to conduct free speech behavior for pickets,
protests, religious, political, educational, sports, commercial or other purposes then the law is illegal. In the USA any
form of regulation on artistic free speech must not be judgmental, and permits must not be so restrictive, complex,
difficult or expensive to obtain that they inhibit free speech.
If two or more persons conspire to violate a person's civil rights they are violating US Federal Law, Title 18, U.S.C.,
Section 241- Conspiracy Against Rights - "This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to
injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment
of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, or because of his/her
having exercised the same. It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or
on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so
secured. Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such
acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual
abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be
sentenced to death."
It is also a violation of federal law if an officer of the law violates a persons civil rights under the color of the law. It
is the duty of all government officials and police officers to protect and preserve the constitution and these civil
rights, Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 - Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law - "This statute makes it a crime for
any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be
deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of
the U.S.This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to
willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those
prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or
limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided
that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done
while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition
includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing
Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts
include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or
imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap,
aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under
this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death." [15]
Busking cases
Case Law
1970 In the late 1920s and early 1930s, busking had grown to be quite a controversial enterprise in New York. The country was in the midst of a
horrible economic depression and many people had turned to busking as a source of income. Buskers were everywhere and fights over
pitches were alarmingly common between the buskers themselves and the buskers, merchants, and vendors. Out of frustration over the
complaining, fighting, and violence, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia had banned busking in New York on the grounds of safety issues regarding
the escalating conflicts. Busking went on, but on a much smaller scale. If anybody complained about a busker, at their discretion, the police
could order the busker to move on or could even arrest him or her. In 1970 poet Allen Ginsberg challenged the constitutionality of this ban.
The ban was lifted in 1970 after being found to be unconstitutional by Mayor John V. Lindsay.
1979 In Goldstein v. Town of Nantucket, the Town of Nantucket had tried to regulate buskers as vendors, which the court did not accept as valid.
Local businesses had complained about the competition from street artists.
1983 In Davenport v. City of Alexandria, Virginia, a judge ruled that a ban on busking and other business-related activities on the streets of the
central city area was unconstitutional. Several courts found that there was no legitimacy to the city's allegations of safety issues that were
alleged to be related to busking.
1985 In Friedrich v. Chicago, 619 F. Supp., 1129. D.C. Ill., a Chicago court ruled in favor of allowing buskers in the city. In Chicago busking was
restricted in certain areas. In the decision, buskers won injunctive relief from the city's enforcement of the ban in some of the contested areas.
They also obtained relief from a permit scheme on the use of amplifiers because the scheme was judgmental and at the discretion of the
1990 In Carew-Reid et al. vs. Ny Metropolitan Transportation Authority et al., buskers defeated a ban on the use of electronic amplifiers on the
NY subways. The courts ruled that it was the volume of the sound, not the use of amplifiers, that was at issue.
1991 In Jews For Jesus, Inc. vs. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, a religious group defeated the banning of expressive behavior with
a captive audience in paid areas. The courts ruled that subway stations and transit terminals have always been traditional public forums for
expressive behavior.
1996 In Bery v. New York, 97 F. 3d 684, 2d Cir., local businesses had complained about the competition from street artists, visual artists won the
right to sell their art.
1997 In Harry Perry and Robert "Jingles" Newman v. Los Angeles Police Department,[23] argued as Case 96-55545 before the Ninth Circuit
Court Of Appeals, buskers won the right to perform and sell their original music CDs and tapes on the street. Local businesses had
complained about the competition from street artists and tried to prohibit busking.
1999 In Turley v. NYC, US 2nd Cir Appeal 98-7114, argued in 1999, the judge ruled that New York City busking permit schemes were too
complex and difficult to obtain, and that the costs were unreasonably high. Turley also won relief prohibiting the seizure of instruments by
2001 Street Performers won a lawsuit in Waikiki, Hawaii. After local businesses had complained about the competition from buskers, they got the
city to push through an ordinance to ban busking on a very popular area, allegedly for safety reasons. But the buskers prevailed in court by
proving the safety concerns were not founded.
2003 District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. issued an injunction barring the city of St. Augustine, Florida from enforcing a recent ordinance banning
street performances on St. George Street. Local businesses had complained about the competition from buskers. Judge Adams's order stated,
"Street performances are a form of expression protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution."
Merchants got the city to ban busking for alleged safety issues. After public outcry, and a lawsuit
with Judge Adams decision, St.
Augustine acceded and as of March 2003 allows busking.
2004 A San Francisco busker known as the World Famous Bushman was charged with four public nuisance misdemeanors. A jury cleared him of
the first complaint, and the district attorney subsequently dropped the remaining complaints.
2005 A judge rejected Seattle Center rules on buskers. "Magic Mike" Berger, a magician and balloon-twisting busker, took the Seattle Center to
court and won injunctive relief and a court ordered settlement of over US $47,000. Seattle Center had some of the most liberal rules
regarding busking but even they could not pass constitutional muster. The Business Improvement District formed to manage Seattle Center
claimed that they had the right to manage 62 square blocks in the center of the city like private property. They wanted to limit buskers by
giving preference to approved buskers, regulating the time, places and numbers of buskers performing. The judge rejected the regulations,
pointing out that... "while a street performer cannot offer a meek oral request for a donation from passers by, a beggar who does not perform
[13] [30]
can solicit Seattle Center visitors with relative impunity, subject only to general criminal prohibitions on aggressive panhandling."
Famous people's involvement
The American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin was a busker of sorts. He composed songs, poetry and
prose about the political situation and went out in public and performed them. He would then sell printed copies of
them to the public. He was dissuaded from busking by his father who convinced him the stigmas that some people
attach to busking were not worth it. It was this experience that helped form his beliefs in free speech, which he wrote
about in his journals.[31]
Paul McCartney of the Beatles donned a disguise and went busking. In an interview on Britain's Radio One he
revealed: "It was for a film thing (Give My Regards To Broad Street, 1984) and it was something I'd always wanted
to do, so I scruffed myself up a bit, put on a false beard and shades, and went down to Leicester Square tube station.
It was really cool. A couple of people came up and said, 'Is it you?' but I just said, 'Oh, no'. But I got a few shillings
and I thought, 'This doesn't feel right,' so I gave it to charity."[32]
Bruce Springsteen has been known to busk. There is a famous set of videos, recorded on 23 July 1988 on a street in
Copenhagen, where he plays a variety of his songs with a busker on a street.[33]
Sting has also donned a disguise and gone out busking. He reportedly made £40. "He pulled a hat down over his
eyes, but one woman said: 'It's Sting.' The man behind her said: 'You silly cow. It's not him. He's a
The classical violinist Joshua Bell played as an incognito street busker at the Metro station L'Enfant Plaza in
Washington, D.C. on 12 January 2007. Among 1,097 people who passed by, only one recognized him and only a
couple more were drawn to his music. For his nearly 45 minute performance, Bell collected $32.17 (not counting
$20 from a passerby who recognized him). He did this using a Stradivarius violin valued at around $2,000,000.[35]
Bon Jovi has been known to take to the streets from time to time. Among the most famous Bon Jovi busks were
those at London’s Covent Garden and Moscow’s Red Square.[36]
Singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey recorded an entire album down in the Boston Subway, where he was a regular
busker. In most cases, songs were recorded in one or two takes.[37]
Guy Laliberté was a street performer when he founded the Cirque du Soleil theatrical company in 1984.
On 18 November 2008 singer Tom Jones went outside London's Royal Festival Hall and busked for charity. He
raised £500 for cancer research while doing a twenty minute set.[38]
See also
American and British English differences
Busking Day
Circus skills
List of British words not widely used in the United States
Street artist
Street painting
Street theatre
External links
Busking in the Big Apple, New York City (Video) [39]
Striving to make music under the streets of NYC [40] - article on Busking from MSNBC
Busking for Stardom [41] from LA Weekly
Notes From the Underground [42] - What busking could teach the music industry, from the Washington Monthly
Teen goes from busking to starring in The New World [43] from The London Free Press
What this town needs is a little street music [44] from the University of Washington's Office of News and
Information (
Busking Can Pay for Travel in Europe [45] from the Transitions Abroad magazine
Busking their butts [46] from the Montreal Mirror
Suggs Busking [47] from BBC News
Rod Stewart Busking [48] from The Sun
The Real Piano Man [49] from The New York Times
Busking The System [50] Documentary regarding Buskers
Busking Cancer [51] Cancer Research UK busking campaign
Virtual Busking [52] New Music Distribution Model
[53] Wikihow's - Make-Money-Busking-(Street-Performing)
Busking [54] American Attitudes Toward
Street Performance
Who is Mr Punch (http:/ / www. punchandjudy. com/ bottle. htm) | University of Washington News and Information (http:/ / www. uwnews. org/ admin/ ss/ page. asp?pid=247& articleID=10422)
MTA - Arts for Transit | Music Under New York (http:/ / www. mta. nyc. ny. us/ mta/ aft/ muny/ )
SAABenFranklin (http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saahistory. html#saafranklin)
va=busker - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http:/ / www. webster. com/ cgi-bin/ dictionary?va=busker)
Merriam-Webster Online (http:/ / www. m-w. com/ cgi-bin/ wftwarch. pl?072905)
mariachi - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http:/ / www. webster. com/ dictionary/ mariachi)
The Ultimate Cigar Aficionado: Ninety-eight-year-old George Burns Shares Memories of His Life (http:/ / www. cigaraficionado. com/
Cigar/ CA_Profiles/ People_Profile/ 0,2540,3,00. html), article and interview by Cigar Aficionado Online
[9] Cohen and Greenwood 1981: 14
[10] busking (http:/ / www. pikemarketbuskers. org/ busking. html)
[11] Krickeberg 1983 : 24
[12] ibid.: 62
[13] http:/ / funandmagic. com/ decision. pdf
[14] "The Big Busk: London Busking Explained" (http:/ / www. london-insider. co. uk/ 2010/ 02/ busking-in-london-explained-guide/ ). The
London Insider. 2010-02-07. .
[15] http:/ / www. fbi. gov/ hq/ cid/ civilrights/ statutes. htm
[16] http:/ / www. kqed. org/ assets/ pdf/ arts/ programs/ spark/ 412. pdf
[17] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtGoldstein. html
[18] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtDavenport. html
[19] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtFriedrich. html
[20] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtCarewvMTA. html
[21] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtJewsforJesus. html
[22] http:/ / www. openair. org/ alerts/ artist/ ny2cir. html
[23] U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, case number 96-55545.
[24] PERRY V LAPD (http:/ / www. ca9. uscourts. gov/ coa/ newopinions. nsf/ 04485f8dcbd4e1ea882569520074e698/
[25] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saalegalCtTurleyappeal. html
[26] American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Wins Artistic Expression Lawsuit On Behalf of Waikiki Street Performers (http:/ / www. aclu. org/
freespeech/ gen/ 10909prs20011228. html)
[27] Page One: Street Performer Ban (http:/ / staugustine. com/ pageone/ street. shtml)
[28] http:/ / www. ci. st-augustine. fl. us/ pressreleases/ 3_03/ ordinance_buskers. html
[29] Matier, Phillip; Andrew Ross (April 7, 2004). "Bushman of Fisherman's Wharf Gets the last Ugga-Bugga" (http:/ / www. sfgate. com/
cgi-bin/ article. cgi?f=/ c/ a/ 2004/ 04/ 07/ BAG6P61GPA1. DTL& hw=bushman& sn=006& sc=347). San Francisco Chronicle: pp. B1. .
Retrieved 2007-02-15.
[30] The Seattle Times: Local News: Judge rejects Seattle Center rules on buskers (http:/ / seattletimes. nwsource. com/ html/ localnews/
2002250762_busker23m. html)
[31] http:/ / www. buskersadvocates. org/ saahistory. html
[32] http:/ / shadyoldlady. com/ location. php?loc=517 Sir Paul McCartney's busking admission
[33] (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=Rdbw9vun2MU)
[34] - 2005/05/01: Sting busked to improve confidence (http:/ / archives. tcm. ie/ breakingnews/ 2005/ 05/ 01/ story200567.
[35] Gene Weingarten, Pearls Before Breakfast (http:/ / www. washingtonpost. com/ wp-dyn/ content/ article/ 2007/ 04/ 04/ AR2007040401721.
html) The Washington Post, April 8, 2007 Page W10.
[36] http:/ / www. islandrecords. com/ bonjovi/ archives_atoz_b. las
[37] NPR : The Subterranean World of Peter Mulvey (http:/ / www. npr. org/ programs/ wesun/ features/ 2002/ mulvey/ )
[38] http:/ / www. dailymail. co. uk/ tvshowbiz/ article-1087685/ Its-usual-Tom-Jones-busking-streets-London. html
http:/ / www. bigapplechannel. com/ 2009/ 09/ busking-in-the-big-apple/
http:/ / www. msnbc. msn. com/ id/ 5682773/
http:/ / www. laweekly. com/ index. php?option=com_lawcontent& task=view& id=7806& Itemid=
http:/ / www. washingtonmonthly. com/ features/ 2003/ 0309. thompson. html
http:/ / lfpress. ca/ newsstand/ Today/ Entertainment/ 2006/ 01/ 20/ 1402687-sun. html
http:/ / www. uwnews. org/ admin/ ss/ page. asp?pid=247& articleID=10422
http:/ / www. transitionsabroad. com/ publications/ magazine/ 0403/ making_the_scene. shtml
http:/ / www. montrealmirror. com/ ARCHIVES/ 1997/ 092597/ cover. html
http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ entertainment/ 7539490. stm
http:/ / www. thesun. co. uk/ sol/ homepage/ showbiz/ bizarre/ article2384622. ece
http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2008/ 08/ 31/ nyregion/ thecity/ 31pian. html?_r=1
http:/ / www. buskingthesystem. com/
http:/ / www. buskingcancer. co. uk
http:/ / www. tristanwaterkeyn. co. za
http:/ / www. wikihow. com/ Make-Money-Busking-(Street-Performing)
http:/ / dallasvietty. com/ 2009/ 08/ 17/ busking-americans-dont-like-street-performing
Callback (comedy)
Callback (comedy)
A callback, in terms of comedy, is a joke which refers to one previously told in the set. The second joke is often
presented in a different context than the one which was used in the initial joke. Callbacks are usually used at or near
the end of a set, as the aim is to create the biggest laugh at the end of a comic set. The main principle behind the
callback is to make the audience feel a sense of familiarity with the subject matter, as well as with the comedian. It
helps to create audience rapport. When the second joke is told, it induces a feeling similar to that of being told a
personal or in-joke.
Example: In his monologue Dress to Kill, comedian Eddie Izzard goes into a non sequitur about Engelbert
His parents were not Mr. and Mrs. Humperdinck. They never said,
"What shall we call our son so he does not get the shit kicked out of him at school?"
“We shall call him Engelbert!"...
No, his name was Gerry Dorsey, and he released songs as Gerry Dorsey... And then his managers, obviously,
said, "We're going to change your name, Gerry! It's the name that's the problem." And his name changed from
Gerry Dorsey to Engelbert Humperdinck. I mean, I just wanted to be in the room when they were working that
one through. ...
And it worked! But he's dead now, you hear that? Yeah, today, on CNN. ... It's not true, heh. (exhales) No, it is
true. Yeah, he was L.A. Something happened. ... No, it is true. No, he was in a car in L.A. driving along and
something hit him or something like that. No no, no, he's all right, he's all right! He's fine! He's cooking, he's
jumping, he's doing his thing in L.A. - he's absolutely fine.[1]
Much later, after moving on to other topics, Izzard is telling a story about having his masculinity impugned by his
first sex partner:
It was... fucked me off, I tell you. But she's dead now, so... No, she isn't... No, she was in L.A., in a car,
with Engelbert Humperdinck, and... [2]
The joke gets a bigger laugh because it calls back to his earlier confusion about whether Engelbert Humperdinck was
dead, as well as drawing on his earlier claim that Humperdinck's name is ridiculous to make his own failure with the
woman seem more humiliating.
In television, the term callback has come to mean a joke or line that refers to a previous episode (or sometimes, in
rare cases, movies). Particularly in earlier sitcoms - though even until the early 1990s — callbacks were rare and
often frowned upon by networks, because they threaten to isolate a viewer who is new to the series, or who missed
episodes. Seinfeld was one of the first sitcoms to regularly use callbacks in its scripts, although on a level which
would often be missed or disregarded by viewers. More recently 30 Rock has employed callbacks to reference
fictitious movies and television programs created within the show. More recently, Arrested Development has become
well-known by fans for its regular use of callbacks throughout all of its episodes.[3] Of course, the line between a
callback and simple continuity can sometimes be ambiguous. The opening sequence of the season nineteen premiere
of The Simpsons calls back to the events in the movie.
Callback (comedy)
See also
• Fictional crossover
External links
• Glossary of comedy nomenclature [4]
[1] "cake or death: an eddie izzard site: DRESS TO KILL TRANSCRIPT" (http:/ / www. auntiemomo. com/ cakeordeath/ d2ktranscription.
html#englebert). . Retrieved 2009-05-11.
[2] "cake or death: an eddie izzard site: DRESS TO KILL TRANSCRIPT" (http:/ / www. auntiemomo. com/ cakeordeath/ d2ktranscription.
html#splashysplashy). . Retrieved 2009-05-11.
[3] Flynn, Gillian (2008-07-18). "TV shows on the big screen | Arrested Development | Movie News | Movies | Entertainment Weekly" (http:/ /
www. ew. com/ ew/ article/ 0,,20211793,00. html). . Retrieved 2009-05-11.
[4] http:/ / www. stand-upcomedy. com/ lib-glos. htm
Character comedy
Character comedy is a method/genre used by some comedians. In character comedy the comedian performs as
though he was a character created by him/her. A good deal of comedians have enjoyed fame from character comedy.
Famous comedians who use character comedy
Jim Carrey – In many of his films he portrays a hyper-animated maniac.
Andy Kaufman – Various characters.
George Carlin – The people he mocks and satirizes he often characterizes them himself.
Rowan Atkinson – Plays Mr. Bean.
Tim Allen – Plays a "handyman" in Home Improvement and his stand up routines.
Stephen Colbert – Plays Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report.
Sacha Baron Cohen - Plays Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, and Brüno in Da Ali G Show and the subsequent film
follow-ups: Ali G Indahouse, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of
Kazakhstan, and Brüno.
• Steve Coogan famously created several characters in his act spinning one of them, Alan Partridge into tv shows
• Sam Lloyd - Various Characters
[1] [2] [3]
A chinface, sometimes referred to as a
chinhead, chinman, or chinmonster is a
performance, usually of a comical nature,
involving someone's chin. By drawing or
attaching eyes, it gives the impression of a
distorted face when viewed upside down.
In 1964, Bob Denver performed a chin face
in the beach party film, "For Those Who
Think Young [1]".
In 1988, McEwans Lager launched a new TV ad campaign featuring 'The Chinheads', a fictional and quirky
'upside-down' rock/soul band. The award-winning TV advert was directed by Steve Barron (director of Michael
Jackson's "Billie Jean", A-Ha's "Take on Me", and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and featured the track "Something
So Real" by Scottish band, The Love Decree. A single was subsequently released in 1989 and charted nationally,
peaking at No.61 (No.1, Outselling Black Box's "Ride on Time" in Scotland).
Ben Elton's 1990 television show The Man from Auntie featured several chinface performances.
In 1993, an episode of Red Dwarf, "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", used chinface when the crew had to convince a
ship of simulants (artificially created, cyborg humanoids) that there were no humans aboard, insisting instead that the
ship was crewed by curry-based lifeforms known as "Vindaloovians".
Popular culture
Since video hosting sites have become available on the internet, chinface videos have become increasingly common.
In the mid–1990s, Kraft Canada released TV ads for Kraft Dinner featuring various people performing chinfaces and
eating the product.
The video game You Don't Know Jack featured as an ending to Volume 4 (The Ride) footage showing part of the
hosts' faces. The character Guy Towers is portrayed as a chin face, with oversized glasses.
Disc 4 of the Jackass DVD Box Set features Chris Pontius performing a chinface of a "Latvian Gangster" during a
running of the Gumball 3000.
They Might Be Giants' first video, for their song "Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head", features one of them
doing the chinface, with a xeroxed picture of his eyes placed on his chin.
In the Atomic Brain episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike Nelson demonstrates to the 'bots a "chin face".
He says that the tradition is "fun...whimsical"; Crow counters that it is "odd and disturbing".
See also
• Puppets
• Acting
• Comedy
External links
html Bob Denver]
• Make Me King [2] - YMCA Chinface
• Chin Man [3]
• [4] - [email protected]'s chinface, 2004
http:/ / www. bobdenver. com/ Big_Screen_Bob/ For_Those_Who_Think_Young/ for_those_who_think_young. html
http:/ / www. makemeking. com/ home/ dares/ 577/ Singing_Chin. html
http:/ / www. vimeo. com/ clip=42089
http:/ / www. flat33. com/ flat33_v2/ frameset_GraficEurope1. html
Christian comedy
Christian comedy is a sub-genre of comedy where the material presented is aimed towards a Christian audience.
The performances are typically held on church grounds or at off-site, Church-sponsored venues.
The material often contains Christian references, although this is not a requirement. Recently, notable performers
like Victoria Jackson, Tim Conway, Sinbad and Patricia Heaton have appeared on a DVD series for the Christian
market entitled, "Thou Shalt Laugh"[1]
Christian comedy is increasingly being used as an outreach, with the idea that a comedy show is a great way to bring
people into church who may have never thought about coming.[2]
Christian comedy is also used as a method to renew and refresh the spirit of Church members, based on the Bible
passage that says laughter does a heart good, like medicine.[3]
Notable Christian Comedians
Dennis Swanberg
Brad Stine
Chonda Pierce
Isaac Air Freight
Mark Lowry
Bob Smiley
Victoria Jackson
John Branyan
• Daren Streblow
• Nazareth
• Jeff Allen
• Tim Hawkins
• Paul Aldrich
Christian comedy
• Taylor Mason
• Anita Renfroe
• Andy Kind (British)
[1] Thou Shalt Laugh (http:/ / thoushaltlaugh. com/ )
[2] Christian Comedians (http:/ / www. larryweaver. com/ entertainment/ christian-comedians. asp)
[3] Christian Comedy Acts (http:/ / www. christiancomedyacts. com)
City comedy
City comedy, also called Citizen Comedy, is a common genre of Elizabethan drama. It is a vague term that different
scholars use to mean slightly different things. Some usual meanings of the term include:
• Any Elizabethan comedy set in London and depicting ordinary London life. These include works which celebrate
the lives of ordinary citizens, such as Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday.
• London comedies that are specifically satirical in nature, depicting London as a hotbed of sin; in particular, some
of the comedies of Ben Jonson (The Devil is an Ass, Every Man in his Humour), Thomas Middleton (Michaelmas
Term, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside) and John Marston (Jack Drum's Entertainment).
The first city comedy is generally agreed to be Englishmen for My Money, written by William Haughton and first
performed in 1598 by the Admiral's Men. The genre soon became very popular; the intricately-plotted romantic
comedies of Shakespeare and John Lyly that had been in vogue on the public and private stages until this point were
largely supeseded by plays which were set in a recognisable contemporary London, and which dealt with, in Ben
Jonson's words, "deeds and language such as men do use" (Prologue to Every Man in his Humour).
Other notable examples of the genre are Westward Ho, Eastward Ho, Northward Ho, and Greene's Tu Quoque.
The city comedy can be considered a forerunner of the comedy of manners.
It is worth noting that although Shakespeare continued to write plays during this period, the London city comedy was
a genre he conspicously avoided.
See also
• English drama
External links
• Works by Thomas Dekker [1] at Project Gutenberg
[1] http:/ / www. gutenberg. org/ author/ Thomas+ Dekker
Comedic device
Comedic device
A comedic device is used in comedy to write humor in a common structure. They can become so common that they
are difficult for writers to use without being perceived as cheesy.
List of comedic devices
Double entendre
A double entendre is a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. The first, literal meaning is an
innocent one, while the second meaning is often ironic or risqué and requires the hearer to have some additional
A hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated or extravagant. It may be used due to strong
feelings or is used to create a strong impression and is not meant to be taken literally.
Mistaken identity
The mistaken identity of twins is a centuries old comedic device used by Shakespeare in several of his works. The
mistake can be either an intended act of deception or an accident. Modern examples include The Parent Trap, The
Truth About Cats and Dogs', Sister, Sister, and the films of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
It is a popular perception that the monocle can easily fall off with the wrong facial expression. As a comedic device,
an upper-class gentleman drops his monocle when he makes a shocked expression. The monocle falls into the
gentleman's drink, smashes into pieces on the floor, etc.
Prank call
A prank call is a form of practical joke committed over the telephone. Prank calls range from annoying hang-ups to
false calls to emergency services or bomb threats.
A pun consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases for humorous effect, whether humorous or
serious. A pun can rely on the assumed equivalency of multiple similar words (homonymy), of different shades of
meaning of one word (polysemy), or of a literal meaning with a metaphor. Bad puns are often considered to be
Overstatement and Understatement
Overstatement and understatement can be used to emphasize a belief, for example, a low vote in a referendum: "How
many people voted for this?" "about naught".
Juxtaposition is about turning a common misconception about something on its head. For example "My wife.. it's the
same every night. 'when are you going to paint the kitchen?' 'when are you going to paint the kitchen?' every bloody
night. 'when are you going to paint the kitchen?'. I've told her about 10 times now, and she still hasn't done it". In this
Comedic device
case, until the punch-line, it is assumed that the woman is giving the orders to the man. There is also an element of
profanity in the joke, since it employs sexism.
Comedians such as Stephen Wright and Emo Phillips were masters of this. A basic example is "what's two plus two?
fish". The device usually employs the use of non-sequiturs.
There is a liberating element to saying something that nobody else would say in a civilised environment. Being
disgusting or politically wrong in front of an audience can surprise and shock an audience. e.g. jokes about
Funny Numbers
A more specific extension to understatement and overstatement, the choice of number when emphasising a quantity
can be made funny by use of rarely used numbers. "four" is funnier than "seven" in understatement. This is because
"four" is a less commonly thought of number, and can surprise an audience.
The lowest forms of humour are repetition, toilet humour, sarcasm, and repetition. Repetition is the basis for
"Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsman" jokes, where repetition is used to set up a modus operandi before the
Irishman (usually assumed to be the stupid one) provides the juxtaposition.
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated physical violence. Slapstick was heavily used by Buster Keaton,
Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, the Keystone Kops, the Three Stooges. Slapstick is also common in animated
cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes.
See also
• Joke
• Practical joke device
• Switcheroo
External links
• Classroom connections [1] – describes mistaken twins as a comedic device
• Comic Devices and Conventions [2] – analysis of comedic devices used in The Swaggering Soldier
[1] http:/ / www. shakespearetheatre. org/ _pdf/ first_folio/ folio_COE_activities. pdf
[2] http:/ / depthome. brooklyn. cuny. edu/ classics/ dunkle/ milesgl/ comicdvs. htm
Comedy club
Comedy club
A comedy club is a venue, typically a nightclub, bar, or restaurant where people watch or listen to performances,
including stand-up comedians, improvisational comedians, impersonators, magicians, ventriloquists and other
comedy acts. The term "comedy club" usually refers to venues that feature standup comedy, as distinguished from
improv theaters that host improv or sketch comedy and variety clubs that may also host musical acts.
List of comedy clubs
This list is incomplete.
Bananas Comedy Club
Catch a Rising Star
Cobb's Comedy Club
Coconuts Comedy Club
Comix Comedy Nightclub
Comedy Cellar
Comedy Club Russia
EastVille Comedy Club
The Funny Bone
Gotham Comedy Club
Governors Comedy Club
Ha! Comedy Club N.Y.C.
The Comedy Shoppe
The Comedy Store
The Comedy Club Asia
The Comedy Zone
The Comic Strip Live
The Improv
The Laugh Factory
The Rivercenter Comedy Club
Laughing Cows Comedy Night
The Punchline
Rascals Comedy Club
The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
The Laff Stop
Side Splitters Comedy Club
The Stress Factory
Helium Comedy Club
Yuk Yuk's
Comedy club
List of improv theaters
This list is incomplete.
The Groundlings
The Second City
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
The Comedy Zone (improv)
Dad's Garage Theatre Company
Comedy festival
A comedy festival is a celebration of comedy with many shows, venues, comedy performers (such as stand up
comics, sketch troupes, variety performers, etc.) and is held over a specific block of time. Normally, each festival has
a diverse range of comedy themes and genres.
Some comedy festivals are the Edinburgh Fringe[1], the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, FunnyFest
Calgary Comedy Festival, Cologne Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs, the Iowa Comedy Festival, Winnipeg Fringe
Theatre Festival, the HK International Comedy Festival, the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival and the New
Zealand International Comedy Festival.
See also
• List of improvisational theater festivals
[1] http:/ / thestage. co. uk/ news/ newsstory. php/ 20913/ comedy-overtakes-theatre-in-edinburgh
Comedy of humours
Comedy of humours
The comedy of humours refers to a genre of dramatic comedy that focuses on a character or range of characters,
each of whom has one overriding trait or 'humour' that dominates their personality and conduct. This comic
technique may be found in Aristophanes, but the English playwrights Ben Jonson and George Chapman popularized
the genre in the closing years of the sixteenth century. In the later half of the seventeenth century, it was combined
with the comedy of manners in Restoration comedy.
In Jonson’s Every Man in His Humour (acted 1598), which made
this type of play popular, all the words and acts of Kitely are
controlled by an overpowering suspicion that his wife is
unfaithful; George Downright, a country squire, must be "frank"
above all things; the country gull in town determines his every
decision by his desire to "catch on" to the manners of the city
In his Induction to Every Man out of His Humour (1599) Jonson
explains his character-formula thus:
Some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
All his affects, his spirits, and his powers,
In their confluctions, all to run one way.
The comedy of humours owes something to earlier vernacular
The four 'humours' or temperaments (Clockwise from
comedy but more to a desire to imitate the classical comedy of
top right; choleric; melancholic; sanguine; phlegmatic).
Plautus and Terence and to combat the vogue of romantic comedy,
as developed by William Shakespeare. The satiric purpose of the
comedy of humours and its realistic method lead to more serious character studies with Jonson’s The Alchemist. The
humours each had associated physical and mental characteristics; the result was a system that was quite subtle in its
capacity for describing types of personality.
Comedy of menace
Comedy of menace
Comedy of menace is a term used to describe the plays of David Campton, Nigel Dennis, N. F. Simpson, and
Harold Pinter by drama critic Irving Wardle, borrowed from the subtitle of Campton's play The Lunatic View: A
Comedy of Menace, in reviewing Pinter's and Campton's plays in Encore in 1958. (Campton's subtitle Comedy of
Menace is a jocular play-on-words derived from comedy of manners—menace being manners pronounced with
somewhat of a Judeo-English accent.)[1]
Citing Wardle's original publications in Encore magazine (1958), Susan Hollis Merritt points out that in "Comedy of
Menace" Wardle "first applies this label to Pinter's work … describ[ing] Pinter as one of 'several playwrights who
have been tentatively lumped together as the "non-naturalists" or "abstractionists" ' (28)" (Merritt 225). His article
"Comedy of Menace," Merritt continues,
centers on The Birthday Party because it is the only play of Pinter's that Wardle had seen [and reviewed]
at the time, yet he speculates on the basis of "descriptions of [Pinter's] other plays, 'The Room' and 'The
Dumb Waiter', [that Pinter] is a writer dogged by one image—the womb" (33). Mentioning the
acknowledged "literary influences" on Pinter's work—"Beckett, Kafka and American gangster
films"—Wardle argues that " 'The Birthday Party' exemplifies the type of comic menace which gave rise
to this article." (225)[2]
In "Comedy of Menace", as Merritt observes, on the basis of his experience of The Birthday Party and others'
accounts of the other two plays, Wardle proposes that "Comedy enables the committed agents and victims of
destruction to come on and off duty; to joke about the situation while oiling a revolver; to display absurd or
endearing features behind their masks of implacable resolution; to meet … in paper hats for a game of blind man's
buff"; he suggests how "menace" in Pinter's plays "stands for something more substantial: destiny," and that destiny,
"handled in this way—not as an austere exercise in classicism, but as an incurable disease which one forgets about
most of the time and whose lethal reminders may take the form of a joke—is an apt dramatic motif for an age of
conditioned behaviour in which orthodox man is a willing collaborator in his own destruction" (Wardle, "Comedy of
Menace" 33; rpt. in The Encore Reader 91).
"Just two years later" (1960), however, Wardle retracted "Comedy of Menace" in his review of The Caretaker,
stating: "On the strength of 'The Birthday Party' and the pair of one-acters, I rashly applied the phrase 'comedy of
menace' to Pinter's writing. I now take it back" ("There's Music" 130, as qtd. in Merritt 225–26).
After Wardle's retraction of comedy of menace as he had applied it to Pinter's writing, Pinter himself also
occasionally disavowed it and questioned its relevance to his work (as he also did with his own offhand but apt
statement that his plays are about "the weasel under the cocktail cabinet"). For example, in December 1971, in his
interview with Pinter about Old Times, Mel Gussow recalled that "After The Homecoming [Pinter] said that [he]
'couldn't any longer stay in the room with this bunch of people who opened doors and came in and went out.
Landscape and Silence [the two short poetic memory plays that were written between The Homecoming and Old
Times] are in a very different form. There isn't any menace at all.' " Later, when Gussow asked Pinter to expand on
his view that he had "tired" of "menace", Pinter added: "when I said that I was tired of menace, I was using a word
that I didn't coin. I never thought of menace myself. It was called 'comedy of menace' quite a long time ago [1958]. I
never stuck categories on myself, or on any of us [playwrights]. But if what I understand the word menace to mean is
certain elements that I have employed in the past in the shape of a particular play, then I don't think it's worthy of
much more exploration" (Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 18, 24).
Despite Wardle's retraction of comedy of menace (and Pinter's later qualifications), Comedy of menace and comedies
of menace caught on and have been prevalent since the late 1950s in advertisements and in critical accounts, notices,
Comedy of menace
and reviews to describe Pinter's early plays and some of his later work as well.[1] As Merritt points out, among other
examples of critics' usage of this and similar categories of Pinter's work, after Gussow's 1971 "conversation" with
Pinter, "Though he echoes Wardle's concept, Gussow seems to avoid using comedy of menace when reviewing the
CSC Repertory Theatre's 1988 production of The Birthday Party. While still emphasizing Pinter's 'terrors' and the
'shiver beneath the laughter,' Gussow describes the play as 'a play of intrigue, with an underlying motif of betrayal'
… [and] [Bernard F.] Dukore calls the play 'a comedy (of menace or otherwise)' … (Merritt 10).
Selected examples from Pinter's plays and sketches
The Birthday Party (1958)
In discussing the first production of Pinter's first full-length play, The Birthday Party (1958), which followed his first
play, The Room (1957), his authorised official biographer Michael Billington points out that Wardle "once
excellently" described its setting (paraphrasing Wardle), as "a banal living-room [which] opens up to the horrors of
modern history" (Billington 86).
The Dumb Waiter (1960)
In his second one-act play, The Dumb Waiter (1960), as accentuated through the 2008 film by Martin McDonagh
closely resembling and markedly influenced by it, In Bruges, "Pinter conveys the idea of political terror through the
staccato rhythms of music-hall cross-talk and the urban thriller: Hackney Empire cross-fertilises with Hemingway's
The Killers [1927]" (Billington 90), one of Pinter's own acknowledged early influences, along with Franz Kafka
(348–49); Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists, such as William Shakespeare, John Webster, and Cyril Tourneur,
whose work his schoolmaster Joseph Brearley had introduced to him; Samuel Beckett (mostly his novels [43]); and
black-and-white American movies of the 1940s and 1950s.[3]
"A near-perfect play about the testiness of a collapsing partnership and the divide-and-rule tactics of authority,"
according to Billington, The Dumb Waiter focuses on two characters, Gus and Ben; Gus is "the man who questions
the agreed system and who is ultimately destroyed by his quest for meaning"; Ben, "the man who blindly obeys
orders and thereby places himself at risk. (If the system can arbitrarily dispose of his partner, why not of him?)" (92).
As Pinter's The Dumb Waiter has been categorised as a "comedy of menace," so may be McDonagh's In Bruges, as it
closely resembles it; yet, despite the comedy and the sense of threat growing out of the menace, these works of
Pinter and McDonagh are, in Pinter's words to Billington, also "doing something which can be described as political"
(92). At the same time, [Pinter] had – and still [in 1996 through to the time of his death in 2008] has – an acute sense
of the fragility of earthly happiness and of the terrors that haunt us even from infancy" (92).
The "punning title" of The Dumb Waiter, Billington observes, "carries several layers of meaning": "It obviously
refers to the antique serving-hatch that despatches [sic] ever more grotesque orders for food to these bickering
gunment"—the dumbwaiter; "But it also applies to Gus, who, troubled by the nature of the mission [their next job as
hitmen] to realise he is its chosen target; or, indeed to Ben, who, by his total obedience to a higher authority that
forces him to eliminate his partner, exposes his own vulnerability" (89). As Gus "dumbly" awaits his fate, he may be
a subservient partner who awaits orders from the "senior partner" Ben, but Ben too is subservient to The Powers That
Be, a contemporary variation on Deus ex machina, manipulating both the mechanical dumbwaiter and them through
its increasingly extravagant and thus comically inconvenient "orders" for increasingly exotic dishes, unnerving both
of them.
Billington adds:
This being Pinter, the play has a metaphorical openness. You can interpret it as an Absurdist comedy – a
kind of Godot in Birmingham – about two men passing the time in a universe without meaning or
purpose. You can see it as a cry of protest against a whimsically cruel God who treats man as His
plaything – even the twelve matches that are mysteriously pushed under the door have been invested
with religious significance [by critics]. But it makes much more sense if seen as a play about the
Comedy of menace
dynamics of power and the nature of partnership. Ben and Gus are both victims of some unseen
authority and a surrogate married couple quarrelling, testing, talking past each other and raking over old
times. (90)
The comedy in this "comedy of menace" often derives from such arguments between Gus and Ben, especially the
one that occurs when "Ben tells Gus to go and light the kettle," a "semantic nit-picking that is a standard part of
music-hall comedy": "All the great stage and film double acts – Jewel and Warriss, Abbott and Costello – fall into
this kind of verbal worrying in which the bullying 'male' straight man issues instructions which are questioned by the
more literal-minded 'female' partner" —
GUS: Light what?
BEN: The kettle.
GUS: You mean the gas.
BEN: Who does?
GUS: You do.
BEN: (his eyes narrowing): What do you mean, I mean the gas?
GUS: Well, that's what you mean, don't you? The gas.
BEN: (Powerfully): If I say go and light the kettle I mean go and light the kettle.
GUS: How can you light a kettle?
BEN: It's a figure of speech! Light the kettle. It's a figure of speech! (Qtd. in Billington 90–91)
As Billington observes further,
This kind of comic pedantry has precise echoes of the great Sid Field – ironically [since the city is the
setting of this play] a Birmingham comic – who had a famous sketch in which he played a virgin of the
greens being hectored by Jerry Desmonde's golf pro who would cry, in exasperation, 'When I say
"Slowly Back" I don't mean "Slowly Back", I mean "Slowly Back." ' At another moment, the bullying
pro would tell the hapless Sid to get behind the ball and he would vainly protest 'But it's behind all round
it'. But, where in a music-hall sketch this kind of semantic by-play was its own justification, in Pinter it
becomes a crucial part of the power-structure. … The pay-off comes when Gus, having dogmatically
insisted that the accurate phrase is 'put on the kettle', suddenly finds an irritated Ben adopting the right
usage. (91)
"Everything" in The Dumb Waiter, Billington observes, "contributes towards a necessary end"; for, "the image, as
Pete says in [Pinter's only novel] The Dwarfs, stands in exact correspondence and relation to the idea" (91). In this
example, the central image and central metaphor, the dumbwaiter, while "despatching ever more unlikely orders,"
serves as "both a visual gag and a metaphor for manipulative authority" (91), and therein lies its menace. When Ben
instructs Gus verbally, while practicing their "routine" for killing their next victim, he leaves out the most important
line, which instructs Gus to "take out" his "gun" (Pinter, The Dumb Waiter 114–15):
"BEN frowns and presses his forehead.
GUS. You've missed something out.
BEN. I know. What? GUS. I haven't taken my gun out, according to you.
BEN. You take your gun out—
GUS. After I've closed the door.
BEN. After you've closed the door.
GUS. You've never missed that out before, you know that?
(Pinter, The Dumb Waiter 116)
The crucial significance of the omission becomes clear only at the very end of the play, when "Gus enters through
the door stage-right – the one marked for the intended victim – stripped of his gun and holster"; it becomes clear that
he is going to be "Ben's target" (Billington 92), as Ben's "revolver [is] levelled at the door", though the play ends
before Ben fires any shot (Pinter, The Dumb Waiter 121).
Comedy of menace
The Caretaker (1960)
In an entry on Pinter for the 1969 edition of The Encyclopedia of World Drama cited by Merritt, Wardle repeats and
updates some of his first perspective on comedy of menace as he had applied it initially to Pinter's writing:
Early in his writing career Pinter admitted to three influences: Franz Kafka, American gangster films,
and Samuel Beckett. . . . At that time his plays, more than those of any other plawright's [sic], were
responsible for the newly coined term 'comedy of menace.' This phrase certainly makes sense when
applied to The Birthday Party . . . or to The Dumb Waiter. . . . But 'menace' is hardly the word for The
Caretaker, and still less for subsequent plays in which Pinter increasingly exchanged his derelict settings
and down-and-out characters for environments of moneyed elegance (657–58). (Qtd. in Merritt 240)
Despite those more-recent caveats regarding applying the phrase that he himself initially coined for Pinter's writing
to The Caretaker—only the second of Pinter's full-length plays produced by then and the one that launched his
career as a successful playwright in 1960 (Merritt 9, 226) —and to Pinter's later plays, scenes in both acts of The
Caretaker in which Mick confronts an unsuspecting Davies and scares him almost speechless (Pinter, The Caretaker
129, 146) also epitomise how comedy and menace still co-exist in Pinter's text and on Pinter's stage.
The comic aspects of this play multiply, reaching a crescendo in Mick's monologue in Act Two describing his
"deepest wishes" for decorating the attic room (161, 173) and falling with Davies, a tramp taken in out of the cold by
his brother, suggesting that "if" he can "just get down to Sidcup" to get his "papers" and "sort" himself "out"
(113–16, 164), his refrain and excuse for everything (153, 175–79), he might just be able to accomplish Mick's
hyperbolic pipe dream and "decorate the attic room out for [Mick]" (164), leading Mick to accuse Davies of
misrepresenting himself as "an experienced first-class professional interior and exterior decorator" (172–74), an
absurd conclusion, given the tangible evidence of the down-and-out Davies before Mick (and the audience).
Pinter's friend the late film and stage director David Jones, who directed the play for the Roundabout Theatre, in
New York City, in 2003 (having previously directed Pinter's 1983 film of Betrayal, as well as other works by or
featuring him), reminds his audience that Pinter himself said, in a widely-quoted statement, that The Caretaker is
only "funny, up to a point" and that "beyond that point" is why he wrote it:
There is always mischief lurking in the darkest corners. The world of The Caretaker is a bleak one, its
characters damaged and lonely. But they are all going to survive. And in their dance to that end they
show a frenetic vitality and a wry sense of the ridiculous that balance heartache and laughter. Funny, but
not too funny. As Pinter wrote, back in 1960: "As far as I am concerned The Caretaker IS funny, up to a
point. Beyond that point, it ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point that I wrote it." (Jones)
"Beyond the point" of the comedy (the "funny") lies the scary territory that threatens one's very existence (Billington
92), which Wardle and others commonly have "labeled" or "pigeonholed" (depending on one's perspective) as
"menace" (Merritt 9–10).
Pinter's later plays
Though "comedy of menace" is generally applied to Pinter's early work of the late 1950s through the middle of the
1960s, including The Collection (1961), The Lover (1963), Tea Party (1965, 1968), and The Homecoming (1965),
even Pinter's late plays, like Ashes to Ashes (1996) and Celebration (2000), his last two full-length stage plays,
exhibit his characteristic amalgam of the comic and the menacing, a sense of threat or impending doom; there is less
comedy and more menace in Ashes to Ashes, in which heavy echoes of the Holocaust predominate; a more comedy
than menace in Celebration, where heightened comic dialogue outweighs the frightening undercurrents of terror, the
terrifying, or the terrible.
Celebration (2000)
While reviewers and other audience members describe Celebration as hilarious ("one of Pinter's funniest plays",
according to Billington [404]), the nature of the relationships of two sets of diners (three couples) having dinner in
an upscale restaurant (which some critics assume that Pinter modeled on The Ivy, in London's West End) – "this is
Comedy of menace
the best and most expensive restaurant in the whole of Europe" (Pinter, Celebration 364) – remains characteristically
ambiguous; Billington describes one set of couples as "a strangely rootless bunch with a depleted sense of family"
One set (the two couples seated at Table One) consists of brothers Lambert and Matt and their wives, Prue and Julie,
who are sisters; the second set of diners (the couple seated at Table Two) consists of a banker and his young wife,
Suki, who comically turns out to have had an affair with Lambert when she was 18 (Billington 104).
As the "maître d'hôtel" emits platitudes geared to elevate the nouveaux riches in their own imagined esteem ("I
believe the concept of this restaurant rests in that public house of my childhood" [Pinter, Celebration 371]), the
"maîtress d'hôtel" appears to dwell on a peculiar past family and sex life (373–74), while the Waiter engages in
"interjections" spinning fantasied impossible memories of a grandfather who knew writers, other artists, and various
other public figures of multiple decades and geographical locations too far apart to have been experienced personally
in one man's lifetime (367, 375).
Lambert and Matt reveal themselves to be rather uncouth bullies ("Teddy boys", according to some London
Lambert's mobile phone rings.
LAMBERT Who the fuck's this?
He switches it on.
LAMBERT (cont.) Yes? What? (He listens briefly.) I said no calls! It's my fucking wedding
He switches it off.
LAMBERT (cont.) Cunt.
(Pinter, Celebration 364)—
who describe themselves as "consultants … Strategy consultants. … It means we don't carry guns. … We don't have
to! … We're peaceful strategy consultants. … Worldwide. Keeping the peace (379). Strategy consultant could be a
euphemistic catchall for warmonger, manager of terrorism, purveyor of counter-terrorism, or orderer of covert
As the banker Russell interprets their explanation, peaceful strategy consultants seems vaguely menacing: "We need
more people like you. Taking responsibility. Taking charge. Keeping the peace. Enforcing the peace. Enforcing
peace. We need more like you" (379). This speech stressing "force" (in the repetitions of Enforcing) occurs after
Russell has already revealed his own ilk:
Look at me. I'm basically a totally disordered personality; some people would describe me as a
psychopath. (to Suki) Am I right?
RUSSELL But when I'm sitting in this restaurant I suddenly find I have no psychopathic tendencies at
all. I don't feel like killing everyone in sight, I don't feel like putting a bomb under everyone's arse. I feel
something quite different, I have a sense of equilibrium, of harmony, I love my fellow diners. Now this
is very unusual for me. Normally I feel—as I've just said—absoute malice and hatred towards everyone
within spitting distance—but here I feel love. How do you explain it?
SUKI It's the ambience. (370–71)
Lambert and Matt are distantly reminiscent of Gus and Ben from The Dumb Waiter; but distinctly less polite while
living much higher on the hog. One imagines such characters "strategically" plotting the "peaceful" rendition of
others without any qualms while sipping Perrier and simultaneously planning their next wedding-anniversary dinner
celebration (perhaps with a different set of wives) on their mobiles.
As the Waiter says in his apparently-penultimate "interjection", in which one might detect intimations of mortality:
Comedy of menace
My grandfather introduced me to the mystery of life and I'm still in the middle of it. I can't find the door
to get out. My grandfather got out of it. He left it behind him and he didn't look back.
He got that absolutely right.
And I'd like to make one further interjection.
He stands still.
Slow fade.
"Apart From That" (Sketch) (2006)
Pinter mocks mobile phones comically in an ostensibly-trivial wireless conversation, while still suggesting a residual
bit of menace in the unsaid, developed as his last revue sketch Apart From That (2006). As Billington observes, this
dramatic sketch inspired by Pinter's strong aversion to mobile phones is "very funny", but "as two people trade
banalities over their mobile phones[,] there is a hint of something ominous and unspoken behind the clichéd chat"
(429), as illustrated in the following excerpt:
Two people on mobile phones.
How are you?
Very well. And you? Are you well?
I'm terribly well. How about you?
Really well. I'm really well.
I'm so glad.
Apart from ... oh you know ...
I know.
Apart from ... oh you know ...
I do know. But apart from that ...?
How about you?
Oh you know ... all things considered ...
I know. But apart from that ...?
Sorry. I've lost you.
[....] ("Apart From That" 5–6)
Comedy of menace
See also
Comedy of manners
Film noir
Music hall
Theatre of the Absurd
Works cited
Billington, Michael. Harold Pinter. 1996. Rev. ed. London: Faber and Faber, 2007. ISBN 9780571234769
(13). [Updated 2nd ed. of The Life and Work of Harold Pinter. 1996. London: Faber and Faber, 1997. ISBN
0571171036 (10).]
Gussow, Mel. Conversations with Pinter. London: Nick Hern Books, 1994. ISBN 1854592017. Rpt. New
York: Limelight, 2004. ISBN 0879101792.
Jones, David. "Travels with Harold" [4]. Front & Center Online ("The Online Version of Roundabout Theatre
Company's Subscriber Magazine"). Roundabout Theatre Company, Fall 2003. (3 pages.) Web. 9 Oct. 2007.
Merritt, Susan Hollis. Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter. 1990. Rpt. with a new
preface. Durham and London: Duke UP, 1995. ISBN 0822316749 (10). ISBN 9780822316749 (13).
Pinter, Harold. "Apart From That". Areté 20 (Spring/Summer 2006): 5–8.
–––. The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, and Celebration. In The Essential Pinter. New York: Grove Press,
2006. ISBN 0802142699 (10). ISBN 9780802142696. (Parenthetical references to this edition of the three
plays appear in the text.)
–––. The Caretaker and The Dumb Waiter: Two Plays by Harold Pinter. 1960. New York: Grove Press, 1988.
ISBN 080215087x (10). ISBN 9780802150875 (13). (Parenthetical citations to The Dumb Waiter in the text
are from this ed. of the play, which is accessible online via Google Books "limited preview". [It was reissued
again with a new cover after Pinter won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.)
Wardle, Irving. "The Birthday Party". Encore 5 (July–Aug. 1958): 39–40. Rpt. in The Encore Reader: A
Chronicle of the New Drama. Ed. Charles Marowitz, Tom Milne, and Owen Hale. London: Methuen, 1965.
76–78. (Reissued as: New Theatre Voices of the Fifties and Sixties. London: Eyre Methuen, 1981.)
–––. "Comedy of Menace". Encore 5 (Sept. – Oct. 1958): 28–33. Rpt. in The Encore Reader and New Theatre
Voices 86–91.
–––. "There's Music in That Room". Encore 7 (July–Aug. 1960): 32–34. Rpt. in The Encore Reader and New
Theatre Voices 129–32.
Comedy of menace
External links
• "Plays by Harold Pinter" [5] at The Official Website of the International Playwright Harold
Pinter (Index of Harold Pinter's plays; includes dates of composition and productions).
[1] See Merritt 5, 9–10, 225–28, 240, 310, and 326, citing articles by Wardle, Gussow's Conversations with Pinter, and various performance
reviews by Wardle, Gussow, and others.
[2] Cf. Billington 106.
[3] See Wardle, "Comedy of Menace" 33, as qtd. in Merritt 225.
[4] http:/ / roundabouttheater. org/ fc/ fall03/ jones. htm
[5] http:/ / www. haroldpinter. org/ plays/ index. shtml
Comedy rock
Comedy rock
Comedy rock
Stylistic origins
Comedy, rock
Cultural origins
United States
Typical instruments
Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Drum kit - Vocals
Major, especially since "Weird Al" began parodying popular rock songs.
Mock metal
Local scenes
Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA.
Comedy rock is a term used to describe rock music that is mixed with satire or other forms of comedy. This
tradition can be traced back to the earliest days of rock and roll itself, the most notable early examples being Stan
Freberg who lampooned artists such as Elvis Presley and The Platters, and Sheb Wooley whose "Purple People
Eater" hit #1 on the Billboard pop charts in 1958 and stayed there 6 weeks.[1]
Some comedy rock artists, such as Frank Zappa, Tenacious D, and more recently, Flight of the Conchords create
songs with amusing, witty, and/or over-the-top lyrics. Other acts such as Dread Zeppelin, Beatallica, and GWAR
rely more on gimmicks such as outrageous costumes or mixing genres for comic effect.
Many mainstream rock bands are known to incorporate comedy songs in their work: Bloodhound Gang, Blink-182,
Bowling For Soup, Reel Big Fish, Sublime, Primus, System of a Down and The Presidents of the United States of
Rock has been the target of many spoofs and several spoof bands have gone on to have actual hit records, a good
example would be The Hee Bee Gee Bees and subsequently Spinal Tap in the U.S., and Bad News in the U.K.. The
most successful parody artist is "Weird Al" Yankovic who is now in his fourth decade of creating song parodies and
has sold more than 12 million albums (more than any comedy act in history).[2]
Punk rock has made its contribution to the comedy rock ranks, with such bands as Dead Milkmen, The Aquabats and
The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. Sid Vicious' covering "My Way" is comedy rock of a more sardonic sort.
The virtual band Dethklok is death metal spoof featured in the Adult Swim animated program Metalocalypse[3] and
their album entitled The Dethalbum debuted at #21 on the Billboard Top 200 list[4]
The band Steel Panther, formerly known as Metal Skool, has become a fixture on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip with
their spoof of 80's glam metal[5] and their success has opened the doors for other Hollywood spoof bands such as
The Jimi Homeless Experience.[6]
In Los Angeles, Peter Axel Prins who calls himself The Rock Father of Comedy[7] is a popular comedian combining
humor with music. His song The Ballad of Tiger Woods[8] done in a Bloodhound Gang Style parody of Jingle Bells
is a popular viral video on YouTube.
In Israel, the band Ha'Shovavim is one of the most famous active comedy rock bands.
In Brazil, Mamonas Assassinas sold more than 2 million copies in only 8 months, setting a record. Mamonas
Assassinas was, and still is, one of the most famous Brazilian bands.
In Italy, comedy rock groups are Elio e le Storie Tese, Skiantos and I Vincisgrassi.
In Chile, the band Los Mox! has its own style defined as "Hueveo-core", something like the comedy rock
Comedy rock
In Uruguay, El Cuarteto de Nos mixes up rock music with hilarious rap-like lyrics.
In Mexico, Botellita de Jeréz self titled "Guacarock" (from guacamole and rock) can be considered comedy rock.
In Russia, Nogu Svelo! is one of the most popular rock bands experimenting with humor and comedy.
In Spain, Mojinos Escozíos is one the most famous comedy rock bands, and so are El Reno Renardo and Mama
In Greece, To plokami tou karharia and Anorimi are some of the most famous comedy rock bands.
[1] Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number. Billboard Books. p. 38.
ISBN 0823076776.
[2] Harrington, Richard (2007-08-10). "Weird Al's Imitation: A Funky Form of Flattery" (http:/ / www. washingtonpost. com/ wp-dyn/ content/
article/ 2007/ 08/ 09/ AR2007080900305. html). Washington Post. . Retrieved 2007-08-10.
[3] (http:/ / allmusic. com/ cg/ amg. dll?p=amg& sql=11:knfuxqqdld6e~T1)
[4] " Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200 (http:/ / sickdrummer. com/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=642&
Itemid=2)" Oct. 9, 2007
[5] "Feeling The Steel Panther: Interview with Michael Starr" (http:/ / www. theaquarian. com/ 2009/ 10/ 04/
interview-steel-panther-michael-starr-feeling-the-steel/ ). Nightlife. The Aquarian Weekly. 2009-10-04. . Retrieved 2009-10-10.
[6] Official Press Release (http:/ / www. jimihomeless. com/ pressrelease001. html)
[7] "YouTube - iampeterprins's Channel" (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ iampeterprins). YouTube. Palo Alto, California, USA: Google Inc. .
Retrieved 2010-04-20.
[8] "The Ballad of Tiger Woods" (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=rLkNEZELoxw). YouTube. Palo Alto, California, USA: Google Inc. .
Retrieved 2010-04-20.
Comedy of errors
A comedy of errors is dramatic work (often a play) that is light and often humorous or satirical in tone, in which the
action usually features a series of comic instances of mistaken identity, and which typically culminates in a happy
resolution of the thematic conflict.[1] [2]
Satire and farce
A slight variation of the "Comedy of Errors" discipline is Farcical theatre, which revolves around humour caused by
the foolish mistakes of unintelligent characters and the chaos that derives from it. Examples of farcical comedies
include Fawlty Towers and Men Behaving Badly, both from British Sitcom.
In Shakespeare
William Shakespeare wrote such a play which he entitled The Comedy of Errors.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is another well-known Shakespearean example of a comedy of errors.
On television
Many modern television situation comedies use comedy of errors as a standard plot device, often in every episode.
Three's Company is considered a classic example of such a sitcom.
Many episodes of the American Sitcom Frasier exemplify the qualities of this sort of comedy.
Comedy of errors
[1] "Meaning in Comedy: Studies in Elizabethan Romantic Comedy" by John Weld, SUNY Press, 1975, ISBN 0873952782, 9780873952781,
pgs 154-55 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=ZvSPZgvSPFgC& pg=PA154& dq=Comedy+ of+ errors+ definition& lr=& as_brr=3&
ei=vscvS4fWG5fsygTf0NHUBA& cd=4#v=onepage& q=Comedy of errors definition& f=false)
[2] "Tragedy and tragicomedy in the plays of John Webster" by Jacqueline Pearson, Manchester University Press ND, 1980, ISBN 0719007860,
9780719007866, pg 13 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=TiMNAQAAIAAJ& pg=PA13& dq=Comedy+ of+ errors+ definition+
terminology& lr=& as_brr=3& ei=DcovS4CUF5q4yASgk9GsBA& cd=2#v=onepage& q=Comedy of errors definition terminology& f=false)
Comedy of manners
The comedy of manners is a genre of play which satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often
represented by stock characters, such as the miles gloriosus in ancient times, the fop and the rake during the
Restoration, or an old person pretending to be young. The plot of the comedy, often concerned with an illicit love
affair or some other scandal, is generally less important than its witty and often bawdy dialogue.
The comedy of manners was first developed in the new comedy of the Ancient Greek playwright Menander. His
style, elaborate plots, and stock characters were imitated by the Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence, whose
comedies were widely known and copied during the Renaissance. The best-known comedies of manners, however,
may well be those of the French playwright Molière, who satirized the hypocrisy and pretension of the ancien régime
in such plays as L'École des femmes (The School for Wives, 1662), Le Misanthrope (The Misanthrope, 1666), and
most famously Tartuffe (1664).
English drama
In England, William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing might be considered the first comedy of manners, but
the genre really flourished during the Restoration period. Restoration comedy, which was influenced by Ben Jonson's
comedy of humours, made fun of affected wit and acquired follies of the time. The masterpieces of the genre were
the plays of William Wycherley (The Country Wife, 1675) and William Congreve (The Way of the World, 1700). In
the late 18th century Oliver Goldsmith (She Stoops to Conquer, 1773) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (The Rivals,
1775; The School for Scandal, 1777) revived the form.
The tradition of elaborate, artificial plotting and epigrammatic dialogue was carried on by the Irish playwright Oscar
Wilde in Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). In the 20th century, the
comedy of manners reappeared in the plays of the British dramatists Noel Coward (Hay Fever, 1925) and Somerset
Maugham and the novels of P.G. Wodehouse, as well as various British sitcoms. The Carry On films are a direct
descendant of the comedy of manners style.
Twentieth-century examples
The term comedy of menace, which British drama critic Irving Wardle based on the subtitle of The Lunatic View: A
Comedy of Menace (1958), by David Campton, is a jocular play-on-words derived from the "comedy of manners"
(menace being manners pronounced with somewhat of a Judeo-English accent).[1] Pinter's play The Homecoming has
been described as a mid-twentieth-century "comedy of manners".[1]
In Boston Marriage (1999), David Mamet chronicles a sexual relationship between two women, one of whom has
her eye on yet another young woman (who never appears, but who is the target of a seduction scheme). Periodically,
the two women make their serving woman the butt of haughty jokes, serving to point up the satire on class. Though
displaying the verbal dexterity one associates with both the playwright and the genre, the patina of wit occasionally
erupts into shocking crudity.
Comedy of manners
Other contemporary examples include Douglas Carter Beane's As Bees in Honey Drown, The Country Club and The
Little Dog Laughed.
• David Campton [2], Samuel French London.
[1] Susan Hollis Merritt, Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter (Durham & London, 1990: Duke UP, 1995) 5, 9–10,
225–28, 240.
[2] http:/ / www. samuelfrench-london. co. uk/ sf/ Pages/ feature/ campton. html
Comic science fiction
Comic science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that exploits the genre's conventions for comic effect. Comic
science fiction often mocks or satirizes standard SF conventions like alien invasion of earth, interstellar travel, or
futuristic technology.
Early pulp science fiction contained few comic stories. A notable exception was the Pete Manx series by Henry
Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes (sometimes writing together and sometimes separately, under the house pen-name of
Kelvin Kent). Published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the series featured a
time-traveling carnival barker who uses his con-man abilities to get out of trouble. Two later series cemented
Kuttner's reputation as one of the most popular, early writers of comic science fiction: the Gallegher series (about a
drunken inventor and his narcissistic robot) and the Hogben series (about a family of mutant hillbillies). The former
appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1943 and 1948 and was collected in hardcover as Robots Have No Tails
(Gnome, 1952), and the latter appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1940s.
Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and related novels
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
Robert Asprin's Phule series
Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan novels
Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat and Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers novels
Eric Idle's The Road to Mars
Stanislaw Lem's novel Cyberiad and his Ijon Tichy stories.
Most of Ron Goulart's work
Kurt Vonnegut's novel The Sirens of Titan, and a lot of his work
Snoo Wilson's novel Spaceache
The novels of Rob Grant (Colony, Incompetence and Fat).
Michael Ruben's The Sheriff of Yrnameer.
Comic science fiction
Dark Star (1974)
Ghostbusters (1984)
The Ice Pirates (1984)
Back to the Future Trilogy (1985 - 1990)
The Pink Chiquitas (1987)
Spaceballs (1987)
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Men in Black (1997)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Mutant Swinger from Mars (2003)
Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Computer and video games
• Giants: Citizen Kabuto
• Ratchet and Clank series
• Space Quest series
• Leather Goddesses of Phobos
• Earthbound series
Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles (2003–2007)
Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction (2008)
Red vs. Blue: Relocated (2009)
Red vs. Blue: Recreation (2009)
See Science fiction sitcom
Lost in Space (1965-1968)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988–1999)
Red Dwarf (1988–1999, 2009)
3rd Rock From The Sun (1996–2001)
Futurama (1999–2003, 2008-present)
Invader Zim (2001-2002, 2006)
Hyperdrive (2006-2007)
There are also any number of animated Japanese series which use a scifi-comedy or scifi-fantasy-comedy setting.
Comic science fiction
Web comics
• Starslip Crisis (2005–present)
• Schlock Mercenary (2000–present)
• Jump Leads (2007-present)
Canadia 2056 (2007-present)
Nebulous (2005-2008)
Space Hacks (2007-2008)
The Spaceship (2005-2008)
Undone (2006-2010)
Multiple media
• Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (radio, printed novels, TV series, feature film, etc.)
• Hyper Police series by Minoru Tachikawa (manga and anime).
• Gin Tama series by Hideaki Sorachi (manga and anime).
See also
• Comic fantasy
• Science fiction comic
Comic opera
Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.
Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa,
emerged as an alternative to opera seria. It quickly made its way to France, where it became opéra bouffon, and
eventually, in the following century, French operetta, with Jacques Offenbach as its most accomplished practitioner.
The influence of the Italian and French forms spread to other parts of Europe. Many countries developed their own
genres of comic opera, incorporating the Italian and French models along with their own musical traditions.
Examples include Viennese operetta, German singspiel, Spanish zarzuela, Russian comic opera, English ballad
opera, and Savoy Opera.
Italian comic opera
In late 17th-century Italy, light-hearted musical plays began to be offered as an alternative to weightier opera seria
(17th-century Italian opera based on classical mythology). Il Trespolo tutore (1679) by Alessandro Stradella
(1639–1682) was an early precursor of opera buffa. The opera has a farcical plot, and the characters of the ridiculous
guardian Trespolo and the maid Despina are prototypes of characters widely used later in the opera buffa genre.
The form began to flourish in Naples with Alessandro Scarlatti's Il trionfo dell'onore (1718). At first written in
Neapolitan dialect, these works became "Italianized" with the operas of Scarlatti, Pergolesi (La serva padrona),
Piccinni (La Cecchina), Cimarosa (Il matrimonio segreto), and then the great comic operas of Mozart and, later,
At first, comic operas were generally presented as intermezzos between acts of more serious works. Neapolitan and
then Italian comic opera grew into an independent form and became the most popular form of staged entertainment
in Italy from about 1750 to 1800. In 1749, thirteen years after Pergolesi's death, his La serva padrona swept Italy and
Comic opera
France, evoking the praise of such French Enlightenment luminaries as Rousseau.
In 1760, Niccolò Piccinni wrote the music to La Cecchina to a text by the great Venetian playwright, Carlo Goldoni.
That text was based on Samuel Richardson's popular English novel, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740). Many years
later, Verdi called La Cecchina the "first true Italian comic opera" – that is to say, it had everything: it was in
standard Italian and not in dialect; it was no longer simply an intermezzo, but rather an independent piece; it had a
real story that people liked; it had dramatic variety; and, musically, it had strong melodies and even strong
supporting orchestral parts, including a strong "stand-alone" overture (i.e., you could even enjoy the overture as an
independent orchestral piece). Verdi was also enthusiastic because the music was by a southern Italian and the text
by a northerner, which appealed to Verdi's pan-Italian vision.
The genre was developed further in the 19th century by Gioacchino Rossini in his masterpieces such as The Barber
of Seville (1816) and La Cenerentola (1817).
French opéra comique and opérette
French composers eagerly seized upon the Italian model and made it their own, calling it opéra comique. Early
proponents included François-Adrien Boïeldieu (1775–1834), Daniel François Auber (1782–1871) and Adolphe
Adam (1803–1856). Although originally reserved for less serious works, the term opéra comique came to refer to
any opera that included spoken dialogue, including works such as Bizet's Carmen that are not "comic" in any sense
of the word.
Florimond Hervé (1825–1892) is credited as the inventor of French opéra bouffe, or opérette.[1] Working on the
same model, Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880) quickly surpassed him, writing over ninety operettas. Whereas earlier
French comic operas had a mixture of sentiment and humour, Offenbach's works were intended solely to amuse.
Though generally well crafted and full of humorous satire and grand opera parodies, plots and characters in his
works were often interchangeable. Given the frenetic pace at which he worked, Offenbach sometimes used the same
material in more than one opera. Another Frenchman who took up this form was Charles Lecocq.
German singspiel and Viennese operetta
The singspiel developed in 18th-century Vienna and spread throughout Austria and Germany. As in the French
opéra comique, the singspiel was an opera with spoken dialogue, and usually a comic subject, such as Mozart's The
Abduction from the Seraglio (1782). Later singspiels, such as Beethoven's Fidelio and Weber's Der Freischütz,
retained the form, but explored more serious subjects
19th century Viennese operetta was built on both the singspiel and the French model. Franz von Suppé (1819–1895)
is remembered mainly for his overtures. Johann Strauss II (1825–1899), the "waltz king", contributed Die
Fledermaus (1874) and The Gypsy Baron (1885). Karl Millöcker (1842-1899) a long-time conductor at the Theater
an der Wien, also composed some of the most popular Viennese operettas of the late 19th century, including Der
Bettelstudent (1882), Gasparone (1884) and Der arme Jonathan (1890).
After the turn of the 20th century, Franz Lehár (1870–1948) wrote The Merry Widow (1905); and Oscar Straus
(1870–1954) supplied Ein Walzertraum ("A Waltz Dream", 1907) and The Chocolate Soldier (1908).
Spanish zarzuela
Zarzuela, introduced in Spain in the 17th century, is rooted in popular Spanish traditional musical theatre. It
alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incorporating dances, with chorus numbers and humorous
scenes that are usually duets. These works are relatively short, and ticket prices were often low, to appeal to the
general public. There are two main forms of zarzuela: Baroque zarzuela (c.1630–1750), the earliest style, and
Romantic zarzuela (c.1850–1950), which can be further divided into the two subgenres of género grande and género
Comic opera
Pedro Calderón de la Barca was the first playwright to adopt the term zarzuela for his work entitled El golfo de las
sirenas ("The Gulf of the Sirens", 1657). Lope de Vega soon wrote a work titled La selva sin amor, drama con
orquesta ("The Loveless Jungle, A Drama with Orchestra"). The instruments orchestra was hidden from the
audience, the actors sang in harmony, and the musical composition itself was intended to evoke an emotional
response. Some of these early pieces were lost, but Los celos hacen estrellas ("Jealousies Turn Into Stars") by Juan
Hidalgo and Juan Vélez, which premiered in 1672, survives and gives us some sense of what the genre was like in
the 17th century.
In the 18th century, the Italian operatic style influenced Zarzuela. But beginning with the reign of Bourbon King
Charles III, anti-Italian sentiment increased. Zarzuela returned to its roots in popular Spanish tradition in works such
as the sainetes (or Entr'actes) of Don Ramón de la Cruz. This author's first work in this genre was Las segadoras de
Vallecas ("The Reapers of Vallecas", 1768), with music by Rodríguez de Hita.
Single act zarzuelas were classified as género chico (the "little genre" or "little form") and zarzuelas of three or more
acts were género grande (the "big genre" or "big form"). Zarzuela grande battled on at the Teatro de la Zarzuela de
Madrid, but with little success and light attendance. In spite of this, in 1873 a new theater, the Apolo, was opened for
zarzuela grande, which shared the failures of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, until it was forced to change its program to
género chico.
English light opera
England traces its light opera tradition to the ballad opera, typically a comic play that incorporated songs set to
popular tunes. John Gay's The Beggar's Opera was the earliest and most popular of these. Richard Brinsley
Sheridan's La Duenna (1775), with a score by Thomas Linley, was expressly described as "a comic opera".[2] [3]
By the second half of the 19th century, the London musical stage was dominated by pantomime and musical
burlesque, as well as bawdy, badly translated continental operettas, often including "ballets" featuring much prurient
interest, and visiting the theatre became distasteful to the respectable public, especially women and children. Mr. and
Mrs. Thomas German Reed, beginning in 1855, and a number of other Britons, deplored the risqué state of musical
theatre and introduced short comic operas designed to be more family-friendly and to elevate the intellectual level of
musical entertainments. Jessie Bond wrote, The stage was at a low ebb, Elizabethan glories and Georgian
artificialities had alike faded into the past, stilted tragedy and vulgar farce were all the would-be playgoer had to
choose from, and the theatre had become a place of evil repute to the righteous British householder.... A first effort
to bridge the gap was made by the German Reed Entertainers.[4]
Nevertheless, an 1867 production of Offenbach's The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (seven months after its French
première) ignited the English appetite for light operas with more carefully crafted librettos and scores, and
continental European operettas continued to be extremely popular in Britain in the 1860s and '70s, including Les
Cloches de Corneville, Madame Favart and others into the 1880s, often adapted by H. B. Farnie and Robert
Reece.[3] F. C. Burnand collaborated with several composers, including Arthur Sullivan in Cox and Box, to write
several comic operas on English themes in the 1860s and 1870s.
In 1875, Richard D'Oyly Carte, one of the impresarios aiming to establish an English school of family-friendly light
opera by composers such as Frederic Clay and Edward Solomon as a countermeasure to the continental operettas,
commissioned Clay's collaborator, W. S. Gilbert, and the promising young composer, Arthur Sullivan, to write a
short one-act opera that would serve as an afterpiece to Offenbach's La Périchole. The result was Trial by Jury; its
success launched the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership. "Mr. R. D'Oyly Carte's Opera Bouffe Company" took Trial on
tour, playing it alongside French works by Offenbach and Alexandre Charles Lecocq. Eager to liberate the English
stage from risqué French influences, and emboldened by the success of Trial by Jury, Carte formed a syndicate in
1877 to perform "light opera of a legitimate kind".[5] Gilbert and Sullivan were commissioned to write a new comic
opera, The Sorcerer, starting the series that came to be known as the Savoy Operas (named for the Savoy Theatre,
which Carte later built for these works) that included H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado,
Comic opera
which became popular around the world. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company continued to perform Gilbert and
Sullivan almost continuously until it closed in 1982.
The Gilbert and Sullivan style was widely imitated by their contemporaries (for example, in Dorothy), and the
creators themselves wrote works in this style with other collaborators in the 1990s. None of these, however, had
lasting popularity, leaving the Savoy Operas as practically the sole representatives of the genre surviving today. Only
recently, some of these other English light operas have begun to be explored by scholars and to receive performances
and recordings.
Russian comic opera
The first opera presented in Russia, in 1731, was a comic opera (or "commedia per musica"), Calandro, by an Italian
composer, Giovanni Alberto Ristori. It was followed by the comic operas of other Italians, like Galuppi and
Cimarosa, and also the Belgian/French composer Grétry.
The first Russian comic opera was Anyuta (1772). The text was written by Mikhail Popov, with music by an
unknown composer, consisting of a selection of popular songs specified in the libretto. Another successful comic
opera, Melnik – koldun, obmanshchik i svat ("The Miller who was a Wizard, a Cheat and a Match-maker"', text by
Alexander Ablesimov, Moscow, 1779), on a subject resembling Rousseau's Devin, is attributed to Mikhail
Sokolovsky. Ivan Kerzelli, Vasily Pashkevich and Yevstigney Fomin also wrote a series of successful comic operas
in the 18th century.
In the 19th century, Russian comic opera was further developed by Alexey Verstovsky who composed more 30
opera-vaudevilles and 6 grand operas (most of them with spoken dialogue). Later, Modest Mussorgsky worked on
two comic operas, The Fair at Sorochyntsi and Zhenit'ba ("The Marriage"), which he left unfinished (they were
completed only in 20th century). Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote a comic opera, Cherevichki (after Nikolai Gogol, 1885,
1887 Moscow). Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed May Night 1878–1879 and The Golden Cockerel 1906–1907.
In the 20th century, the best examples of comic opera by Russian composers were Igor Stravinsky's Mavra (1922)
and The Rake's Progress (1951), Sergey Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges (1919) and Betrothal in a
Monastery (1940–1941), and Dmitri Shostakovich's The Nose (1928, staged 1930). Simultaneously, the genres of
light music, operetta, musical comedy, and later, rock opera, were developed by such composers as Isaak
Dunayevsky, Nikolai Strelnikov, Yuri Milyutin, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Dmitri Shostakovich (Opus 105: Moscow,
Cheryomushki, operetta in 3 acts, (1958)), Tikhon Khrennikov, and later by Gennady Gladkov, Alexey Rybnikov,
and Alexander Zhurbin.
The 21st century in Russian comic opera began with the noisy premieres of two works whose genre could be
described as "opera-farce":
Tsar Demyan (Царь Демьян) – A frightful opera performance. A collective project of five authors wrote the work:
Leonid Desyatnikov and Vyacheslav Gaivoronsky from St. Petersburg, Iraida Yusupova and Vladimir Nikolayev
from Moscow, and the creative collective "Kompozitor", which is a pseudonym for the well-known music critic
Pyotr Pospelov. The libretto is by Elena Polenova, based on a folk-drama, Tsar Maksimilyan, and the work
premiered on June 20, 2001 at the Mariinski Theatre, St Petersburg. Prize "Gold Mask, 2002" and "Gold Soffit,
Rosenthal's Children (Дети Розенталя), an opera in two acts by Leonid Desyatnikov, with a libretto by Vladimir
Sorokin. This work was commissioned by the Bolshoi theatre and premiered on March 23, 2005. The staging of the
opera was accompanied by juicy scandal; however it was an enormous success.
Comic opera
North American operetta
In the United States, Victor Herbert (1859–1924) was one of the first to pick up the family-friendly style of light
opera that Gilbert and Sullivan had made popular, although his music was also influenced by the European operetta
composers. His earliest pieces, starting with Prince Ananias in 1894, were styled "comic operas," but his later works
were described as "musical extravaganza", "musical comedy", "musical play", "musical farce", and even "opera
comique." His two most successful pieces, out of more than half a dozen hits, were Babes in Toyland (1903) and
Naughty Marietta (1910)[6]
Others who wrote in a similar vein included Reginald de Koven (1859–1920), John Philip Sousa (1854–1932),
Sigmund Romberg and Rudolf Friml. The modern American musical incorporated elements of the British and
American light operas, with works like Show Boat and Porgy and Bess that explored more serious subjects and
featured a tight integration among book, movement and lyrics.
In Canada, Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann and George Frederick Cameron composed in the Gilbert and Sullivan style of
light opera. Leo, the Royal Cadet was performed for the first time on 11 July 1889 at Martin's Opera House in
Kingston, Ontario.
The line between light opera and other recent forms is difficult to draw. Several works are variously called operettas
or musicals, such as Candide and Sweeney Todd, depending on whether they are performed in opera houses or in
theaters. In addition, some recent American and British musicals make use of an operatic structure, for example,
containing recurring motifs, and may even be sung through without dialogue. Those with orchestral scores are
usually styled "musicals", while those played on electronic instruments are often styled rock operas.
See also
• Opera
• Musical Theatre
External links
• site with information about operettas, light operas and their composers [7]
Thuleen, Nancy. "Serious and Comic Opera in Eighteenth-Century Italy." Website Article. 6 December 1991. [8] essay on Russian comic opera [9]
Comic Opera Guild site, includes light opera information about translations, orchestrations, festivals, recordings,
etc. [10]
[1] Operette001 (http:/ / www. theatrehistory. com/ french/ operette001. html) at, accessed 4 January 2009
[2] "The Duenna" (http:/ / www. iment. com/ maida/ familytree/ henry/ music/ duenna. htm), Mary S. Van Deusen, accessed 4 January 2009
[3] Gillan, Don. "The Origins of Comic Opera" (http:/ / www. stagebeauty. net/ th-musop. html) at the stagebeauty website, accessed 4 January
[4] Bond, Jessie. Introduction to Jessie Bond's Reminiscences (http:/ / diamond. boisestate. edu/ gas/ books/ bond/ introduction. htm) reprinted at
The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, accessed 7 November 2009
[5] Stone, David. "Richard D'Oyly Carte", (http:/ / diamond. boisestate. edu/ gas/ whowaswho/ C/ CarteRichardD'Oyly. htm) Who Was Who in
the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, accessed 4 January 2009
[6] "Victor Herbert" (http:/ / musicaltheatreguide. com/ composers/ herbert_victor/ victorherbert. html) at the Musical Theatre Guide, accessed 4
January 2009
[7] http:/ / www. musicaltheatreguide. com/ mainmenu. htm
[8] http:/ / www. nthuleen. com/ papers/ M52opera. html
[9] http:/ / www. vor. ru/ English/ treasures/ Treasures_5. html
[10] http:/ / www-personal. umich. edu/ ~mgillett/ coghome. htm
Comic timing
Comic timing
Comic timing is use of rhythm and tempo to enhance comedy and humour. The pacing of the delivery of a joke has
a strong impact on its comic effect; the same is also true of more physical comedy such as slapstick.
A beat is a pause taken for the purposes of comic timing, often to allow the audience time to recognize the joke and
react, or to heighten the suspense before delivery of the expected punch line. Pauses can be used to discern subtext or
even unconscious content — that is, what the speaker is really thinking about.
Jack Benny and Victor Borge are two comedians famed for using the extended beat, allowing the pause itself to
become a source of humour beyond the original joke. George Carlin and Rowan Atkinson are two other stand-up
comedians well known for superior timing.
Examples of comedians who employ comic timing
Bea Arthur
"Her ability to detonate a joke, to momentarily harness a punch line before releasing at full force, brought her
Emmy-winning success in two groundbreaking sitcoms - Norman Lear's 1970s classic Maude and The Golden
Girls." -- Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2009[1]
George Carlin
Carlin's most famous routine was his "Seven Words You Can't Say On Television", in which much of the humour is
derived from a sudden, rapid-fire delivery of the seven words (see link). The remainder of the routine was a
mock-scholarly analysis of why these words are not as bad as the world would have us believe. Here, comic timing
is used again as Carlin moved from the rapid list to a more reasoned — but nonetheless funny — dissection of the
Rowan Atkinson
Atkinson is another example of timing in this regard. His "No One Called Jones" routine involves his reading a class
roll of students at what we can assume is an exclusive English boarding school. In one version of this routine, each
name is a double entendre. In this sort of routine, it is very important to use beats, as simply racing through the list
would spoil the effect of many of the jokes.
Victor Borge
Commonly recognized as the master of comic timing, Danish-American comedian Victor Borge provides even more
examples of this art. Much of his routine involved references to particular pieces of classical music, opera and
composers. Having learned English as a second language, Borge was known for frequently playing around with its
conventions. A prime example is his question to his audience, "Is there anyone who would like to hear the famous
Polonaise in A Flat by Chopin?" After hearing the inevitable calls of "Yes, yes", Borge would respond, "Very well,
is there anyone here who can play it?" Another famous line is his explanation for the third foot pedal on a grand
piano — "The pedal in the middle is there to separate the other two pedals...(beat)...which could be a problem for
those of you who have three feet."
Borge, therefore, builds his audience up to the joke, but only delivers the actual punchline when he is fully aware
that they are silent and prepared to hear it. His famous "Inflationary Language" routine demonstrates the other side
of this statement. In this routine, Borge adds one to every "number in the language", (making "wonderful" into
"two-derful" and so on) and his "Phonetic Punctuation" routine, wherein he assigns a sound to every punctuation
mark. These routines then consist of Borge reading a story under one of these systems. The comic timing is seen by
Comic timing
the way that he reads alternately slowly and rapidly, in keeping with the action of the story.
Margaret Cho
In addition to the uses mentioned above, a beat can serve to allow the laughter to die down after a punch line so that
an unexpected second and even funnier punch line can be delivered. One example from Margaret Cho's repertoire is
the following: "I performed at the only gay bar in all of Scotland. It was called CC Bloom's. CC Bloom is the name
of the character Bette Midler played in Beaches. That is the gayest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. They
should just call it Fuck Me Up The Ass" (laughter) (pause) "...Bar and Grill."
Sacha Baron Cohen
In his mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the
character Borat is coached on the importance of comic timing. He is to state "That suit is black (pause) NOT!"
However, he does it with both no pause, with too long a pause, and even the word "pause."
Slapstick timing
Comic timing can also be seen in the more physical forms of comedy as well. Every slapstick comedian from Charlie
Chaplin onwards has relied on the physical joke being made at just the right time. The bucket of water never falls
until the audience has built up for it to just the right level.
The farce is another prime example of comic timing. Here, the humour is derived both from rapid speech and rapid
movement — people running into and out of rooms at breakneck speed and managing to cause havoc in the process
as done to perfection in the series Fawlty Towers.
Pregnant pause
A pregnant pause (as in the classical definition, "many possibilities") is a technique of comic timing used to
accentuate a comedy element, where the comic pauses at the end of a phrase to build up suspense. It's often used at
the end of a comically awkward statement or in the silence after a seemingly non-comic phrase to build up a
comeback. Refined by Jack Benny, the pregnant pause has become a staple of stand-up comedy.
See also
• Timing (linguistics)
[1] http:/ / www. knoxville. com/ news/ 2009/ apr/ 27/ bea-arthur-obit-coming-timing/
Concert saloon
Concert saloon
The concert saloon was an American copy of the English music hall, and the forerunner of the variety and
vaudeville theater. As in the music hall, alcohol was served. The entertainment at the saloon was to hold the
imbiber's attention, so they would imbibe more.
The fact that the concert saloons featured a kind of particularly tawdry, low-end theatre as well as liquor and
the new fad of "waiter girls"--and, in the minds of many, prostitution--was too much for many so-called
respectable people to bear. As late as 1881, Nym Crinkle would point out, "they serve as the gathering places
for idle and vicious people to drink beer, listen to execrable music, make assignations, and parade in the
dirtiest market those common charms which they have to sell." [The Concert saloon's] reputations continued to
be bad as long as they existed.
Zellers, Parker R. (Dec., 1968). "The Cradle of Variety: The Concert Saloon". Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 20,
No. 4, 578-585
[1] McNamara, Brooks (2002). The New York Concert Saloon: The Devil's Own Nights. Cambridge University Press. (ISBN 9780521814782 |
ISBN 0521814782)
Cringe comedy
Cringe comedy is a comedy genre that uses offensive or vulgar material or awkward and embarrassing situations to
cause audiences to be repulsed or feel uneasy. The audience will often laugh out of nervousness. Comedians who
rely on this style of humor are often described as controversial; however, it is a burgeoning field of comedy, and has
been popularized by comedians such as Ricky Gervais and Jim Norton.
On film
Humor based on uncomfortable situations, e. g. cringe humor, is not a new concept, but its recent flowering has deep
roots. One can point to black comedy as the likely origin of the concept, as it is often intended to provoke a similar
response. A movement toward this style of comedy began in earnest with the films and television show of Monty
Python. Their film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life is generally considered to be a masterpiece of the genre.
Countless films employing this style of comedy were made during the 1980s and 1990s (examples include There's
Something About Mary, among many others). Unlike how it has evolved on television, cringe comedy in film is
based more on scatology than on social embarrassment. One notable exception is the film Borat. Others include the
films of independent filmmaker Todd Solondz.
On television
Cringe humor has followed a different path on television. TV standards do not allow the sort of explicit gags as do
movies (cable programs such as Jackass, The Ren and Stimpy Show, South Park, the work of Tom Green as well as
many of the MTV-type shows such as Punk'd are exceptions). Practitioners of cringe humor on the small screen have
tended to focus more on embarrassing social situations, as a result of said standards, as well as the controversy that
some of these shows have attracted. Although it is rarely acknowledged as a part of this genre, one of the early
shows that frequently employed this approach was Frasier, whose titular character's travails with romance often
involved intricate and extraordinarily humiliating denouements. The label has been applied most frequently to the
Cringe comedy
original (BBC) version of The Office. The series often captures excruciating moments in the lives of employees of a
Slough-based paper firm, including, but not limited to, overheard conversations that suddenly become explicit in
nature, office party dances so bad they literally leave the viewers speechless, and, frequently, boss David Brent's
inability to censor himself or even understand that he is being offensive. This approach can also be seen in Gervais's
more recent series, Extras, although Gervais's character is generally the straight man in the show. One also finds
frequent examples of this in the Larry David-created series Curb Your Enthusiasm. David stars as a version of
himself who is unable to censor his feelings and does not believe that he should have to follow social rules he does
not like, but also feels that everybody should follow the social rules he likes (which he usually invents himself). The
result is often unfortunate--nearly every episode ends in humiliation for Larry. This is a style that was previously
used in popular UK sitcom I'm Alan Partridge in which the main character Alan Partridge, portrayed by Steve
Coogan seemed inept at being able to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself and constantly spoke his mind. The
critically-acclaimed Peep Show, took a different slant on this, by actually showing the audience the character's
thoughts, often their most embarrassing and awkward ones.
Larry David had begun to explore the bounds of traits generally regarded as socially unacceptable years earlier with
a character loosely based on himself, George Costanza on Seinfeld, which he had co-created and served as an
executive producer. Costanza's character storylines often revolved around extreme selfishness and blatant disregard
of others, but portrayed more explicitly than David's Curb Your Enthusiasm version of himself.
Another show which can be closely identified with this trend is Da Ali G Show. Sacha Baron Cohen's crossover UK
hit often features cringe comedy. This can be seen with two characters in particular: Borat, whose frequent
anti-Semitic and misogynistic remarks generally make the audience uneasy (but often not the subjects of the
interviews) and Bruno, whose extravagant homosexuality often drives his subjects' homophobia to the surface. The
central character on the show, Ali G, often says things that are cringe-worthy in their stupidity, but whether his
material can be considered "cringe comedy" is debatable.[1]
In comedy
Some examples of comedians who often use cringe comedy:
Jimmy Carr
Tom Green
Opie & Anthony
Jim Norton
Bill Burr
Humiliation comedy
Since the 1990s a popular sub-genre of cringe comedy that has arisen is humiliation comedy, which is typified by the
works of actor Ben Stiller. Humiliation comedy emphasizes the degradation of sympathetic characters typically in a
slapstick, physical way (mostly self-imposed) which serves only to generate cringing laughs rather than advance a
story line. While many comedies employ the humiliation of characters with physical slapstick, the device is used as
part of the cathartic experience in the storyline. For example, in Revenge of the Nerds, the antagonist mean-spirited
jocks reject and humiliate the protagonist lovable nerds, and the nerds avenge themselves by humiliating the jocks.
In this example, humiliation is a device which helps advance the storyline of antagonist vs. protagonist. An example
of humiliation comedy is There's Something About Mary where the protagonist Ted Stroehmann often serves as his
own antagonist, and his self-imposed, bumbling physical tortures serve only to solicit laughs from a cringing effect,
and they do little to develop the character or advance the storyline. Other examples include Meet The Parents, Meet
the Fockers, and Along Came Polly.
Cringe comedy
[1] (http:/ / www. disbealig. com/ )
Customer review comedy
Customer review comedy is a genre of comedy — humorous reviews by customers on websites such as Amazon.
Examples include Tuscan Whole Milk and the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt.[1]
[1] Steve Johnson (29 June 2009), How Gut-Busting Customer Reviews Can Help Take A Product To the Top of the Sales Charts (http:/ / www.
youngmoney. com/ business_planning/ Customer-reviews-top-sales-charts/ ), Young Money,
Deadpan is a form of comic delivery in which humour is presented without a change in emotion or body language,
usually speaking in a casual, monotone or very serious, solemn, matter-of-fact voice and expressing an unflappably
calm, archly insincere or artificially grave demeanor.
The term "deadpan" first emerged as an adjective or adverb in the 1920s, as a compound word combining "dead" and
"pan" (a slang term for the face). It was first recorded as a noun in Vanity Fair in 1927; a dead pan was thus 'a face
or facial expression displaying no emotion, animation, or humour'. The verb deadpan 'to speak, act, or utter in a
deadpan manner; to maintain a dead pan' rose in the early 40s. It stems from journalism rather than theatre. Today its
use is especially common in humour from the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand. It is also very much appreciated in France, South Africa and Finland.
Many popular American sitcoms also use deadpan expressions, most notably Arrested Development and Seinfeld.
Dry humour is often confused with highbrow or egghead humour. Although these forms of humour are often dry, the
term dry humour actually only refers to the method of delivery, not necessarily the content.
Deadpan violence
A subtype of deadpan is deadpan violence.
Deadpan violence is used to describe a sentence, group of sentences, phrase or action that involves someone
threatening or reacting to violence in an unemotional, detached way that comes across as jaded and blasé. This may
be done to create a comic effect, by being out of place and in an unrealistic context.
A classic example of deadpan violence as humour occurs in one of the variations on Monty Python's skit "Cheese
Shop". After a long and civil discussion, Mousebender tells the cheese merchant "I'm going to ask you that question
['Do you have any cheese?'] once more, and if you say 'no' I'm going to shoot you through the head. Now, do you
have any cheese at all?" The merchant responds with a casual "no" and Mousebender shoots him through the head.
Another example is in the 1993 film Falling Down, in which the main character William Foster (played by Michael
Douglas) is insulted by a man who has been waiting to use the phone booth previously occupied by Foster. He voices
his irritation at Foster's prolonged use of the booth by saying "People have been waiting to use the phone." Foster
responds to this by saying, "Well, you know what?", and using a submachine gun to destroy the phone, adds, "I think
it's out of order."
Usage examples
Quentin Tarantino's black comedy and deadpan violence is used in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.[1]
Deadpan violence, stark atmosphere, and characters worthy of a pulp Faulkner.[2]
The 2003 book by Max Brooks The Zombie Survival Guide.
The "Zombie Kid Likes Turtles" video on youtube, starring a young boy who delivers the line "I like turtles" in a
deadpan manner.
Notable deadpan comedians
Stand-up comedians
Margaret Smith, American stand-up comedian.
Morgan Murphy, American stand-up comedian and writer.
Dave Allen, an Irish stand-up.
Michael Ian Black, David Wain, and Michael Showalter are the trio in the stand up act known as Stella.
Todd Barry, American stand-up comedian.
Joey Bishop, American stand-up comedian and actor.
Frankie Boyle, Scottish stand-up comedian
Garry Shandling, American stand-up and actor of The Larry Sanders Show.
Jimmy Carr, English stand-up comedian.
Jemaine Clement, New Zealand comedian, actor, musician.
Les Dawson, late English comedian; noted for his lugubrious delivery
Jack Dee, English stand-up comedian.
John Shuttleworth A character created by Graham Fellows, who incorporates deadpan humour into his music
Nathan Fielder Canadian stand-up comedian, writer and television personality.
Stewart Francis, Canadian stand-up comedian, writer and actor.
Zach Galifianakis, American stand-up comedian and actor.
Jim Gaffigan, American stand-up comedian.
Elliot Goblet, Australian comedian Jack Levi's stand-up persona
Tom Green, Canadian comedian from The Tom Green Show.
Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japanese comedian of Downtown no Gottsu Ee Kanji
Mitch Hedberg, American stand-up comedian, actor and writer.
Kevin Nealon, American stand-up comedian and actor.
Dave Hughes, Australian stand-up comedian.
Jonathan Katz, American comedian, actor and voice actor.
Stewart Lee, English stand-up comedian, writer and director.
Ted Chippington, English stand-up comedian.
Norm MacDonald, Canadian stand-up comedian, writer and actor.
Demetri Martin, American comedian, actor, and writer.
Kenny Mayne, ESPN reporter and author.
Danielle Sherring, Canadian comedian.
Felo, Chilean comedian,
Bret McKenzie, New Zealand comedian, actor, musician.
• Paul Merton, English comedian and actor, of Have I Got News for You. However, he has broken this style quite a
few times.
• Dan Mintz, American comedian and writer.
• John Moloney - English comedian.
Paul Mooney, American comedian and writer
Dylan Moran, Irish stand-up comedian.
Dave Mordal, American comedian, contestant on Last Comic Standing.
Bill Murray, American comedian and actor.
Bob Newhart, American stand-up comedian, TV and film actor, and voice actor
Seth Rogen, Canadian actor, stand-up comedian and writer.
Jackie Vernon caricatured the typically boring slide-projector presentation of vacation photos.
Steven Wright, American stand-up comedian, actor and writer.
Brian McKim, American stand-up comedian, writer and publisher of
• Buster Keaton, known as "Great Stone Face," became famous for never cracking a smile in any of his films.
Strictly speaking, his was not a deadpan approach, since his face was actually very expressive. He subtly
portrayed bemusement, anger, fear, and other emotions, but never smiled in a single one of his classic silents. In
Go West, a cowboy forces him to smile, which he does by using his fingers to pull up the sides of his mouth. The
result is a ghastly parody of a smile. Keaton also mugged, cried, laughed, and otherwise carried on in several of
his earliest silent two-reelers with Fatty Arbuckle. Keaton did smile as a closing gag in the sound films Le Roi des
Champs-Élysées (1934) and San Diego, I Love You (1944).
• Stan Laurel, of the double act Laurel and Hardy.
• Tommy Lee Jones, American actor whose style is ever present in the Men in Black films.
• John Cusack, most notably his role in Better Off Dead.
• Bill Murray. Most of his work entails him delivering overtly humourous lines with a genuine look of disinterest or
indifference on his face, particularly in later works such as Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers and The Lost
• Charles Grodin. Often delivers lines in his roles (and in interviews) in a deadpan manner. Most notably in
Midnight Run.
• Leslie Nielsen progressed from being a dramatic actor in films such as The Poseidon Adventure to a comedic
actor due in large part to his seriousness in delivering nonsensical lines in movies such as Airplane! ("Surely you
can't be serious!" "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.") and The Naked Gun series.
• Peter Sellers, most famously for his role as the United States President (as well as Dr. Strangelove, and Captain
Mandrake) in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and his portrayal of bumbling French police inspector Jacques
• Ben Stein, who was originally a university professor, found a new career as a comedy actor by exploiting the
stereotype of the dull academic.
• Christopher Walken is best known for his deadpan affect and off-key pauses, which is most notable in films such
as Pulp Fiction and True Romance, as well as in his many appearances on Saturday Night Live, specifically in his
role as Bruce Dickinson in the More Cowbell sketch.
• Chevy Chase, known for his roles as Ty Webb in Caddyshack and Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's
• Zooey Deschanel, known for comedic deadpan roles in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Failure to
• Kamal Hasan, Indian actor and comedian known for his many Tamil language comedy films.
Amanda Bynes, comedic actress and star of sitcom What I Like About You.
Bea Arthur, comedic actress and star of Maude and The Golden Girls.
Clive Anderson, UK television presenter, host of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Jason Bateman known for his role as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development
Jack Benny and Johnny Carson were famous for their "takes," blank stares toward the camera in response (or
nonresponse) to something funny that had just happened.
Mike Birbiglia, from Comedy Central and This American Life
Steve Carell, from The Office television series.
Michael Ian Black
John Cleese, in Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Graham Chapman, also in Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie of HBO's Flight of the Conchords heavily incorporate straightfaced
expressions in response to jokes into their comedic and musical routines on the show.
Steve Coogan, British comedian and actor best known for his character, Alan Partridge
Emily Deschanel, known for her comedic deadpan role as Dr. Temperance Brennan in Fox's Bones
David Duchovny is famous for his deadpan humour; it can be seen in such TV series as Californication.
Sacha Baron Cohen, in Da Ali G Show.
Stephen Colbert is an American comedian, satirist, actor and writer, known for his deadpan comedic delivery.
Peter Cook, pioneering British comedian of stage, screen, and script.
Estelle Getty, best known for performing on the TV series The Golden Girls.
Topher Grace, known for his role as Eric Forman on the sitcom That '70s Show.
Tom Green on MTV's The Tom Green Show.
Chelsea Handler in E!'s Chelsea Lately.
Leigh Hart (also known as "That Guy"), most famous for New Zealand television show Moon TV, employs an
Andrew Levy in Fox News's Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld.
Lee Mack English stand-up comedian and actor.
Colin Mochrie is famous for his deadpan humour in such TV series as Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
Kenny Mayne, SportsCenter anchor.
Rick Mercer, in This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Talking to Americans (by making outlandish claims about
Daria Morgendorffer, protagonist of the MTV cartoon Daria.
Christopher Morris The alter ego of Chris Morris portrayed on Brass Eye, a satirical news investigation show in
which the most hysterical headlines and stories are told completely seriously.
Bob Newhart is known for his deadpan delivery and his slight stammer, featured on The Bob Newhart Show and
Newhart, and in classic standup routines.
The Office, BBC comedy co-written and co-directed by Steve Merchant and Ricky Gervais, and starring Ricky
Pat Paulsen spoke in a blank monotone with heavy eyelids, usually opening with, "Good evening, I'm really
excited to be here."
Chris Parnell displays his deadpan delivery as Dr. Leo Spaceman on the NBC comedy 30 Rock.
Anne Robinson, of The Weakest Link known for acerbic remarks.
Mo Rocca.
Martin Starr, best known for the character of Bill Haverchuck on the TV series Freaks and Geeks.
• Ed Sullivan, host of The Ed Sullivan Show.
• Jeremy Piven, known for the character of Ari Gold on Entourage.
• The radio and television comedy team of Bob and Ray were known for their straightlaced portrayals of absurd
• Justin Kirk, best known for his portrayal of Andy Botwin on Showtime's Weeds
• Henry Gibson, best known for his many roles in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. His performance as Martin Short's
harried supermarket manager, Mr. Wormwood, in the sci-fi/comedy film Innerspace is a deadpan classic.
Fictional characters
Agent Smith in The Matrix'.
Shizuka Dômeki in xxxHolic
Brock Samson in The Venture Bros..
Alfred Pennyworth in Batman (Pre-90's)
Chloe O'Brian in 24.
Wednesday Addams and Morticia Addams in the 1990s films: The Addams Family and Addams Family Values
Chandler Bing, portrayed by Matthew Perry from the show Friends
Edmund Blackadder, played by British comedian Rowan Atkinson.
Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, whose catchphrase, "You're already dead" is ironic because of his deadly
technique that can make fighters literally explode.
Tim Canterbury, played by Martin Freeman, in The Office
Father Ted Crilly, lead character in popular Irish sitcom Father Ted, played by Dermot Morgan
Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski, on The Office
Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane, from Daria
Mac in Green Wing
Enid from Ghost World
Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
Hank Hill from King of the Hill
Droopy, the low-key animated movie character created by Tex Avery.
Holly, the ship's computer in Red Dwarf, played by Norman Lovett and later by Hattie Hayridge.
Brent Leroy, played by Brent Butt, in the television series Corner Gas.
FBI agent Fox Mulder, as portrayed by David Duchovny, in the television series The X-Files.
Noah Bennet, portrayed by Jack Coleman, in the television series Heroes expresses subtle lines of dry humour.
Coleman is known by fellow castmates for his dry wit.
Niles, the butler from The Nanny, played by Daniel Davis.
Rick Spleen, played by Jack Dee, in Lead Balloon
Jade Curtiss, from Tales of the Abyss.
George Feeny, from Boy Meets World, played by William Daniels.
Mokka from Magical Starsign
Carlton the Doorman, off-camera persona from the TV show Rhoda.
Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman from Arrested Development.
Willow Rosenberg, played by Alyson Hannigan, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when she becomes herself's
vampire doppelgänger or when she becomes an evil witch.
Yukishiro Tomoe in the manga-version of Rurouni Kenshin
Kwame in Captain Planet and the Planeteers
The Janitor, played by Neil Flynn, in the NBC television series Scrubs
Takashi Takeda/Jumbo, from Yotsuba&!.
GLaDOS from the video game Portal
• Logan Echolls in Veronica Mars.
• Almost the entire cast of Gilmore Girls.
Almost the entire cast of Home Movies.
Huey Freeman from the comic and TV series, The Boondocks.
Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Hoban "Wash" Washburne from Firefly and Serenity
Craig Tucker.
Mr. Grumpy, from The Mr. Men Show.
Hauclir, from Chronicles of Malus Darkblade
Kyon and Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
The Spy from Team Fortress 2.
Ceviche from Chowder
Ianto Jones from Torchwood
• Mark Twain is quoted as saying: "The humourous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact
that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it."
• Melora Creager, founder of cello-rock band Rasputina uses a form of deadpan when describing the songs she is
about to sing. One song she described as a tip on bringing back the idea of cannabalism as a source of survival for
the human race, also for bringing back western culture which is " the process of collapsing..."
• Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz musician and radio personality, as chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue was famous
for his utterly deadpan delivery of even the funniest jokes
• Sam Kekovich, an ex-VFL player who campaigns for citizens to eat lamb on Australia Day
• John Hodgman, humourist known mostly for his performances alongside Justin Long in a series of Apple ads as
well as his appearances on The Daily Show, is recognized as a deadpan comedian.
• In British sitcoms, deadpan has always been common. Sitcoms include Father Ted, Only Fools and Horses, My
Family, Red Dwarf and Not Going Out. Not Going Out is particularly famous for having entire episodes where
there is no expression change at all from any of the cast members.
• Typically the cast of modern sitcoms such as Seinfeld, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, That '70s Show, Two and a
Half Men, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Cheers, Frasier and 8 Simple Rules.
• Through its ten-year run, Friends often uses deadpan humour in its dialogue not just with the cast but also with
high-profile stars such as Sean Penn, Winona Ryder and Bruce Willis.
• Two and a Half Men utilizes a great amount of deadpan expressions from nearly every character. For the role
of Charlie Harper portrayed by Charlie Sheen, of Two and a Half Men, previously played serious and dramatic
roles before branching onto comedy, most notably the film Platoon. Co-star Jon Cryer had portrayed comical
characters with deadpan expressions in the past, with Sheen in Hot Shots.
• Gordon Strachan, renowned for his deadpan humour during interviews. Quotes attributed to Strachan have
become legendary among football supporters.
• Ethan Iverson, pianist for The Bad Plus, whose song introductions are often filled with non-sequiturs and are
delivered deadpan.
See also
• Unintentional humour
External links
• A blog discussion on Dry Humour [3]
[1] http:/ / video. barnesandnoble. com/ search/ product. asp?z=y& EAN=786936161564& pwb=1
[2] http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0809307146/
[3] http:/ / edonn. com/ archives/ 2003/ 12/ dry/
Double entendre
A double entendre (French pronunciation: [dublɑ̃tɑ̃dʁə])
or adianoeta[1] is a figure of speech in which a spoken
phrase is devised to be understood in either of two
ways. Often the first meaning is straightforward, while
the second meaning is less so: often risqué,
inappropriate, or ironic.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a double
entendre as especially being used to "convey an
indelicate meaning". It is often used to express
potentially offensive opinions without the risks of
explicitly doing so.
A double entendre may exploit puns to convey the
second meaning. Double entendres tend to rely more on
multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations
of the same primary meaning; they often exploit
ambiguity and may be used to introduce it deliberately
in a text.
An 1814 engraving of a double entendre. He: "My sweet honey, I
hope you are to be let with the Lodgins!" She: "No, sir, I am to be let
A person who is not familiar with the hidden or
alternative meaning of a sentence may fail to detect its
innuendos, aside from observing that others find it
humorous for no apparent reason. Perhaps because it is not offensive to those who don't recognize it, innuendo is
often used in sitcoms and other comedy considered suitable for children, who may enjoy the comedy while oblivious
to its second meanings. Innuendo can also be used to make socially acceptable sexual humor. Shakespeare's play
Much Ado About Nothing used this ploy to present a surface level description of the play as well as a pun on the
Elizabethan use of "nothing" as slang for sexual relations.
A triple entendre is a rare variation of a double entendre where a phrase can be understood in any of three ways. An
example of this would be the cover of the 1981 Rush album Moving Pictures. The title could be read to mean
transporting or relocating wall paintings or photographs by a moving crew, pictures that invoke emotional (moving)
Double entendre
reactions, or a literal "moving picture" (i.e. a film or movie). In fact the original back cover of the LP showed a film
crew shooting a crowd being moved by movers moving moving pictures.
Comedian Benny Hill, whose television shows included straightforward sexual gags, has been jokingly called "the
master of the single entendre".[2]
The expression comes from French double = "double" and entendre = "to mean", "to understand". Although it was a
French expression when adopted into English, and although both words are part of modern French, their use together
has disappeared in modern French. Double retains the same meaning in French, but entendre translates nowadays to
"hear". French refers to such phrases with the term double sens (literally "double meaning").[3] Another French
variation is sous-entendre (verb) or sous-entendu (noun), which means literally "under meaning", that is, with a
hidden meaning under the primary meaning.
The term "adianoeta" comes from Greek ἀδιανόητα and means "unintelligible".[4]
Examples of sexual innuendo and double-entendre occur in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (14th century),
in which the Wife of Bath's tale is laden with double entendres. The most famous of these may be her use of the
word "queynte" to describe both domestic duties (from the homonym "quaint") and genitalia ("queynte" being a root
of the modern English word cunt.)
The title of Sir Thomas More's 1516 fictional work Utopia is a double entendre because of the pun between two
Greek-derived words that would have identical pronunciation: with his spelling, it means "no place"[5] (as echoed
later in Samuel Butler's later Erewhon); spelled as the rare word Eutopia, it is pronounced the same[6] by
English-speaking readers, but has the meaning "good place."
The poem Ozymandias by Percy Shelley published in 1818, is an example of ironic double entendre. Looking upon
the shattered ruins of a colossus, the traveller reads:
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
The speaker believes that the king's sole intended meaning of "despair" was that nobody could hope to equal his
achievements, but the traveler seems to find another meaning—that the reader might "despair" to find that all beings
are mortal, that king and peasant alike inevitably share oblivion in the sands of time.[7] This portrayal of an
unintended double entendre exemplifies a case of the double entendre as the poet's figure of speech.
In Homer's "The Odyssey", when Odysseus is captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus, he tells the Cyclops that his
name is Nohbdy. When Odysseus attacks the Cyclops later that night and stabs him in the eye, the Cyclops runs out
of his cave, yelling to the other cyclopes that "Nohbdy's hurt me!", leading the other cyclopes to believe that he said
"Nobody's hurt me!", causing them to leave him alone and allow Odysseus and his men to escape. This double
entendre uses the false name "Nohbdy" to cause others to think the cyclops said the pronoun "nobody".
Similarly, in The Neverending Story, when Atreyu meets Gmork, a werewolf, he tells him that he is Nobody. Gmork
responds, "If that's the case, then Nobody has heard me and Nobody has come to me, and Nobody is speaking to me
in my last hour." Atreyu replies, "Can Nobody free you from your chain?" Shocked, Gmork says, "You'd really set a
hungry werewolf free? Do you know what that means? Nobody would be safe from me." Atreyu says to Gmork,
"But I'm Nobody. Why should I be afraid of you?"[8]
Double entendre
Stage performances
Shakespeare frequently used innuendos in his plays. Indeed, Sir Toby
in Twelfth Night is seen saying, in reference to Sir Andrew's hair, that
"it hangs like flax on a distaff; and I hope to see a housewife take thee
between her legs and spin it off;" the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet says
that her husband had told Juliet when she was learning to walk that
"Yea, dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thou
hast more wit;", or is told the time by Mercutio: "for the bawdy hand of
the dial is now upon the prick of noon"; and in Hamlet, Hamlet
torments Ophelia with a series of sexual puns, viz. "country" (similar
to "cunt").
Flax on a distaff
In the UK, starting in the 19th century, Victorian morality disallowed
innuendo in the theatre as being unpleasant, particularly for the ladies
in the audience. In music hall songs, on the other hand, innuendo remained very popular. Marie Lloyd's song 'She
Sits Among The Cabbages And Peas' is an example of this. (Music hall in this context is to be compared with
Variety, the one common, low-class and vulgar; the other demi-monde, worldly and sometimes chic.) In the 20th
century there began to be a bit of a crackdown on lewdness, including some prosecutions. It was the job of the Lord
Chamberlain to examine the scripts of all plays for indecency. Nevertheless, some comedians still continued to get
away with it. Max Miller, famously, had two books of jokes, a white book and a blue book, and would ask his
audience which book they wanted to hear stories from. If they chose the blue book, it was their own choice and he
could feel reasonably secure he was not offending anyone.
Television shows
In Britain, innuendo humour did not transfer to radio or cinema at first, but eventually and progressively it began to
filter through from the late 1950s and 1960s on. Particularly significant in this respect were the Carry On series of
films and the BBC radio series Round the Horne, although this humour is carried because of the apparent "nonsense"
language that the protagonists use but in fact are having a "rude" conversation in Polari (gay slang). Spike Milligan,
writer of The Goon Show, remarked that a lot of blue innuendo came from servicemen's jokes, which most of the cast
understood (they all had been soldiers) and many of the audience understood, but which passed over the heads of
most of the BBC producers and directors, most of whom were "Officer class."
In 1968, the office of the Lord Chamberlain ceased to have responsibility for censoring live entertainment, after the
Theatres Act 1968. By the 1970s innuendo had become widely pervasive across much of the British media, including
sitcoms and radio comedy, such as I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and Round the Horne. For example, in the 1970s
series Are You Being Served?, Mrs. Slocombe made frequent references to her "pussy", apparently unaware of how
easily her statement could be misinterpreted, such as "It's a wonder I'm here at all, you know. My pussy got soakin'
wet. I had to dry it out in front of the fire before I left." Someone unfamiliar with sexual slang might find this
statement funny simply because of the references to her pussy cat, whereas generally a viewer would be expected to
detect the innuendo ("pussy" is sexual slang for vulva).
The title of reality television show, The Biggest Loser, has double entendres. The title could be interpreted in many
different ways; "biggest" could be interpreted as meaning obese, or referring to the amount that they are a "loser".
Also, the "loser" could be interpreted as meaning they lose a lot of weight, or it could be more subtly derogatorily
implying that they are socially deficient.
In The Real Housewives of New York City, a reality television show on Bravo, the fourth episode in the second
season features Countess LuAnn de Lesseps discussing with Bethenny Frankel, the title of her upcoming book on
etiquette entitled Class with the Countess. The women deem the title as a double entendre, since it can be seen as a
Double entendre
lesson on etiquette with the Countess but also the title pays heed to the social class of the Countess, as she is a
stickler for etiquette and manners and indeed has a social order status as the Countess.
On the Sky Sports television show Soccer AM there is a section called Team Mates in which they interview a player
from a club within the English Football League questions about their team mates. The question that the interview
normally ends on is "...And who is the longest in the showers?" This can be read as a straight question in generally
asking who spends the most time washing but it can also be seen as a question that is asking who has the longest
penis. This can be seen by some player's reactions to the question, normally laughing.
Another widely known reference is frequently made by the Private First Class Lavernius Tucker, who is a main
fictional character in the machinima science fiction comedy video series Red vs. Blue. Whenever Tucker hears a
double entendre, he says his catchphrase, "Bow Chicka Bow Wow!", mimicking the musical style of 70's
background porno music films.
Shows like The Office does not hide the fact of adding sexual innuendos into the script, usually lines for character
Michael Scott who often says the phase "That's What She Said" either to lighten the mood of the office or after a sex
pun has been said. Another television show that is filled with sexual innuendos and puns is Family Guy, especially
with the character of Glenn Quagmire. Another Seth MacFarlane show called American Dad! had an episode in the
3rd Season called "Tearjerker", a spoof of James Bond movies, in which the main characters of the show assumed
different roles. One main character called "Francine Smith" became "Sexpun T'Come", as a Bond girl type character
like Pussy Galore.
2005 CSI episode 15 in season 5, "King Baby" Catherine is told by Ecklie that Grissom would be in charge of the
scene. Later when Ecklie talkes to Catherine, trying to tell her it was just due to the high profile nature of the victim.
Catherine says, "I smell crap" and finds feces only feet in front of Ecklie. Crap is the Double entendre since it can
mean feces or someone's use of words and lies.
Bawdy double entendres, such as "I'm the kinda girl who works for Paramount by day, and Fox all night", and "I feel
like a million tonight—but only one at a time", were the trademark of Mae West, in her early-career vaudeville
performances as well as in her later plays and movies.
Double entendres are popular in modern movies, as a way to conceal adult humor in a work aimed at general
audiences. The James Bond films are rife with such humour. For example, in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), when
Bond is disturbed by the telephone while in bed with a Danish girl, he explains to Moneypenny that he is busy
brushing up on his Danish. Moneypenny responds in kind by pointing out that Bond was known as "a cunning
linguist", a play on the word "cunnilingus". This was further parodied in Austin Powers in Goldmember: "You may
be a cunning linguist, but I'm a master debater!" (the latter sounds like "masturbator", and the former sounds like
"cunnilingus"). The James Bond movie Goldfinger, the female characters' names, Pussy Galore and Holly Goodhead,
are more obvious examples of a double entendre.
Also, in The World Is Not Enough, when the well-endowed female assistant of the Swiss banker asks Bond ,"Would
you like to check my figures?", referring to the receipt of payment, Mr. Bond replies slyly, "Oh, I'm sure they're
perfectly rounded."
ET Michael's friend teases Elliott saying the alien came from "your anus" which sounds like Uranus
Double entendre
Double entendres are very common in the titles and lyrics of pop songs. To cite only a few examples:
• The title of the song "Big Balls in Cowtown", a song by Hoyle Nix, and its more modern inspired cousin "Big
Balls", by the Australian rock band AC/DC, playing on the two meanings of "balls": social dance events and
• "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me" by The Bellamy Brothers, which is based
on an old Groucho Marx quote, where the person being talked to is asked, by one interpretation if they would be
offended, and by the other, if they would press their body against the person doing the talking.
• The title of the Blink-182 album "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket" is a double entendre relying on different
interpretations of the final word, which could also be understood as "jack it", a dysphemism for masturbation.
• The title of the song "If U Seek Amy" by Britney Spears, a double entendre that relies on it sounding like
"F-U-C-K me".
• The Notorious B.I.G. routinely used double entendre in his raps. For example, in the song "Going back to Cali" he
writes "Recognize a real Don when you see Juan (one)" meaning both a "Mafia Don" and a "Don Juan."
• The song "Legs" by ZZ Top, also uses double entendre, for example, "she got legs, she knows how to use them."
The first meaning is obvious sexual attraction, the second underlying meaning, she has strength and confidence.
• The song "Kissing Willie" by Jethro Tull extensively uses double entendre as the premise for the whole song.
"Willie" being both a name and British slang for a penis, "Kissing Willie" being a double entendre for fellatio.
• Metallica song Unforgiven II the II in the lyrics is too, meaning also, "and so your unforgiven too". Also S&M an abbreviation of 'Symphony and Metallica' as well as a play-on-words for sadomasochism
Social interaction
Double entendres often arise in the replies given to inquiries. For example, the response to the question "What is the
difference between ignorance and apathy?" would be "I don't know and I don't care". The dual meaning arises in the
iteration (though from a first-person perspective) of the definitions of both terms within the reply ("I don't know"
defining ignorance, and "I don't care" defining apathy). Of course, in the more obvious sense, the reply may simply
indicate that the replier neither knows nor cares about what the difference is between the two words.
Another instance of double entendre involves responding to a seemingly innocuous sentence that could have a sexual
meaning with the phrase "that's what she said". An example might be if one were to say "It's too big to fit in my
mouth" upon being served a large sandwich, someone else could say "That's what she said," as if the statement were
a reference to oral sex. This phrase was used in the "Wayne's World" Saturday Night Live skits, and was a recurring
joke–albeit in a mocking way–on the US sitcom The Office. The phrase " the actress said to the bishop" can be
used in a similar way.
Furthermore, the example could be used of a student speaking to his recently retired teacher. While the two are
discussing the replacement teacher, the student says, "I didn't know how much I liked you until this year." This
statement could be interpreted as the student saying that he realizes how much he appreciates his former teacher or as
a complaint about the new teacher.
Double entendre
See also
Word play
definition of Adianoeta (http:/ / rhetoric. byu. edu/ Figures/ A/ adianoeta. htm) at Accessed on 2009-08-06
"Taglines Galore" (http:/ / www. taglinesgalore. com/ tags/ b. html). . Retrieved November 2008.
Robert & Collins - senior, 5th edition, end of page 295 ("Double", §1b ).
definition of Adianoeta (http:/ / www. odlt. org/ ballast/ adianoeta. html) at Accessed on 2009-08-06
Merriam-Webster's Online Search (http:/ / www. webster. com/ dictionary/ Utopia)
A. D. Cousins, Macquarie University. "Utopia." The Literary Encyclopedia. (http:/ / www. litencyc. com/ php/ sworks. php?rec=true&
UID=8578) 25 Oct. 2004. The Literary Dictionary Company. 3 January 2008.
[7] Or the irony that this monarch assets his claim to majesty and awe yet his "works" are in ruin: "Nothing beside remains: round the decay/ Of
that colossal wreck, boundless and bare."
[8] The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende (translated by Ralph Manheim); p. 146-147
Comedy (drama)
Comedy (drama)
Performing arts
Major forms
Dance · Music · Opera · Theatre · Circus Arts
Minor forms
Magic · Puppetry
Drama · Tragedy · Comedy · Tragicomedy · Romance · Satire · Epic · Lyric
Comedy is a word that Greeks and Romans confined to descriptions of stage-plays with happy endings. In the
Middle Ages, the term expanded to include narrative poems with happy endings and a lighter tone. In this sense A.
Dante used the term in the title of his poem, La Divina Commedia. As time progressed, the word came more and
more to be associated with any sort of performance intended to cause laughter.[1]
The phenomena connected with laughter and that which provokes it has been carefully investigated by psychologists
and agreed upon the predominating characteristics are incongruity or contrast in the object, and shock or emotional
seizure on the part of the subject. It has also been held that the feeling of superiority is an essential factor: thus
Thomas Hobbes speaks of laughter as a "sudden glory." Modern investigators have paid much attention to the origin
both of laughter and of smiling, as well as the development of the "play instinct" and its emotional expression.
Much comedy contains variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, repetitiveness, and the effect of
opposite expectations, but there are many recognized genres of comedy. Satire and political satire use ironic comedy
used to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of
Parody borrows the form of some popular genre, artwork, or text but uses certain ironic changes to critique that form
from within (though not necessarily in a condemning way). Screwball comedy derives its humor largely from
bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters. Black comedy is defined by dark humor that makes
light of so called dark or evil elements in human nature. Similarly scatological humor, sexual humor, and race humor
create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comedic ways.
A comedy of manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper class society) and uses
humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that
depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms, and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.
The word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία, which is a compound either of κῶμος (revel) or
κώμη (village) and ᾠδή (singing): it is possible that κῶμος itself is derived from κώμη, and originally meant a
village revel. The adjective "comic" (Greek κωμικός), which strictly means that which relates to comedy is, in
modern usage, generally confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking".[2] The word came into modern usage through
the Latin comoedia and Italian commedia and has, over time, passed through various shades of meaning.[1]
Comedy (drama)
In ancient Greece, comedy seems to have originated in bawdy and ribald songs or recitations apropos of fertility
festivals or gatherings, or also in making fun at other people or stereotypes.[3] Aristotle, in the Poetics, states that
comedy originated in Phallic songs and the light treatment of the otherwise base and ugly. He also adds that the
origins of comedy are obscure because it was not treated seriously from its inception.[4]
Northrop Frye described the comic genre as a drama that pits two societies against each other in an amusing agon or
conflict. He depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old",[5] but this
dichotomy is seldom described as an entirely satisfactory explanation. A later view characterizes the essential agon
of comedy as a struggle between a powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes; in
this sense, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to
take recourse to ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.[6]
Types of comic drama
• Ancient Greek comedy, as practiced by Aristophanes and Menander
• Ancient Roman comedy, as practiced by Plautus and Terence
• Ancient Indian comedy, as practiced in Sanskrit drama
Burlesque, from Music hall and Vaudeville to Performance art
Citizen comedy, as practiced by Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton and Ben Jonson
Clowns such as Richard Tarlton, William Kempe and Robert Armin
Comedy of humours, as practiced by Ben Jonson and George Chapman
Comedy of intrigue, as practiced by Niccolò Machiavelli and Lope de Vega
Comedy of manners, as practiced by Molière, William Wycherley and William Congreve
Comedy of menace, as practiced by David Campton and Harold Pinter
comédie larmoyante or 'tearful comedy', as practiced by Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée and
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
Commedia dell'arte, as practiced in the twentieth-century by Dario Fo, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Jacques Copeau
Farce, from Georges Feydeau to Joe Orton and Alan Ayckbourn
Laughing comedy, as practiced by Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Restoration comedy, as practiced by George Etherege, Aphra Behn and John Vanbrugh
Sentimental comedy, as practiced by Colley Cibber and Richard Steele
Shakespearean comedy, as practiced by William Shakespeare
Dadaist and Surrealist performance, usually in cabaret form
Theatre of the Absurd, used by some to describe Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet and Eugène
Comedy (drama)
• Aristotle, Poetics.
• Buckham, Philip Wentworth, Theatre of the Greeks [12], 1827.
• Marteinson, Peter (2006). On the Problem of the Comic: A Philosophical Study on the Origins of Laughter [13].
Legas Press, Ottawa, 2006.
• Pickard-Cambridge, Sir Arthur Wallace
• Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy , 1927.
• The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, 1946.
• The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 1953.
Raskin, Victor, The Semantic Mechanisms of Humor, 1985.
Riu, Xavier, Dionysism and Comedy, 1999. [14]
Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, Oxford University Press, 2003.
Wiles, David, The Masked Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance, 1991.
Oxford English Dictionary
Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, 1934.
Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, 1934.
Aristotle, Poetics, lines beginning at 1449a. (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ cgi-bin/ ptext?lookup=Aristot. + Poet. + 1449a)
Frye, Northrop The Anatomy of Criticism. 1957
Marteinson, 2006
This list was compiled with reference to The Cambridge Guide to Theatre (1998).
An extravaganza is a literary or musical work
(often musical theatre) characterized by freedom of
style and structure and usually containing elements
of burlesque, pantomime, music hall and parody. It
sometimes also has elements of cabaret, circus,
Extravaganza may more broadly refer to an
elaborate, spectacular, and expensive theatrical
The term was widely used to describe to a type of
19th-century British drama made popular by James
Planché. Planché defined it as "the whimsical
treatment of a poetical subject."[3]
The term is derived from the Italian word
stravaganza, meaning extravagance.
See also
• Spectacle
A poster showing the chorus girls of a 1900 extravaganza.
[1] Encyclopedia Britannica online (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ eb/ topic-199143/ extravaganza)
[2] Ewen, David (1957). Panorama of American Popular Music. Prentice Hall.
[3] Planché. The recollections and reflections of J.R. Planché (Somerset herald): a professional biography (1872), Vol. II, p. 43
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and
improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which
may include sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an
ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humour, the use of
deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances. Farces have been written for the stage and film.
Many farces move at a frantic pace toward the climax, in which the initial problem is resolved one way or another,
often through a deus ex machina twist of the plot. Generally, there is a happy ending. The convention of poetic
justice is not always observed: The protagonist may get away with what he or she has been trying to hide at all costs,
even if it is a criminal act.
Farce in general is highly tolerant of transgressive behaviour, and tends to depict human beings as vain, irrational,
venal, infantile, neurotic and prone to automatic behaviour. In that respect, farce is a natural companion of satire.
Farce is, in fact, not merely a genre but a highly flexible dramatic mode that often occurs in combination with other
forms, including romantic comedy. Farce is considered a theatre tradition.
As far as ridiculous, far-fetched situations, quick and witty repartee, and broad physical humor are concerned, farce
is widely employed in TV sitcoms, in silent film comedy, and in screwball comedy. See also bedroom farce.
Japan has a centuries-old tradition of farce plays called Kyōgen. These plays are performed as comic relief during
the long, serious Noh plays.
Representative examples: A chronology
Anonymus: The Second Shepherds' Play (14th century)
William Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors (ca.1592)
Aphra Behn: The Rover (play) (1677)
Arthur Murphy: The Citizen (1761)
Elizabeth Inchbald: Appearance Is Against Them (1785); The Wedding Day (1794)
John Maddison Morton: Box and Cox (1847)
Arthur Wing Pinero: The Magistrate (1885)
Brandon Thomas: Charley's Aunt (1892)
Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Ben Travers: Thark (1927)
Noel Coward: Hay Fever (1925); Present Laughter (1939); Blithe Spirit (1941)
Philip King: See How They Run (1945) Big Bad Mouse (1957)
Joe Orton: Loot (1967) What the Butler Saw (1969)
Michael Pertwee: Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1971)
Anthony Marriott & Alistair Foot: No Sex Please, We're British (1975)
John Cleese: Fawlty Towers (1975)
John Chapman & Anthony Marriott: Shut Your Eyes and Think of England (1977)
Derek Benfield: Touch and Go (1982)
Michael Frayn: Noises Off (1982)
Nigel Williams: W.C.P.C. (1982)
• Miles Tredinnick: Laugh? I Nearly Went To Miami! (1986)
• Alan Ayckbourn: A Small Family Business (1987)
Miles Tredinnick: It’s Now Or Never! (1991)
Tom Kempinski: Sex Please, We're Italian! (1991)
Ray Cooney: Funny Money (1994)
Steven Moffat: Coupling (2001)
The Boy and the Blind Man, 13th century, oldest written French farce.
Molière: Tartuffe (1664)
Labiche: La Cagnotte (1864)and other plays.
Georges Feydeau: Le Dindon (1896) (aka Sauce for the Goose)
Octave Mirbeau : Farces et moralités (1904).
Georges Feydeau: A Flea in Her Ear (1907)
Marc Camoletti: Boeing Boeing (1960) and Pyjama pour Six (1985) (aka Don't Dress for Dinner) [1]
Jean Poiret: La Cage aux Folles (1973)
• Carl Laufs & Wilhelm Jacoby: Pension Schöller (1890)
• Franz Arnold & Ernst Bach: Weekend im Paradies (1928) [2]
• Miles Tredinnick with Ursula Lyn and Adolf Opel: ...Und Morgen Fliegen Wir Nach Miami (1987)
• Dario Fo: Morte accidentale di un anarchico also known as Accidental Death of an Anarchist was first played on
December 5, 1970 in Varese, Italy
• Nikolai Gogol The Government Inspector (also translated as The Inspector General)
• Anton Chekhov A Marriage Proposal
• Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote
United States
Good Neighbor Sam, starring Jack Lemmon
Is He Dead?, Mark Twain
The Three Stooges
Stephen Sondheim: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1962)
Neil Simon: Rumors (1988)
3rd Rock From The Sun (1996-2001)
Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-present)
Ernest Kinnie: Smackin' The Monkey
• Juliette Sinclair-Walker
External links
• IMDB list of film and television farces [3]
• Farce [4] films at Allmovie
http:/ / www. theatresprives. com/ francais/ auteurs/ biocamoletti. html
http:/ / www. felix-bloch-erben. de/ play. php/ nav/ kata/ iPlayId/ 1556/ fbe/ 101
http:/ / us. imdb. com/ keyword/ farce/ ?start=1& sort=date
http:/ / wc05. allmovie. com/ cg/ avg. dll?p=avg& sql=24:D|||530
Fictional fictional character
A fictional fictional character is a type of fictional character found in a metafictional work. It is a character whose
fictional existence is introduced within a larger work of fiction, such as the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon that exists only
within the fictional world of The Simpsons.
Fictional fictional characters
When a fictional character's primary existence is in a media outlet that, itself, is fictional, that character is a fictional
fictional character. This is usually, but not necessarily, done for comedic effect. For example, when John Ritter
played the role of Garry Lejeune in the motion picture Noises Off, and Garry played the role of Roger Tramplemain
in the stage production of Nothing On, Roger became a fictional fictional character, since Nothing On exists only
within the realm of Noises Off.
The extent to which this can be comically confusing is summed up in the following quote, taken from a
behind-the-scenes sequence at the end of the Stargate SG-1 episode "Wormhole X-Treme!": "I'm Christian Bocher,
portraying the character of Raymond Gunne, who portrays the character of Dr. Levant, which is based on the
character Daniel Jackson, portrayed by the actor Michael Shanks, originally portrayed by the actor James Spader in
the feature film." (After a beat he adds, "Are you okay?")
Perhaps the most extreme example of a fictional fictional character is Suicide Squid, whose eponymous comic book
doesn't even exist in other media — it all started as an "in-joke" among the regular posters on a Usenet newsgroup.
In this case, the "larger work of fiction" containing the Suicide Squid comic book is the ongoing "in-joke" rather than
any formalized media.
Even when the character within the "story within a story" is based on a real person or a person from legend, the
character takes on the sense of being a "fictional fictional character" by virtue of the setting, even though in fact the
character remains a "real fictional character" or even a real person in truth.
Real people as fictional fictional characters
In the television series Bones, fictional forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan spends much of her free
time writing novels about the "fictional" forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. This mimics Reichs' own real-life
second career of writing the Temperance Brennan series of novels and working as executive producer of the TV
show, all while working as a forensic anthropologist at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of
North Carolina and the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.
Fictional fictional character
Brennan has made at least one other reference to the real-life Kathy Reichs most notably by stating in the series pilot
that the closest other forensic anthropologist is in Montreal. As used in Bones, this entire concept is also an example
of breaking the fourth wall.
"Frame" stories
An early phenomenon related to the "story within a story" is the "framing device" or "frame story", where a
supplemental story is used to help tell the main story. In the supplemental story, or "frame," one or more characters
tell the main story to one or more other characters.
The earliest examples of "frame stories" and "stories within stories" were in ancient Indian literature, such as the
Mahabharata, Ramayana, Fables of Bidpai, Hitopadesha and Vikram and the Vampire. Both The Golden Ass by
Apuleius and Metamorphoses by Ovid extend the depths of framing to several degrees. Another early example is the
famous Arabian Nights, in which Sheherazade narrates stories within stories, and even within some of these, more
stories are narrated. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is also a frame story.
A well-known modern example of this is The Princess Bride, both the book and the movie. In the movie, a
grandfather is reading the story of "The Princess Bride" to his grandson. In the book, a more detailed frame story has
a father editing a (nonexistent) much longer work for his son, creating his own "Good Parts Version" (as the book
called it) by leaving out all the parts that would bore a young boy. Both the book and the movie assert that the central
story is from a book called "The Princess Bride" by a nonexistent author named S. Morgenstern.
Sometimes a frame story exists in the same setting as the main story. On the television series The Young Indiana
Jones Chronicles, each episode was framed as though it were being told by an older Indy (usually a very elderly
George Hall, though one featured Harrison Ford).
Fictional artists
Like S. Morgenstern, Peter Schikele's P.D.Q. Bach can be considered a "fictional artist", who supposedly created the
works actually created by the artist's own creator. P.D.Q.'s life thus becomes something of a "frame story" (albeit
indirectly) for such works as his opera The Abduction of Figaro.
Mystery author Ellery Queen can also be considered a "fictional artist" of sorts, though the proverbial line between
his "true-life" and "fictional" exploits are generally very blurred.
In this case the "frame story"—that is, the fictional creator's life—can be considered metafictional, since each story
(or other work) supposedly created by that character adds a little to his or her own (fictional) story.
Deeply nested fiction
There are several cases where an author has nested his fiction more deeply than just two layers.
The earliest examples are in Ugrasrava's epic Mahabharata and Vishnu Sarma's Panchatantra. Some of the stories
narrated in the Panchatantra often had stories within them, hence a story within a story within a story. In the epic
Mahabharata, the Kurukshetra War is narrated by a character in Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa's Jaya, which itself is
narrated by a character in Vaisampayana's Bharata, which itself is narrated by a character in Ugrasrava's
Another early example is The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, where the general story is narrated by an
unknown narrator, and in this narration the stories are told by Scheherazade. In most of Scheherazade's narrations
there are also stories narrated, and even in some of these, there are some other stories.
In Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach, there is a narrative between Achilles and the Tortoise (characters
borrowed from Lewis Carroll, who in turn borrowed them from Zeno), and within this fiction they find a book
entitled "Provocative Adventures of Achilles and the Tortoise Taking Place in Sundry Spots of the Globe", which
Fictional fictional character
they begin to read, the Tortoise taking the part of the Tortoise, and Achilles taking the part of Achilles. Within this
narrative, which itself is somewhat self-referential, the two characters find a book entitled "Provocative Adventures
of Achilles and the Tortoise Taking Place in Sundry Spots of the Globe", which they begin to read, the Tortoise
taking the part of Achilles, and Achilles taking the part of the Tortoise.
In The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, there is a story within a story within a story within a story, as the necropolis
apprentice Petrefax tells a story that includes a storytelling session about Destruction telling a story. It is later shown
that this - along with all the other stories in World's End - are being related to a bar girl by one of the characters
present at Petrefax's original storytelling session.
In Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years, Adrian writes a book entitled Lo! The Flat Hills Of My
Homeland, in which the main character, Jake Westmorland, writes a book called Sparg of Kronk, whose eponymous
character, Sparg, writes a book with no language. Sparg is therefore a fictional fictional fictional character, and any
characters in his book would have been fictional fictional fictional fictional characters.
In Philip K. Dick's novel The Man in the High Castle, each character comes into interaction with a book called The
Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which was written by the Man in the High Castle. Dick's novel details a world in which the
Axis Powers of World War II had succeeded in dominating the known world. The novel within the novel details an
alternative to this history in which the Allies overcome the Axis and bring stability to the world.
In Red Orc's Rage by Philip J. Farmer a doubly recursive method is used to interwine fictional, fictional-fictional and
real-world characters. This novel is part of a science-fiction series, the World of Tiers. Farmer collaborated in the
writing of this novel with an American psychiatrist,Dr. A. James Giannini. Dr. Giannini had previously used the
World of Tiers series in treating patients in group therapy. During these therapeutic sessions, the content and process
of the text and novelist was discussed rather than the lives of the patients. In this way subconscious defenses could
be circumvented. Farmer took the real life case-studies and melded these with adventures of his fictional characters
in the series. Red Orc's Rage is a fictional report of the interaction of these slightly fictionalized real patients with
Farmer's totally fiction alternative-universe aliens who may themselves be delusions.
From fictional fiction to fiction
Occasionally a character's metafictional setting becomes such a popular element of the primary fiction that the
producer(s) of the primary fiction decide to produce the secondary fiction in earnest.
A prime example of this is Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies; the character in the movies was an action
figure based on a fictional cartoon series, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, which was later actually produced,
perhaps prompted by people who thought that the brief mention of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command in Toy Story
was an embedded real-world advertisement.
Another notable example is the relationship between Genshiken, a manga series about popular culture, and Kujibiki
Unbalance, a series in the Genshiken universe, which has spawned merchandise of its own, and is being remade into
a series on its own.
On other occasions the metafictional work may be produced as a way of providing additional information on the
fictional world for fans. A well-known example of this comes in the Harry Potter series of J. K. Rowling, where
three such supplemental books have been produced, with the profits going to charity. Fantastic Beasts and Where to
Find Them is in the form of a textbook used by the main character, and Quidditch Through the Ages is in the form of
a book from the library at his school. The Tales of Beedle the Bard provides an additional layer of fiction, the 'tales'
being instructional stories told to children in the characters' world.
Perhaps the most unusual example of this was the fictional author Kilgore Trout who appears in the works of Kurt
Vonnegut. In the fictional world of those stories Kilgore Trout has written a novel called Venus on the Half-Shell. In
1975 real-world author Phillip Jose Farmer wrote a science-fiction novel called Venus on the Half-Shell, which he
published under the name Kilgore Trout.
Fictional fictional character
The movie Adaptation was presented as being written by Charlie Kaufman and his fictional brother Donald
Kaufman. Both 'brothers' were nominated for an Oscar that year.
Fictional fiction sometimes becomes "real" fiction against the original creator's wishes. The fictional fictional
children's book Hamster Huey & The Gooey Kablooie from the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip was turned into an
actual work of fiction by an individual not associated with the strip. This went against statements by Bill Waterson
(Calvin & Hobbes's author) in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book that he believed that Hamster Huey...
should remain an undefined story, left up to the reader's imagination.
At least one complete Captain Proton story has been written in the real world: [1] Captain Proton: Defender of the
Earth, a comic, by Dean Wesley Smith, who presumed that in the Star Trek universe, the holonovel Captain Proton
was adapted from a supposed 1930's comic; and he set out to write and publish that comic in the real world. (Other
fan fiction described as Captain Proton stories are Star Trek: Voyager stories whose action happens place partly in
Voyager's holodeck where the Captain Proton program is running.)
Occasionally, though primarily on television, the characters in a story become the subjects of dramatizations based
on their own lives or events that they have experienced. The most notorious case of this took place on the Seinfeld
television series; it has also happened on other shows including The X-Files and the short-lived Ellery Queen series.
There is also the "recursive story", for example:
"'Twas a dark and stormy night, and the captain said to his crew, "Gather round, and I'll tell ye a tale."
So the crew gathered round, and the captain said:
"'Twas a dark and stormy night, and the captain said to his crew, "Gather round, and I'll tell ye a tale."
So the crew gathered round, and the captain said:
"'Twas a dark and stormy night, and the captain said to his crew, "Gather round, and I'll tell ye a
So the crew gathered round, and the captain said:
"'Twas a dark and stormy night, and the captain said to his crew..." etc,
and sometimes listeners who are unaware of the trick will listen through several recursions before realizing that the
substance of the story is never going to start.
Individual characters
Atreyu from The Neverending Story
Captain Proton from Star Trek: Voyager
Dixon Hill from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Fearless Fosdick from Li'l Abner
Happy Noodle Boy from Johnny The Homicidal Maniac
Itchy and Scratchy or Radioactive Man or McBain from The Simpsons
Misery Chastain from Stephen King's novel Misery
Monsignor Martinez from King of the Hill
Suicide Squid
Sven Hjerson
• Terrance and Phillip from South Park, though they appear as actual characters in South Park: Bigger, Longer &
Uncut, "Cartoon Wars Part II", & "Canada on Strike". In "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus",
Fictional fictional character
Cartman is portrayed as a fictional fictional character.
Tamahome and all other Celestial Warriors from Fushigi Yūgi
Bruno Sardine in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The entire Cast of Sealab 2021 in 1 of its episodes, the "real world" being that of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Red Orc and other characters from Red Orc's Rage
Agent J and Agent K of the films Men in Black and Men in Black II; in the animated series Men in Black: The
Series, the two Agents seen in the films are stated to be fictional characters based on information obtained by
filmmakers about the "real-life" J and K (thus establishing that the two MIB films exist in the fictional canon of
the animated series).
Warrior Angel from Smallville
Psycho Dad from Married... with Children
X-Ray Cat from Freddy Got Fingered
Early examples
• Mahābhārata
• Panchatantra
• One Thousand and One Nights
• A Midsummer Night's Dream
• Hamlet
• Love's Labour's Lost
Other examples
Commander Cool & his sidekick, Mellow Mutt - superheros from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
Hero at Large
Noises Off
Wormhole X-Treme!
Super Mario Bros. 2
Galaxy Quest to some extent
'Geikigangar III' within Martian Successor Nadesico
Papillon Rose
The music video for Sabotage by the Beastie Boys
Sonny With a Chance, a Disney Channel series starring Demi Lovato described as "a comedy show about a
comedy show"
See also
• Story within a story
[1] http:/ / www. chapters. indigo. ca/ books/ Captain-Proton-Dean-Wesley-Smith/ 9780671036461-item.
Form-versus-content humour
Form-versus-content humour
Form-versus-content humour is a type of humour in which the way a statement is made contributes to making the
statement humorous.
Usually this is by the means of having some contradiction between the medium and the message; for example, by
presenting a message in a form that inherently defeats the ostensible purpose of the message, or in a form that is
fundamentally incapable of carrying the important part of the message.
A red index card with GREEN written on it is an example for this type of humour, because the literal message
contradicts the optical message of the medium on which it is transmitted. Another example would be the image of
heavily armed military troops carrying a sign saying "We come in peace," or "NO GRAFFITI" spray painted on a
Form-versus-content humour is very popular in the hacker culture. An example this is the term "SIGHEIL". By its
form, it appears to be a signal from a POSIX OS, yet its message is the German Expression Sieg Heil, which is a
symbol for the Third Reich.
See also
nonverbal communication
indirect self-reference
ceci n'est pas une pipe
Comedic genres
Comedic genres
Comedy may be divided into multiple genres based on the source of humor, the method of delivery, and the context
in which it is delivered.
These classifications overlap, and most comedians can fit into multiple genres. For example, deadpan comics often
fall into observational comedy, or into black comedy or blue comedy to contrast the morbidity or offensiveness of
the joke with a lack of emotion.
Famous comedians/comedy shows
Black comedy or
dark comedy
Black comedy deals with disturbing subjects such
as death, drugs, terrorism, rape, and war. Some dark
comedy is similar to the horror movie genre.
Television examples include Brass Eye.
Chris Morris, Jim Norton, Bill Hicks, Denis Leary, Richard Pryor, George
Carlin, Chris Rush, Penn & Teller, Patrice Oneal, Rich Vos, Jeff Duran,
The League of Gentlemen, Christopher Titus, Sacha Baron Cohen, Doug
Stanhope, Brother Theodore, Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein, Frankie Boyle,
The Chaser's War On Everything
Blue comedy
Comedy based on sexism, racism and homophobic
views, often using sexual jokes and profane
language words.
Eddie Murphy, Jim Davidson, Andrew Dice Clay, Bernard Manning, Jeff
Duran, Martin Lawrence, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, George Lopez, Doug
Stanhope, Tommy Tiernan, Redd Foxx, Bob Saget, Ron White, Dave
Attell, Chris Rock, Derek and Clive, Sarah Silverman, Luis Noguera
Character comedy derives humor from a persona
invented by a performer. Much character comedy
comes from stereotypes.
Andy Kaufman, Paul Eddington, Andrew Dice Clay, Rich Hall, Tim
Allen, John Gordon Sinclair, Lenny Henry, Sacha Baron Cohen,
Christopher Ryan, Steve Guttenberg, Steve Coogan, Bip, Jay London,
Larry the Cable Guy, Sarah Silverman, Rob Brydon, Peter Helliar, Harry
Enfield, Margaret Cho, Little Britain, Stephen Colbert, Al Murray
Improvisational (sometimes shortened to improv)
comics rarely plan out their routines. Prime
examples of this kind of comic can be seen on the
television shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, Whose
Line Is It Anyway? and Thank God You're Here.
Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Paula Poundstone, Paul Merton, Tony
Slattery, Josie Lawrence, Jim Sweeney, Steve Steen, Wayne Brady, Ryan
Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Drew Carey, Greg Proops, John Sessions, Neil
Mullarkey, Kathy Greenwood.
Observational comedy pokes fun at everyday life,
often by inflating the importance of trivial things or
by observing the silliness of something that society
accepts as normal.
Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Mitch Hedberg,
Billy Connolly, Ray Romano, Chris Rush, Dane Cook, Dave Hughes,
Ricky Gervais, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim
Gaffigan, Kathy Greenwood, Ellen DeGeneres, Peter Kay, Daniel Tosh,
Russell Peters, Demetri Martin, Tommy Tiernan, Carl Barron, Lee Evans,
Michael Mcintyre, Brian Regan
Differing from traditional punchline jokes which
features many other forms of comedy such as
Observation, Satire, Surrealism, Slapstick and
Alexei Sayle, Mark Steel, Dave Gorman, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy,
Ron Sparks, Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Sean Hughes, Rik Mayall, Adrian
Edmonson, Malcolm Hardee
Physical comedy
Some what similar to slapstick, this form of
comedy uses physical movement and gestures.
Physical comedy is often influenced by clowning.
Jim Carrey, Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, Chevy
Chase, John Ritter, Conan O'Brien, Mr. Bean, Lee Evans, Max Wall,
Matthew Perry, Kathy Greenwood, The Three Stooges, Lano & Woodley,
Lucille Ball
Prop comedy
Comedy that relies on ridiculous props, casual
Carrot Top, Jeff Dunham, Gallagher, Timmy Mallett, The Amazing
jackets or everyday objects used in humorous ways. Johnathan
Surreal comedy
Surreal humour is a form of humor based on bizarre Spike Milligan, Eddie Izzard, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey, The Mighty Boosh,
juxtapositions, absurd situations, and nonsense
Steven Wright, Monty Python, Vic and Bob, The Goodies, Jack Handey,
Harry Hill, The Kids in the Hall, Conan O'Brien, Tim and Eric, Paul
Merton, Mitch Hedberg, Firesign Theatre.
Comedic genres
Deadpan comedy Not strictly a style of comedy. Telling jokes
without a change in face expression or change in
Jack Dee, Jimmy Carr, Steven Wright, Peter Cook, Karl Pilkington,
Buster Keaton, Bill Murray, Jim Gaffigan, The Office, Les Dawson, Mike
Birbiglia, Mitch Hedberg, Bruce McCulloch, Demetri Martin, Elliott
Topical comedy relies on headlining/important
news and current affairs. It dates quickly, but is a
popular form of comedy for late night talk shows.
Bill Hicks, Chris Morris, Dennis Miller, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman,
Jay Leno, Andy Hamilton, Bill Maher, Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Chris
Morris, Kathy Griffin, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Stewart Lee, Rory
Bremner, Ben Elton, David Cross, Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle, The
Chaser, The Late Show, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week,Punt
and Dennis, John Holmes, The news quiz.
Wit/Word play
Wit and word play are more intellectual forms of
comedy based on clever, often subtle manipulation
of language (though puns can be crude and
Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare, The Simpsons, Oscar Wilde,
Rodney Marks, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Stephen Fry, Firesign
Insult Comedy
Insult comedy is a form of comedy which consists
mainly of offensive insults directed at the
performer's audience and/or other performers.
Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Andrew Dice Clay, Frankie Boyle, Sam
Kinison, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, Marcus
Valerius Martialis, Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli.
A fiction film that parodies the conventions of
documentary style.
Borat, This is Spinal Tap, The Monkees, The Rutles, Summer Heights
High, Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo, The Office, Bruno (character)
Cringe comedy
A comedy of embarrassment, in which the humour Ricky Gervais, Richard Herring, The Office, Alan Partridge, Curb Your
comes from inappropriate actions or words. Usually Enthusiasm, Peep Show, The Proposal, The Inbetweeners
popular in television shows and film, but
occasionally in stand-up as well.
A small episode of comedy practised and recorded.
A comedy drama creating a comic situation which
Fawlty Towers, Porridge, Dad's Army, Black Adder, Gavin and Stacey,
develops over a longer period of time than a sketch; My Family, My Wife and Kids, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Office, Open
commonly found as television series
All Hours, Only Fools and Horses, Dinner Ladies
Musical Comedy
A form of alternative comedy where humor is
mostly derived from music and/or lyrics.
The recreating of a book, film or play for humour, it French and Saunders, Mitchell and webb, i'm sorry i haven't a clue
can be used to make fun of or ridicule a certain
Jennifer Saunders, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, Chappelle's
Show, Firesign Theatre, In Living Color, Catherine Tate
Bill Bailey, Tim Minchin, The Lonely Island, Flight Of The Conchords,
Mitch Benn, Tenacious D, Spinal Tap, Stepehen Lynch, "Weird Al"
Yankovic, Bob Rivers
Gross out
Gross out
Gross out describes a movement in art (often comic), which aims to shock the audience with controversial material
such as toilet humour or nudity.
Jackass and its UK cousin, Dirty Sanchez, were the pioneers of "gross out television". Featuring dangerous stunts,
nudity, profanity, and furious action never seen before on the small screen, both series started on MTV, and
progressed to iconic feature-length movies. Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, Animaniacs, and South Park
transferred the gross-out television genre to the medium of small screen animation.
Gross-out theatre is increasingly practised on stage, in particular at the Edinburgh Festival, but also in the larger,
more adventurous, British theatres.
The prime examples of the above are the stage version of the contemporary drama Trainspotting by bestselling
playwright and author Irvine Welsh; the controversial New York musical Urinetown by Kotis and Hollmann; the
outrageous anarchistic schlockomedy (shock horror comedy) musical about a Manchester jobcentre Restart [1] by
Komedy Kollective; and performances by another United Kingdom-based act, Forced Entertainment, who devised
the iconic theatrical gorefest Bloody Mess [2]. Their recent show, The World In Pictures, featured cavemen and
women, dodgy haircuts, semi-nudity, and plenty of improvisation, accompanied by an offbeat soundtrack [3].
Controversial American cartoonist and vaudeville performer Basil Wolverton invented his trademark "spaghetti and
meatballs" style of artwork.
Various mainly-British artists helped create a flourishing gross-out art scene, which began mainly in the 1990s, the
most famous of which were Damien Hirst, known for encasing mutilated rotting cattle in formaldehyde, and making
art of endangered marine species such as sharks in formaldehyde tanks, and Tracey Emin, whose exhibit of an
unmade bed featured used tampons, condoms and blood-stained underwear. Once he had established his popstar
status in the artsworld, Hirst also made a short comedy movie featuring Eddie Izzard.
Gross out themes are common in popular music genres, especially rap and heavy rock, where shock value helps
create marketable notoriety. Bands include Blink182 famous for including breast and fart jokes in their songs,
Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and many others, whose material shocks the music world.
Sometimes the line between truth and urban myth is blurred by the sensationalist sections of the media. For example,
Frank Zappa never ate steaming excrement live on-stage, and the famed incident involving Ozzy Osbourne biting a
head off of a bat was actually unintentional (he thought the bat was a prop).
Similar themes are also sometimes conveyed in music videos, the aptly-named Gross Out, a single from popular
indie/garage rock band, The Vines' whose second single from their third album Vision Valley, had a video shot in
16mm, filmed by director Josh Logue.
Gross out
See also
• Gross-out film
• Screwball comedy film
[1] http:/ / www. komedykollective. com/ id8. html
[2] http:/ / www. forcedentertainment. com/ ?lid=2
[3] http:/ / www. forcedentertainment. com/ ?lid=93
Guerrilla improv
Guerrilla improv is a form of comedy usually done in a crowd or on the streets, as opposed to in a studio or a
comedy club. The term makes an analogy to guerrilla warfare.
A style of street theater pioneered and championed by Improv Everywhere, guerrilla improv aims to entertain
bystanders in public spaces when they are least expecting it. Each unique performance is termed a mission. Missions
are similar to pranks, but are not at the expense of non-performers.
The scenes created in guerrilla improv are developed using the techniques of improvisational theatre.
See also
• Improv Everywhere
• The Tom Green Show
• Daryn Jones
Hack (comedy)
Hack (comedy)
Hack is a term used primarily in stand-up comedy, but also sketch comedy, improv comedy, and comedy writing to
refer to a joke or premise for a joke that is considered obvious, has been frequently used by comedians in the past,
and/or is blatantly copied from its original author. Alternatively, it may refer to a comedian or performance group
that uses hack material or similarly unoriginal devices in their act. Since comedians and people who work with
comedians are typically exposed to many more jokes than the general public, they may recognize a topic, joke or
performer as hack before the general public does; as a result, even performers who do well on stage may be
considered hacks by their peers.
The word "hack" is derived from the British term "hackneyed" meaning, "over used and thus cheapened, or trite".[1]
Occasionally a performer will be one of the first to develop a joke about a specific topic, and later on others will
follow suit to excess. This renders the topic "hack" to new performers, but is not considered a detriment to the
originator of the material.
Reusing humor can also be joke thievery if it is taken without permission from another specific comedian.
From the Catskill and Vaudeville beginnings of stand-up comedy, hacking was common[2] as there were few chances
that a performer from one area would meet one from another and a single twenty-minute set could sustain a comic
for a decade.
In the late fifties and early sixties, Will Jordan perfected a caricature performance of Ed Sullivan (Incorporating
mispronouncing the word "show" as "shoe") that became the basis for all other impersonators that followed.[2] Soon
after, Jackie Mason, Rich Little and others began adapting Jordan's caricature to their own acts. This resulted in
many of Jordan's shows being canceled due to other performers doing his bit two weeks previous to his shows at the
same venue.[2] John Byner, in turn, developed his own, oft-imitated, version of Jordan's caricature that George Carlin
cited as being set up with the words, "Now you know!"
In the sixties, comedy took a turn for the more personal. Comics like Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin
were no longer regurgitating joke after joke, but instead were offering insight to their own lives from a comedic
point of view. As a result, jokes and persona were largely unique to the performer. Hacking proved more difficult,
but also more offensive to the writer.[2]
In the seventies joke theft became more prominent with the boom in popularity of comedy. The eighties and nineties
saw the popularity of stand-up comedy continue to increase. With the advent of pay-cable networks, comics were
afforded the opportunity to perform their routines unfettered. With this came a new type of joke theft wherein the
first comic to tell a stolen joke on some sort of media became the one associated with the joke.
For many years, Denis Leary had been friends with fellow comedian Bill Hicks. However, when Hicks heard Leary's
1992 album No Cure For Cancer, he felt Leary had stolen his act and material. The friendship ended abruptly as a
At least three stand-up comedians have gone on the record stating they believe Leary stole not just some of Hicks'
material but his persona and attitude.[3] [4] [5] [6] As a result of this, it is claimed that after Hicks' death from
pancreatic cancer, an industry joke began to circulate about Leary's transformation and subsequent success (roughly;
"Question: Why is Denis Leary a star while Bill Hicks is unknown? Answer: Because there's no cure for cancer").[6]
Also in the nineties, began a nearly universal hack of an impression of Bill Cosby, the style of which was first
unveiled by Eddie Murphy in his concert Raw.[7]
More recent times have seen public rivalries between comics over the subject of hacking. Louis CK has maintained a
relatively quiet rivalry with Dane Cook over three bits on Cook's album, Retaliation that allegedly bear some
Hack (comedy)
resemblance to three bits on CK's album Live in Houston. This claim is further complicated by both artists having
performed bits on naming kids that strongly resemble "My Real Name", a bit from Steve Martin's album, A Wild and
Crazy Guy.[8]
Joe Rogan, by contrast has been very open in accusing Carlos Mencia of hacking.[9]
Hacking in the media
Hacking is not limited to stand-up comedy. Often entire premises in film and television shows are taken from comics
or even other media.
Dick Cavett and Woody Allen often cited to each other the many instances of their jokes appearing in television
shows without their permission, sometimes even falsely attributed to each other.
Allens' jokes and topics were regularly stolen by the highly successful television show, Laugh In.[10] This proved
extremely painful to Allen.
In more recent times a bit performed by Sam Kinison regarding Jesus' domestic issues after the resurrection later
appeared in sketch form on the Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia starring Carlos Mencia[11]
Several episodes of The Simpsons, including "Missionary: Impossible", "Treehouse of Horror XIII", and "The Italian
Bob" have poked fun at Family Guy, implying that MacFarlane's show is guilty of stealing jokes and premises from
the Simpsons. However, the producers of both shows have said that there is no serious feud between the two of them
and their shows.[12] [13]
Recourse and consequences
There is, historically, very little legal recourse taken in cases of hacking. Some comics, however, have chosen to
exact their own justice. W. C. Fields reportedly paid fifty dollars to have a hack comic's legs broken.[2] Boston
stand-ups Kevin Knox and PJ Thibodeau interrogated Dan Kinno in the green room of a comedy club.[2]
Typically, the repercussions of hacking are limited to personal animosity. On this issue, it sometimes appears that the
offended comics are alone in their concern. For example, on February 10, 2007 at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles,
Joe Rogan argued on-stage with Carlos Mencia, accusing him of hacking other comedians' work. According to
Rogan's account, he had just finished his act and introduced the next performer, Ari Shaffir, as a comedian who
opens for "Carlos Men-steal-ia".[14] Mencia took offense and walked on the stage. The Comedy Store later cancelled
Rogan's shows and suggested he "take a break" from the Comedy Store, which was then followed by Rogan's
manager (who also manages Mencia) dropping Rogan.[15] The entire incident was filmed as part of Rogan's internet
reality show, JoeShow. It was then made available to watch or download at numerous websites, including
Joe Rogan said, "People take plagiarism so seriously in all other forms of media, whether it's music, newspapers,
books, but with comedy, it's like, 'You're on your own, fucker.'"[2]
The internet, however, has opened up a new medium for "outing" a hack. Websites like YouTube allow users to
upload videos and share them with others. This has made it much easier to show evidence of joke thievery in a
public forum.
Steven Rosenthal and Steve Silberberg have published a Guide to Hack to help new comics avoid hacking,[16] which
references (and gives credit to) an earlier work on the same subject by Andy Kindler called, The Hacks Handbook: A
Starter Kit [17].[18]
Hack (comedy)
Commonly cited examples of hack joke topics in stand-up comedy
Viagra, especially in regard to erections lasting longer than 4 hours.
Airplane Food.
Wearing Comical Clothing.
How the name iPad reminds one of feminine hygiene products
Prop Comedy.
The Comedian's Personal Appearance, including;
• The comedian's resemblance to the probable offspring of an unlikely celebrity coupling, such as Chewbacca
and Estelle Getty
• Naming yourself after your clothing, example: Mikey Two Shoes
• Jokes about being bald.
Masturbation, specifically offering a number of slang terms for the act in rapid succession.
Michael Jackson
Outdated topical humor, such as a joke about Lorena Bobbit or the Macarena.
Ethnic taxi drivers.
Hurricane names.
Terror alert codes.
• Impressions
• Presidents.
• Arnold Schwarzenegger.
• Christopher Walken.
• Using racial slurs.
• Racial Minorities, especially Asian, Indian, Black and Latino.
• Ethnic Minorities, especially Italian or Jewish.
• The Comedian's own Mother or Father.
• Differences Between Groups of People.
• Men vs. Women / Boys vs. Girls.
• Black People vs. White People vs. Latinos vs. Asians.
• Homosexuals vs. Heterosexuals
Differences between cats and dogs.
Invading Canada.
Jokes about the differences between Los Angeles or New York and another place in America.
Jokes about being part one race and part another, and halfway embodying stereotypical characteristics of each.
References to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); the length of time spent in queues, the demographics of
those lining up, etc.
Hack (comedy)
Common examples of hack punchlines
• The "Mom Switcheroo:" When a character in a risque story involving the comedian is revealed through the
sentence "So I said, Mom--" to be the comedian's mother.
• Overweight comics saying "I'll move the mic stand so you can see me."
• "The only way you would have a funny bone in your body is if I was having sex with you."
• Puns involving Michael Jackson "Getting Off" with regard to the children involved in molestation scandals
• "I don't go to your job and knock the dick out of your mouth" (and variations, when dealing with a heckler)
• "One in three people is (ugly/annoying/etc) if the person to your left isn't and the person to your right isn't, it's
External links
• "The Hacks Handbook: A Starter Kit" [17] by Andy Kindler
[1] "http:/ / stason. org/ TULARC/ art/ hack-stand-up-comedy"
[2] From The Magazine : Radar Online (http:/ / www. radaronline. com/ from-the-magazine/ 2007/ 02/ take_the_funny_and_run_3. php)
[3] Kevin Booth and Michael Bertin (2005). Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-719829-9.
[4] Joe Rogan (2005). "Carlos Mencia is a weak minded joke thief" (http:/ / www. joerogan. net/ main. php?archives=1& article=44170). . Retrieved 2006-10-28.
[5] Rogan, Joe. Interview. Playboy Magazine. October 2003.
[6] Tim McIntire (1998). "Dark Times: Bill Hicks: Frequently Asked Questions" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060320081614/ http:/ / www.
billhicks. com/ darktimes/ other/ darktimes20/ faq/ faq. html). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. billhicks. com/
darktimes/ other/ darktimes20/ faq/ faq. html) on 2006-10-11. . Retrieved 2006-10-28.
[7] Janet Maslin (1987). "'Eddie Murphy Raw'" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 1987/ 12/ 19/ movies/ eddie-murphy-raw. html). New York Times. .
[8] Steal this Joke: Louis C.K. vs. Dane Cook vs. Steve Martin | Dead-Frog - A Comedy Blog (http:/ / www. dead-frog. com/ blog/ entry/
steal_this_joke_louis_ck_vs_dane_cook_vs_steve_martin/ )
[9] Joe Rogan confronts Carlos Mencia at Comedy Store - People (http:/ / www. monstersandcritics. com/ people/ news/ article_1265383. php/
[10] (http:/ / www. sheckymagazine. com/ cavett. htm)
[11] YouTube - Mencia Steals From Sam Kinison (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=GOnPFix5uLE)
[12] Nathan Rabin (2006-04-26). "Interview: Matt Groening" (http:/ / www. avclub. com/ content/ node/ 47771). The A.V. Club. Onion Inc.. .
Retrieved 2006-12-12. "The rivalry is very affectionate..."
[13] Family Guy "Timeline at" (http:/ / familyguy. tktv. net/ news. html). Family Guy. "You know, it's funny. Matt Groening
and I actually have a great relationship..."
[14] (http:/ / www. joerogan. net/ main. php?archives=1& article=53945)
[15] "Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia face off at comedy club" (http:/ / www. recordonline. com/ apps/ pbcs. dll/ article?AID=/ 20070215/
ENTERTAIN/ 70215009). . Retrieved 2007-02-15.
[16] The Complete Guide To Hack Stand-Up Comedy (http:/ / stason. org/ TULARC/ art/ hack-stand-up-comedy/ )
[17] http:/ / www. nathansmart. com/ akhh. pdf
[18] NATIONAL LAMPOON February 1991 pp. 34-36
A heckler is a person who shouts a disparaging
comment at a performance or event, or interrupting
set-piece speeches, for example at a political meeting,
with intent to disturb its performers or participants.
The term originates from the textile trade, where to
heckle was to tease or comb out flax or hemp fibres.
The additional meaning, to interrupt speakers with
awkward or embarrassing questions, was added in
A heckler in Washington, D.C. leans across a police line toward a
Scotland, and specifically perhaps in early nineteenth
demonstration of Iranians during the Iran hostage crisis, August 1980
century Dundee, a famously radical town where the
hecklers who combed the flax had established a
reputation as the most radical and belligerent element in the workforce. In the heckling factory, one heckler would
read out the day's news while the others worked, to the accompaniment of interruptions and furious debate.[1]
Heckling was a major part of the vaudeville theater. Sometimes it was incorporated into the play. Milton Berle's
weekly TV variety series in the 1960s featured a heckler named Sidney Spritzer (German/Yiddish for "Squirter")
played by Borscht Belt comic Irving Benson. In the 1970s and 1980s, The Muppet Show, which was also built
around a vaudeville theme, featured two hecklers, Statler & Waldorf (two old men named after famous hotels).
Heckles are now particularly likely to be heard at stand-up comedy performances, to unsettle or compete with the
Politicians speaking before live audiences have less latitude to deal with hecklers. Legally, such conduct may
constitute protected free speech. Strategically, coarse or belittling retorts to hecklers entails personal risk
disproportionate to any gain. Some politicians, however, have been known to improvise a relevant and witty
response despite these pitfalls. One acknowledged expert at this was Harold Wilson, British Prime Minister in the
Heckler: (interrupting a passage in a Wilson speech about Labour's spending plans) What about Vietnam?
Wilson: The government has no plans to increase public expenditure in Vietnam.
Heckler: Rubbish!
Wilson: I'll come to your special interest in a minute, sir.[1]
In an era when it was not uncommon for rotten fruit and vegetables to be thrown at speakers, Australian Prime
Minister Ben Chifley once exhorted his audience to lend him their ears, paraphrasing Mark Antony. Immediately, a
large cabbage landed on the stage. Chifley replied "I said your ears, Sir, not your head".
In 1992, then-Presidential candidate Bill Clinton was interrupted by Bob Rafsky, a member of the AIDS activism
group ACT UP, who accused him of "dying of ambition to be president"[2] during a rally. After becoming visibly
agitated, Clinton took the microphone off the stand, pointed to the heckler and directly responded to him by saying,
"[...] I have treated you and a whole lot of other people who have interrupted my rallies with a hell of a lot more
respect than you treated me. And it's time to start thinking about that!" Clinton was then met with raucous
Audience control
One modern political approach to discourage heckling is to ensure that major events are given before a "tame"
audience of sympathizers, or conducted to allow restrictions on who may remain on the premises (see also,
astroturfing). The downside is this may make heckling incidents even more newsworthy. This happened to Tony
Blair during a photo op visit to a hospital during the 2001 general election campaign, and again in 2003 during a
In 2004, American Vice President Dick Cheney was interrupted mid-speech by Perry Patterson, a middle-aged
mother in a pre-screened rally audience. After various supportive outbursts that were permitted ("Four more years,"
"Go Bush!"), Patterson uttered "No, no, no, no" and was removed from the speech area and told to leave. She
refused, and was arrested for criminal trespass.[5]
Later, in 2005, Cheney received some heckling that was broadcast during his trip to New Orleans, after Hurricane
Katrina ravaged the area. The heckling occurred during a press conference in Gulfport, Mississippi, in an area that
was cordoned off for public safety reasons, and then further secured for the press conference. Nevertheless,
emergency room physician Ben Marble got close enough to the proceedings and could be heard yelling, "Go fuck
yourself, Mr. Cheney." Cheney laughed it off and continued speaking.[6] The context precedent had been a similar
incident regarding Senator Patrick Joseph Leahy, Vermont, and Mister Cheney, the previous year.
During a speech by Jack Straw at the 2005 Labour Party conference, 82-year old, anti-war protestor Walter
Wolfgang (a former member of Labour Action for Peace) was forcefully ejected from the audience after yelling
during Straw's speech. He repeatedly shouted "nonsense" and "that's a lie" to Straw's talking about the establishment
of democracy in Iraq. His security pass confiscated by stewards, Wolfgang was arrested under the Terrorism Act
when trying to re-enter the conference. After significant criticism from the media and other politicians, Tony Blair
and Labour party officials apologized for the event and Wolfgang received a hero's welcome on returning to the
On the 15th of October 2005 the Scotsman reported[7] "Iranian ambassador Dr Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli...
speaking at the annual Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament conference... During his speech to the CND several
people were told to leave the room following protests at Iran's human rights record. Several protesters shouted:
"Fascists," at the ambassador and the organisers of the conference. Walter Wolfgang, the 82-year-old peace
campaigner who was forced out of the Labour Party conference last month, was in the audience."
On Thursday, April 20, 2006, a heckler from the Falun Gong spiritual movement entered the US White House
grounds as a reporter and interrupted a formal arrival ceremony for Chinese President Hu Jintao. Moments into Mr
Hu's speech at the event, Wang Wenyi, perched on the top tier of the stands reserved for the press, began screaming
in English and Chinese: "President Bush stop him. Stop this visit. Stop the killing and torture."[8] President Bush
later apologised to his guest.[9]
On September 9, 2009, Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted "you lie!" at President Barack Obama after
President Obama stated that his health care plan would not subsidize coverage for illegal immigrants during a speech
he was making to a joint session of Congress. Wilson later apologized for his outburst.[10]
Hecklers can also appear at sporting events, and usually (but not always) direct their taunts at a visiting team. Fans of
the Philadelphia Eagles American football team are notorious for heckling; among the most infamous incidents were
booing a performer dressed as Santa Claus in a halftime show in 1968, and cheering at the career-ending injury of
opposing player Michael Irvin in 1999, as well as routinely booing the Eagles themselves if they do not perform up
to expectations. Often, sports heckling will also involve throwing objects onto the field; this has led most sports
stadiums to ban glass containers and bottlecaps. Another famous heckler is Robert Szasz, who regularly attends
Tampa Bay Rays baseball games and is known for loudly heckling one opposing player per game or series. Former
Yugoslav football star Dejan Savićević is involved in an infamous incident with a heckler in which during an
interview, a man on the street is heard shouting off-camera: "You're a piece of shit!" Dejan berated the man, and
went on to finish the interview, without missing a beat.
In English and Scottish football, heckling and swearing from the stands is common, and football chants such as the
referee's a wanker and who ate all the pies? are known throughout most stadia.
Australian sporting audiences are known for creative heckling. Perhaps the most famous is Yabba who had a
grandstand at the Sydney Cricket Ground named after him, and now a statue.
The sport of cricket is particularly notorious for heckling between the teams themselves, which is known as sledging.
In the NHL one of the most famous heckling incidents was with Tie Domi and a Philadelphia Flyers fan. After
exchanging some words and squirting of water at each other, the fan fell into the penalty box, where Tie started to
punch the fan.
At the NBA Drafts of recent years, many fans have gone with heckling ESPN NBA analyst and host of, Quite
Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, Stephen A. Smith. Most notably, The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of
Gentlemen heckles him with a sock puppet dubbed as Stephen A. himself.
Tennis fans are also fairly noted for heckling. Some may call out during a service point to distract either player.
Another common heckle from tennis fans is cheering after a service fault, which is considered to be rude and
At the University of New Hampshire, the UNH Pep Band continually shouts disparaging phrases during gameplay,
such as "the plan won't work", towards the other team to the amusement of fans in attendance.
In 2009, then Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios was a victim of a heckling incident outside after a fund-raising
event. The incident occurred after Rios declined to sign an autograph for a young fan, the same day he went 0 for 5
with 5 strikeouts in a game against the Los Angeles Angels. An older man yelled "The way you played today Alex,
you should be lucky someone wants your autograph." Rios then replied with "Who gives a fuck," repeating it until
being ushered into a vehicle. Rios did apologize the next day [11] , but was eventually released by the team later that
Many stand-up comedians devise a strategy for quashing such outbursts, usually by having a store of retorts on hand.
The idea is to get the audience laughing at the interruption.
Heckling in Switzerland
While heckling within a political context is not unknown in Switzerland[12] it is frowned upon in an artistic context,
unlike in the Anglo-Saxon countries where heckling is generally perceived to be an acceptable form of protest or
audience interaction.
See also
Audience Participation
Mystery Science Theater 3000, a TV show built on humorous heckling.
Troll (Internet)
External links
• "Blair's Heckler States His Case" [13] - BBC News
• "Why do people heckle?" [14] - BBC News
• Conway, Andrew. "You're Ugly, Your Dick Is Small, and Everybody Fucks Your Mother—The Stand-Up
Comedian's Response to the Heckler" [15]. Maledicta Vol. 11, December 1995.
• White, Michael. "A brief history of heckling" [16], The Guardian, April 28, 2006.
[1] McKie, David. "Unplotted ripostes" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ comment/ story/ 0,3604,1471886,00. html), The Guardian, 28 April
[2] Toner, Robin (1992-03-27). "NY Times" (http:/ / query. nytimes. com/ gst/ fullpage. html?sec=health&
res=9E0CE6DA123FF934A15750C0A964958260). New York Times. . Retrieved 2009-03-12.
[3] 30 maart 2006. "Clinton's Angry Response to Heckler" (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=JGTQZnC-6a4). YouTube. . Retrieved
[4] "Blair's heckler states his case" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ uk_politics/ 2690549. stm), BBC, 24 January 2003.
[5] "Woman utters No" (http:/ / www. eugeneweekly. com/ 2006/ 02/ 09/ coverstory. html). . Retrieved 2009-03-12.
[6] "Dick Cheney: "Go F-k Yourself"" (http:/ / www. crooksandliars. com/ 2005/ 09/ 08. html#a4856). . Retrieved
[7] "Iran denies troop attack links" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070513220441/ http:/ / news. scotsman. com/ latest. cfm?id=2094782005).
Archived from the original (http:/ / news. scotsman. com/ latest. cfm?id=2094782005) on 2007-05-13. .
[8] "No breakthrough in US, China talks" (http:/ / cbs13. com/ topstories/ topstories_story_110093156. html)
[9] Goldenberg, Suzanne (2006-04-21). ""Protester gatecrashes Hu visit as China and US fail to make progress"" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/
frontpage/ story/ 0,,1758305,00. html). London: Guardian. . Retrieved 2009-03-12.
[10] "Error: no |title= specified when using {{[[Template:Cite web|Cite web (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=foOioaQf-c8)]}}"]. .
[11] http:/ / www. cbc. ca/ sports/ baseball/ story/ 2009/ 06/ 05/ sp-rios-youtube. html
[12] "May Day marked by violent clashes" (http:/ / www. swissinfo. org/ eng/ search/ Result. html?siteSect=882& ty=st& sid=6674889). . Retrieved 2009-03-12.
[13] http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ uk_politics/ 2690549. stm
[14] http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 1/ hi/ magazine/ 4296784. stm
[15] http:/ / www. juggling. org/ ~conway/ juggler/ MAL. TXT
[16] http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ g2/ story/ 0,,1763333,00. html
History of comedy
History of comedy
Comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, komoithia) as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse generally
intended to amuse, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its
academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian
democracy, the public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic
poets at the theaters.[1] The theatrical genre can be simply described as a dramatic performance which pits two
societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye famously depicted these two opposing
sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old",[2] but this dichotomy is seldom described as an entirely
satisfactory explanation. A later view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively
powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes; in this sense, the youth is understood
to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse to ruses which
engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.[3]
Much comedy contains variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, repetitiveness, and the effect of
opposite expectations, but there are many recognized genres of comedy. Satire and political satire use ironic comedy
to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of
humor. Satire is a type of comedy. Parody borrows the form of some popular genre, artwork, or text but uses certain
ironic changes to critique that form from within (though not necessarily in a condemning way). Screwball comedy
derives its humor largely from bizarre, surprising (and improbable) situations or characters. Black comedy is defined
by dark humor that makes light of so called dark or evil elements in human nature. Similarly scatological humor,
sexual humor, and race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways. A comedy of
manners typically takes as its subject a particular part of society (usually upper class society) and uses humor to
parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts
burgeoning romance in humorous terms, and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love.
The word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία kōmōithía, which is a compound either of κῶμος
kômos (revel) or κώμη kṓmē (village) and ᾠδή ōidḗ (singing); it is possible that κῶμος itself is derived from κώμη,
and originally meant a village revel. The adjective "comic" (Greek κωμικός kōmikós), which strictly means that
which relates to comedy is, in modern usage, generally confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking".[4] Of this, the
word came into modern usage through the Latin comoedia and Italian commedia and has, over time, passed through
various shades of meaning.[5]
Greeks and Romans confined the word "comedy" to descriptions
of stage-plays with happy endings. In the Middle Ages, the term
expanded to include narrative poems with happy endings and a
lighter tone. In this sense Dante used the term in the title of his
poem, La Divina Commedia. As time progressed, the word came
more and more to be associated with any sort of performance
intended to cause laughter.[5] During the Middle Ages, the term
"comedy" became synonymous with satire, and later humour in
general, after Aristotle's Poetics was translated into Arabic in the
medieval Islamic world, where it was elaborated upon by Arabic
writers and Islamic philosophers, such as Abu Bischr, his pupil
Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. Due to cultural differences,
The Greco-Roman mask of Thalia in a Three Stooges
slapstick short title card.
History of comedy
they disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes
and forms, such as hija (satirical poetry). They viewed comedy as simply the "art of reprehension", and made no
reference to light and cheerful events, or troublous beginnings and happy endings, associated with classical Greek
comedy. After the Latin translations of the 12th century, the term "comedy" thus gained a more general semantic
meaning in Medieval literature.[6]
Comedy is one of the original four genres of literature as defined by the philosopher Aristotle in his work called
Poetics. The other three genres are Tragedy, Epic, and Lyric. Literature in general is defined by Aristotle as a
mimesis, or imitation of, life. Comedy is the third form of literature, being the most divorced from a true mimesis.
Tragedy is the truest mimesis, followed by epic, comedy and lyric. The genre of comedy is defined by a certain
pattern according to Aristotle's definition. All comedies begin with a low, typically with an "ugly" guy who can't do
anything right. By the end of the story or play, the "ugly" guy has won the "pretty" girl, or whatever it was he was
aiming for at the beginning. Comedies also have elements of the supernatural, typically magic and for the ancient
Greeks the gods. Comedy includes the unrealistic in order to portray the realistic. For the Greeks, all comedies ended
happily which is opposite of tragedy, which ends sadly. The oldest Greek comedy is Homer's Odyssey, the story of
Odysseus and his crew's attempt to return home after the fall of Troy.
Aristophanes, a dramatist of the Ancient Greek Theater wrote 40 comedies, 11 of which survive and are still being
performed. In ancient Greece, comedy seems to have originated in bawdy and ribald songs or recitations apropos of
fertility festivals or gatherings, or also in making fun at other people or stereotypes.[4] Aristotle, in his Poetics, states
that comedy originated in Phallic songs and the light treatment of the otherwise base and ugly. He also adds that the
origins of comedy are obscure because it was not treated seriously from its inception.[7]
In ancient Sanskrit drama, Bharata Muni's Natya Shastra defined humour (hāsyam) as one of the nine nava rasas, or
principle rasas (emotional responses), which can be inspired in the audience by bhavas, the imitations of emotions
that the actors perform. Each rasa was associated with a specific bhavas portrayed on stage. In the case of humour, it
was associated with mirth (hasya).
Comedy took on a different view with the advent of the Christian era. The comic genre was divided by Dante in his
work The Divine Comedy, made up of the epic poems Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Dante's division of comedy
into three sub genres still exist today in various forms. Inferno represents the darkest of all comedies, or what is
known as dark or black comedy. In such comedy, one is forced to laugh or enjoy dark or black topics that one
shouldn't enjoy or laugh at. Generally, most who read the whole Divine Comedy find the Inferno to be the most
enjoyable of the three. At the end of the dark comedy, one is still left with a sense of hope but one has not
necessarily achieved what one has looked for. Purgatorio is made up of what most comedies today possess.
Purgatorio is light hearted, at least compared to Inferno, and yet one still does not achieve fully what one looks for.
As such, Purgatorio leaves the main character with a sense of hope greater than what was felt at the end of Inferno.
Paradiso is the most traditional of the three in way of the Greek standard of comedy. The supernatural play a huge
role in all three poems, but Paradiso ends the happiest of all three with the main character achieving his goal.
Infernal, Purgatorial and Paradisal comedies are the three main genres in which one can place all other comic forms.
The phenomena connected with laughter and that which provokes it have been carefully investigated by
psychologists. They agreed the predominating characteristics are incongruity or contrast in the object, and shock or
emotional seizure on the part of the subject. It has also been held that the feeling of superiority is an essential, if not
the essential, factor: thus Thomas Hobbes speaks of laughter as a "sudden glory". Modern investigators have paid
much attention to the origin both of laughter and of smiling, as well as the development of the "play instinct" and its
emotional expression.
George Meredith, in his 1897 classic Essay on Comedy, said that "One excellent test of the civilization of a country
... I take to be the flourishing of the Comic idea and Comedy; and the test of true Comedy is that it shall awaken
History of comedy
thoughtful laughter." Laughter is said to be the cure to being sick. Studies show, that people who laugh more often,
get sick less.[8] [9]
Comedy may be divided into multiple genres based on the source of humor, the method of delivery, and the context
in which it is delivered. The different forms often overlap, and most comedy can fit into multiple genres. Some of the
sub-genres of comedy are farce, comedy of manners, burlesque, and satire.
Performing arts
Major forms
Dance · Music · Opera · Theatre · Circus Arts
Minor forms
Magic · Puppetry
Drama · Tragedy · Comedy · Tragicomedy · Romance · Satire · Epic · Lyric
Performing arts
Historical forms
Ancient Greek comedy, as practiced by Aristophanes and Menander
Ancient Roman comedy, as practiced by Plautus and Terence
Burlesque, from Music hall and Vaudeville to Performance art
Citizen comedy, as practiced by Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton and Ben Jonson
Clowns such as Richard Tarlton, William Kempe, and Robert Armin
Comedy of humours, as practiced by Ben Jonson and George Chapman
Comedy of intrigue, as practiced by Niccolò Machiavelli and Lope de Vega
Comedy of manners, as practiced by Molière, William Wycherley and William Congreve
Comedy of menace, as practiced by David Campton and Harold Pinter
comédie larmoyante or 'tearful comedy', as practiced by Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée and
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
Commedia dell'arte, as practiced in the twentieth-century by Dario Fo, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Jacques Copeau
Farce, from Georges Feydeau to Joe Orton and Alan Ayckbourn
Laughing comedy, as practiced by Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Restoration comedy, as practiced by George Etherege, Aphra Behn and John Vanbrugh
Sentimental comedy, as practiced by Colley Cibber and Richard Steele
Shakespearean comedy, as practiced by William Shakespeare
Stand-up comedy
Dadaist and Surrealist performance, usually in cabaret form
Theatre of the Absurd, used by some critics to describe Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet and Eugène
Sketch comedy
History of comedy
Comic theatre
Musical comedy and palace •
• One-liner joke
• Blonde jokes
• Shaggy-dog story
• Paddy Irishman joke
List of comedians
List of stand-up
List of musical
List of Australian
List of British comedians
List of Canadian
List of Finnish comedians
List of German language
List of Indian comedians
List of Italian comedians
List of Mexican
List of Puerto Rican
Improvisational theatre
Bouffon comedy
Comic opera
Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a mode of comic performance in which the performer addresses the audience directly,
usually speaking in their own person rather than as a dramatic character.
Impressionist (entertainment)
Alternative comedy
Comedy club
Comedy albums
Events and awards
Mass media
• Comic novel
• Light poetry
• Comedy film
Anarchic comedy film
Gross-out film
Parody film
Romantic comedy film
Screwball comedy film
Slapstick film
British Comedy Awards
Canadian Comedy Awards
Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
The Comedy Festival, in Aspen, formerly the HBO Comedy Arts Festival
Comedy Walk
, monthly comedy festival in Los Angeles
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh Comedy Festival
Halifax Comedy Festival
Just for laughs festival
Leicester Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
New Zealand International Comedy Festival
New York Underground Comedy Festival
HK International Comedy Festival
Vancouver Comedy Festival
History of comedy
Television and radio
• Television comedy
• Situation comedy
• Radio comedy
Lists of comedy television programs
British sitcom
British comedy
Comedy Central - A television channel devoted strictly to comedy.
German television comedy
List of British TV shows remade for the American market
Paramount Comedy (Spain).
Paramount Comedy 1 and 2.
TBS (TV network)
The Comedy Channel (Australia)
The Comedy Channel (UK)
The Comedy Channel (USA) not to be confused with HA! - channels that have merged into Comedy Central.
• The Comedy Network, a Canadian TV channel.
• G.O.L.D
See also
• List of comedies
• Humour
• Aristotle. Poetics.
• Buckham, Philip Wentworth (1827). Theatre of the Greeks [12].
• Marteinson, Peter (2006). On the Problem of the Comic: A Philosophical Study on the Origins of Laughter [13].
Ottawa: Legas Press.
• Pickard-Cambridge, Sir Arthur Wallace
• Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy , 1927.
• The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, 1946.
• The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 1953.
Raskin, Victor (1985). The Semantic Mechanisms of Humor.
Riu, Xavier (1999). Dionysism and Comedy [14].
Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane (2003). Tragedy and Athenian Religion. Oxford University Press.
Trypanis, C.A. (1981). Greek Poetry from Homer to Seferis. University of Chicago Press.
Wiles, David (1991). The Masked Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance.
History of comedy
External links
• History of comedy [15] at the Open Directory Project
• A Vocabulary for Comedy [16] from a professor at Dallas Baptist University
[1] Henderson, J. (1993) Comic Hero versus Political Elite pp.307-19 in Sommerstein, A.H.; S. Halliwell, J. Henderson, B. Zimmerman, ed
(1993). Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis. Bari: Levante Editori.
[2] (Anatomy of Criticism, 1957)
[3] (Marteinson, 2006)
[4] Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, 1934.
[5] Oxford English Dictionary
[6] Webber, Edwin J. (January 1958), "Comedy as Satire in Hispano-Arabic Spain", Hispanic Review (University of Pennsylvania Press) 26 (1):
[7] Aristotle, Poetics, lines beginning at 1449a. (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ cgi-bin/ ptext?lookup=Aristot. + Poet. + 1449a)
[8] LENNY BRUCE (http:/ / www. ep. tc/ realist/ 15/ 03. html) (continued from cover) The Realist No. 15, February 1960
[9] Essay on Comedy, Comic Spirit, by George Meredith (http:/ / emotional-literacy-education. com/ classic-books-online-b/ esycm10. htm) from
the Encyclopedia of the Self, by Mark Zimmerman
[10] This list was compiled with reference to The Cambridge Guide to Theatre (1998).
Improv comedy teacher
The term improv comedy teacher refers to the instructor of an improvisational workshop. Improv comedy teachers
can be part of an established school, associated with a performance venue, or independent. Some of the most notable
schools of improvisation in the United States are Second City Training Center[1] , Groundlings[2] , The Players
Workshop[3] [4] , Upright Citizens Brigade, and Improv Olympic[5] . Improv workshops consist mainly of
on-your-feet creative exercises leading to the spontaneous adlibbing of scenes, often referred to as "an improv" or "a
sketch". This method and structure is often credited to one of improv comedy's founders and earliest teachers, Viola
Spolin. Some of the most notable early improv comedy teachers and innovators are Viola Spolin, Paul Sills,
Josephine Forsberg[6] [7] , David Shepherd[8] , Martin DeMaat[9] , and Del Close[10] . There are many dozens,
possibly even hundreds, of other notable improv comedy teachers in the United States and abroad.
[1] http:/ / www. secondcity. com/
[2] http:/ / www. groundlings. com/ start. htm
[3] http:/ / chicago. metromix. com/ theater/ offbeat/ players-workshop-lakeview/ 133622/ content
[4] http:/ / www. spike. com/ video/ players-workshop-of/ 2773258
[5] http:/ / chicago. ioimprov. com/
[6] http:/ / www. encyclopedia. com/ doc/ 1G1-115347596. html
[7] http:/ / www. improvcomedy. org/ articles/ chichist. html
[8] http:/ / www. interactiveimprov. com/ forewordwb. html
[9] http:/ / www. performink. com/ archives/ obituaries/ DemaatMartin3201. html
[10] http:/ / www. improvcomedy. org/ hall/ close. html
Improvisational theatre
Improvisational theatre
Improvisational theatre (also known as improv or
impro) is a form of theatre in which the
improvisational actors/ improvisers use improvisational
acting techniques to perform spontaneously.
Improvisers typically use audience suggestions to guide
the performance as they create dialogue, setting, and
plot extemporaneously. Improvisational theatre
performances tend to be comedic, although some
forms, including Playback Theatre and Theatre of the
Oppressed, are not necessarily intended to be comedic.
An improvisation troupe at the University of Florida
Many improvisational actors/ improvisers also work as scripted actors, and "improv" techniques are often taught in
standard acting classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and
spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop.
Improvisational comedy
Modern improvisational comedy, as it is practiced in the West, falls
generally into two categories: shortform and longform.
Shortform improv consists of short scenes usually constructed from a
predetermined game, structure, or idea and driven by an audience
suggestion. Many shortform games were first created by Viola Spolin
based on her training from Neva Boyd[1] . The shortform improv
comedy television series Whose Line Is It Anyway? has familiarized
American and British viewers with shortform.
Longform improv performers create shows in which short scenes are
often interrelated by story, characters, or themes. Longform shows may
take the form of an existing type of theatre, for example a full-length
play or Broadway-style musical such as Spontaneous Broadway.
Longform improvisation is especially performed in Chicago, New
York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. One of the more
well-known longform structures is the Harold, developed by
ImprovOlympic cofounder Del Close. Many such longform structures
now exist.
Three improvisers performing long form improv
comedy in Chicago.
An improvisational comedy troupe performing a
shortform game based on direction from the
audience; in this case spoofing a hard rock band
performing a song made up on the spot.
Improvisational theatre
Improvised performance is as old as performance itself. From the 1500s to the 1700s, Commedia dell'arte performers
improvised based on a broad outline in the streets of Italy and in the 1890s theatrical theorists and directors such as
Konstantin Stanislavski and Jacques Copeau, founders of two major streams of acting theory, both heavily utilised
improvisation in acting training and rehearsal.[2]
While some people credit Dudley Riggs as the first vaudevillian to use audience suggestions to create improvised
sketches, modern theatrical improvisation is generally accepted to have taken form in the classroom with the
theatre games of Viola Spolin in the 1940s and Keith Johnstone in the 1970s. These rehearsal-room activities
evolved quickly into an independent artform that many consider worthy of presentation before a paying audience.
Spolin can probably be considered the American Grandmother of Improv. She influenced the first generation of
Improv at The Compass Players in Chicago, which led to The Second City. Her son, Paul Sills, along with David
Shepherd, started The Compass Players and The Second City. They were among the first organized troupes in
Chicago, Illinois and from their success, the modern Chicago improvisational comedy movement was spawned.
Much of the current "rules" of comedic improv were first formalized in Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s,
initially among The Compass Players troupe. From most accounts Elaine May was central to this intellectual effort.
Mike Nichols, Ted Flicker, and Del Close were her most frequent collaborators in this regard. When The Second
City opened its doors on December 16th, 1959, Viola Spolin began training new improvisers through a series of
classes and exercises which became the cornerstone of modern improv training. By the mid 1960s, VSpolin's classes
were handed over to her protégé, Jo Forsberg who further developed Spolin's methods into a one-year course, which
eventually became The Players Workshop, the first official school of improvisation in the USA. During this time Jo
Forsberg trained many of the performers who went on to star on The Second City stage.
Many of the original cast of Saturday Night Live came from The Second City and the franchise has produced such
comedy stars as Mike Myers, Chris Farley and John Belushi.
Simultaneously, Keith Johnstone's group The Theatre Machine, which originated in London, was touring Europe.
This work gave birth to Theatresports, at first secretly in Johnstone's workshops, and eventually in public when he
moved to Canada. Toronto has been home to a rich improv tradition.
In 1984 Dick Chudnow (Kentucky Fried Theater) founded ComedySportz in Milwaukee, WI. Expansion began with
the addition of ComedySportz-Madison (WI), in 1985. The first Comedy League of America National Tournament
was held in 1988, with 10 teams participating. The league is now known as World Comedy League and boasts a
roster of 19 international cities.
In San Francisco, The Committee theater was active during the 1960s.
Modern political improvisation's roots include Jerzy Grotowski's work in Poland during the late 1950s and early
1960s, Peter Brook's "happenings" in England during the late 1960s, Augusto Boal's "Forum Theatre" in South
America in the early 1970s, and San Francisco's The Diggers' work in the 1960s. Some of this work led to pure
improvisational performance styles, while others simply added to the theatrical vocabulary and were, on the whole,
avant garde experiments.
Joan Littlewood, the English actress and director who was active from the 1930s to 1970s, made extensive use of
improv in developing plays for performance. However she was successfully prosecuted twice for allowing her actors
to improvise in performance. Until 1968, British law required scripts to be approved by the Lord Chamberlain's
Office. The department also sent inspectors to some performances to check that the approved script was complied
with exactly.
Improvisational theatre
Improvisation in film and television
Many directors have made use of improvisation in the creation of both main-stream and experimental films. Many
silent filmmakers such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton used improvisation in the making of their films,
developing their gags while filming and altering the plot to fit. The Marx Brothers were notorious for deviating from
the script they were given, their ad libs often becoming part of the standard routine and making their way into their
films. Many people, however, make a distinction between ad libbing and improvising.
The British director Mike Leigh makes extensive use of improvisation in the creation of his films, including
improvising important moments in the characters lives that will not even appear in the film. This Is Spinal Tap and
other mockumentary films of director Christopher Guest are created with a mix of scripted and unscripted material
and Blue in the Face is a 1995 comedy directed by Wayne Wang and Paul Auster created in part by the
improvisations filmed during the production of their movie Smoke.
Improv comedy techniques have also been used in television and stand-up comedy, in hit shows such as the recent
HBO television show Curb Your Enthusiasm created by Larry David, the UK Channel 4 and ABC television series
Whose Line Is It Anyway (and its spinoff Drew Carey's Green Screen Show), Nick Cannon's improv comedy show
Wild 'N Out, and Thank God You're Here. In Canada, the long-running series Train 48 was improvised from scripts
which contained a minimal outline of each scene. The American show Reno 911! also contained improvised
dialogue based on a plot outline.
Improv as a tool for corporate entertainment and corporate training
Major companies such as The Second City and dozens of business training companies use improv exercises to design
new and interesting corporate entertainment formats and corporate training tools [3]. Many important elements of
successful business development, such as trust, active listening, innovation and the understanding and building of
relationships can be developed using exercises created by Viola Spolin, Paul Sills, Del Close, and Keith Johnstone
and others.
Participants in improv corporate workshops learn a new way of thinking, a new respect for others in negotiations or
transactional relationships, how to be “in the moment“, how to make positive choices that keep doors open, proactive
listening as opposed to passive or even responsive listening, trusting one another to do the right thing and the
benefits from watching the other guy’s back.
Psychology of improvisational theatre
In the field of the Psychology of Consciousness, Eberhard Scheiffele [4] explored the altered state of consciousness
experienced by actors and improvisers in his scholarly paper: Acting: an altered state of consciousness [5]. According
to G. WIlliam Farthing in "The Psychology of Consciousness"(see comparative study [6]), actors (in performance,
drama classes, or in psychodrama) routinely enter into an altered state of consciousness (ASC). Acting is seen as
altering most of the 14 dimensions of changed subjective experience which characterize ASCs according to Farthing,
namely: attention, perception, imagery and fantasy, inner speech, memory, higher-level thought processes, meaning
or significance of experiences, time experience, emotional feeling and expression, level of arousal, self-control,
suggestibility, body image, and sense of personal identity.
Improvisational theatre
Improv process
Improvisational theatre allows an interactive relationship with the audience. Improv groups frequently solicit
suggestions from the audience as a source of inspiration, a way of getting the audience involved, and as a means of
proving that the performance is not scripted. That charge is sometimes aimed at the masters of the art, whose
performances can seem so detailed that viewers may suspect the scenes were planned.
In order for an improvised scene to be successful, the improvisers involved must work together responsively to
define the parameters and action of the scene, in a process of co-creation. With each spoken word or action in the
scene, an improviser makes an offer, meaning that he or she defines some element of the reality of the scene. This
might include giving another character a name, identifying a relationship, location, or using mime to define the
physical environment. These activities are also known as endowment. It is the responsibility of the other improvisers
to accept the offers that their fellow performers make; to not do so is known as blocking, negation, or denial, which
usually prevents the scene from developing. Some performers may deliberately block (or otherwise break out of
character) for comedic effect -- this is known as gagging -- but this generally prevents the scene from advancing and
is frowned upon by many improvisers. Accepting an offer is usually accompanied by adding a new offer, often
building on the earlier one; this is a process improvisers refer to as "Yes, And..." and is considered the cornerstone of
improvisational technique. Every new piece of information added helps the improvisers to refine their characters and
progress the action of the scene.
The unscripted nature of improv also implies no predetermined knowledge about the props that might be useful in a
scene. Improv companies may have at their disposal some number of readily accessible props that can be called upon
at a moment's notice, but many improvisers eschew props in favor of the infinite possibilities available through
mime. In improv, this is more commonly known as 'space object work' or 'space work', not 'mime'. And the props
and locations created by this technique, as 'space objects'. As with all improv offers, improvisers are encouraged to
respect the validity and continuity of the imaginary environment defined by themselves and their fellow performers;
this means, for example, taking care not to walk through the table or "miraculously" survive multiple bullet wounds
from another improviser's gun.
In tune with the unscripted nature, several techniques have arisen with which help improvisers to avoid prescripted
jokes to arise in their scenes. One such technique is known as "rolphing." This is the process which is sometimes
referred to as "vomiting words," and consists of starting with a sound as opposed to a full word. Once the sound is
projected, the improviser is forced to come up with a word related to the sound, often surprising even the speaker
himself. This technique is not so often used in scene however, as it may break the reality of a scene. Instead, it is
often used in preliminary work, setting up a scene, giving the improviser an unexpected and unpredictable scene.
Because improvisers may be required to play a variety of roles without preparation, they need to be able to construct
characters quickly with physicality, gestures, accents, voice changes, or other techniques as demanded by the
situation. The improviser may be called upon to play a character of a different age or sex. Character motivations are
an important part of successful improv scenes, and improvisers must therefore attempt to act according to the
objectives that they believe their character seeks.
Many theatre troupes are devoted to staging improvisational performances and growing the improv community
through their training centres. One of the most widespread is the international organization Theatresports, which was
founded by Keith Johnstone, an English director who wrote what many consider to be the seminal work on the
relationship between status, story telling and improvisational acting, Impro. There are also many independent Improv
groups around the world; a non-exhaustive but lengthy list is available here [7]. In addition to for-profit theatre
troupes, there are several college-based improv groups in the United States that are becoming popularized as a result
of programs such as Whose Line is it Anyway?.
Improvisational theatre
In Europe the special contribution to the theatre of the abstract, the surreal, the irrational and the subconscious have
been part of the stage tradition for centuries. From the 1990s onwards a growing number of European Improv groups
have been set up specifically to explore the possibilities offered by the use of the abstract in improvised performance,
including dance, movement, sound, music, mask work, lighting, and so on. These groups are not especially interested
in comedy, either as a technique or as an effect, but rather in expanding the improv genre so as to incorporate
techniques and approaches that have long been a legitimate part of European theatre.
Improv luminaries
Some key figures in the development of improvisational theatre are Avery Schreiber, Viola Spolin and her son Paul
Sills, founder of Chicago's famed Second City troupe and originator of Theater Games, and Del Close, founder of
ImprovOlympic (along with Charna Halpern) and creator of a longform improv format known as The Harold. Other
luminaries include Keith Johnstone, the British teacher and writer–author of Impro, who founded the Theatre
Machine and whose teachings form the foundation of the popular shortform Theatresports format, Dick Chudnow,
founder of ComedySportz which evolved its family-friendly show format from Johnstone's Theatersports, Stan
Wells, creator of the "Clap-In" longform style and founder of The Empty Stage Comedy Theatre in Los Angeles, and
Bill Johnson, creator/director of The Magic Meathands [8], who pioneered the concept of "Commun-edy Outreach"
by tailoring performances to non-traditional audiences, such as the homeless and foster children.
In 1975 Jonathan Fox founded Playback Theatre, a form of improvised community theatre which is often not
comedic and replays stories as shared by members of the audience.
The Groundlings is a popular and influential improv theatre and training center in Los Angeles, California. The
Groundlings is often seen as the Los Angeles training ground for the "second generation" of improv luminaries and
troupes. Stan Wells developed the "Clap-In" style of longform improvisation here, later using this as the basis for his
own theatre, The Empty Stage which in turn bred multiple troupes utilizing this style.
In the late 1990s, Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh founded the Upright Citizens Brigade
Theatre in New York and later they founded one in Los Angeles. The two theatres host a large improv school.
David Shepherd, with Paul Sills, founded the The Compass Players in Chicago. Shepherd was intent on developing a
true "people's Theatre", and hoped to bring political drama to the stockyards. The Compass went on to play in
numerous forms and companies, in a number of cities including NY and Hyannis, after the founding of The Second
City. A number of Compass members were also founding members of The Second City. In the 1970s, Shepherd
began experimenting with group-created videos. He is the author of "That Movie In Your Head", about these efforts.
Viola Spolin (1999). Improvisation for the Theater Third Edition. ISBN 081014008X.
Twentieth Century Acting Training. ed. Alison Hodge. New York: Routledge, 2001.
http:/ / findarticles. com/ p/ articles/ mi_m0EIN/ is_2002_July_31/ ai_89923644
http:/ / www. psychodrama. vhs-wangen. de/ english. htm
http:/ / taylorandfrancis. metapress. com/ content/ b0c8lr8tffbw49wq/
http:/ / sci-con. org/ 2004/ 12/ levels-of-consciousness/
http:/ / www. fuzzyco. com/ improv/ groups. html
http:/ / www. magicmeathands. com
Povinelli, Daniel J.. "On the possibilities of detecting intentions prior to understanding them" (http:/ / www.
cognitiveevolutiongroup. org/ site100-01/ 1001369/ docs/ djp57_on_the_possibilities. pdf). In B. Malle, D. Baldwin,
& L. Moses (eds.), Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social Cognition. MIT Press 2001.
Improvisational theatre
See also
Ad lib
Atellan Farce
Commedia dell'arte
Duke University Improv
Guerrilla improv
List of improvisational theatre companies
List of improvisational theater festivals
Theatre Strike Force
Further reading
• Coleman, Janet. 1991. The Compass: The Improvisational Theatre that Revolutionized American Comedy.
Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
• Johnstone, Keith. 1981. Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre Rev. ed. London: Methuen, 2007. ISBN
• Nachmanovitch, Stephen. 1990. Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art New York: Penguin-Tarcher. ISBN
• Spolin, Viola. 1967. Improvisation for the Theater. Third rev. ed. Evanston, Il.: Northwestern University Press,
1999. ISBN 081014008X.
External links
• Theatre Strike Force (
Inherently funny word
Inherently funny word
Words may be considered inherently funny, for reasons ranging from onomatopoeia to phonosemantics. Such
words have been used by a range of influential comedians, including W. C. Fields, to enhance the humor of their
For example, the radio panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue includes an occasional round called "Straight Face", in
which the panelists take turns saying a single word. A player is eliminated from the game if anyone in the audience
laughs at their word ("even the merest titter"). The winner is the last player standing.
It is part of the mythology of actors and writers that the consonant plosives (so called because they start suddenly or
"explosively") p, b, t, d, k, and g are the funniest sounds in the English language.[1]
Cultural variation
The concept of inherent humor appears to be heavily dependent on culture. Yiddish and German words, for example,
are a staple of humor in American English, in particular those that begin with the /ʃ/ ("sh") sound, spelled sch- (or
sometimes sh- in Yiddish). Take for example the derisive prefix shm- or schm-, as in "Oedipus schmoedipus!" - the
trick known as shm-reduplication.
Funny numbers
According to Douglas Adams, the idea that the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything"
in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42 is funny because it is an "ordinary, smallish" number.[2]
In the 1996 video Caesar's Writers, former writers for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows discuss a skit in which
Imogene Coca places a bet on a roulette wheel. The writers tried out several numbers before deciding "thirty-two"
was the funniest number Coca could say.[3] Neil Simon, one of the writers, went on to write Laughter on the 23rd
Floor, based on his experiences writing for Caesar. He claimed the 23 in the play's title was a transposition of 32.
Carl Reiner created the Dick Van Dyke Show based on his experiences as a writer for "Your Show of Shows." In a
first season episode, "The Curious Thing About Women," Morey Amsterdam's character, Buddy, explains that a
package in a comedy skit they are writing should contain 32 pounds of hair, rather than 15, because "32 has always
been a funnier number. I hear 32, I get hysterical!"
"Weird Al" Yankovic uses the number 27 prominently in his songs and videos because, according to him,
"twenty-seven is a funny number."[4] [5]
On the DVD commentary for the British sitcom I'm Alan Partridge, its writers put forward their own theory of funny
numbers, going against the more common view that smaller, specific numbers are funny and instead employing
large, round numbers (e.g. "a million pounds"). Steve Coogan, creator and star of the sitcom, said in an interview: "...
like the number 37. Everyone uses that as a funny number. It's used quite a lot as a random comedy number, like
'that's the 37th time this has happened.' People should use random numbers more. Like 'fifty.' Alan Partridge's
assistant is fifty. That was her age. And it sounded funny; I would say, 'this is my assistant Lynn, fifty.' "[6]
Inherently funny word
Examples of references to the concept
• The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Outrageous Okona" features Joe Piscopo as a comedian who,
in attempting to teach the android Data the concept of humor, refers to words ending in a k as funny.
• In a sketch on The O'Franken Factor, Al plays an "outsourced" version of himself with an exaggerated Pakistani
accent, who remarks that "All of my material is in my native language, Urdu. And most of it is wordplay that
would not translate. Hard k's and p's, though, such as 'hockeypuck,' are always funny, just ask 'Don Rickles, the
king of the put-down.'"
• In The Simpsons episode "Homie the Clown", Krusty the Clown tells Homer during a lesson at his clown college:
"Memorize these funny place names: Walla Walla, Keokuk, Cucamonga, Seattle." Upon hearing the word
"Seattle", Homer bursts into laughter.
• Comedian George Carlin, also drawing from W. C. Fields, talks about kumquats, garbanzos, succotash and
guacamole in his older routines, claiming that due to their names they are "too funny to eat."
• In an episode of All That the cast is shown as having to try out for their spots on the show,and in an event they are
told to come up with funnier versions of given words. Like "pants" to which Kenan replies with the funnier word
• In the December 21, 1989 Dilbert comic strip, Dilbert uses his computer to determine the funniest words in the
world, coming up with chainsaw, weasel, prune, and any reference to Gilligan's Island.
Funny nonsense words
Words may be invented to sound funny. Instances include many works by Dr. Seuss, Goon Show scripts which often
included funny nonsense words, such as ploogie, plinge, lurgy, and needle nardle noo, and the Knights who say Ni
skit from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.[7]
Context-dependent funny words
The notion of the inherently funny word should not be confused with situations when a certain word sounds funny
when unexpectedly used in an inappropriate situation.
For example, the absurdist superhero The Tick, when required to choose a battle cry, chooses "Spoon!", while in the
radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the "rudest word in the Universe" is revealed to be "Belgium".
See also
Speech error
Nonsense poetry
Cellar door
Inherently funny word
• Barry, Dave (1991), Dave Barry Talks Back, 1st edn., New York: Crown. ISBN 0-517-58546-4.
• The Power of the Plosive [8], Tips & Tactics, 1st Quarter 1999, The Naming Newsletter, Rivkin and Associates.
• H. L. Mencken, "The Podunk Mystery", The New Yorker, September 25, 1948.
[1] In an article in the New Yorker published in 1936, H. L. Mencken argues that "k words" are funny. "K, for some occult reason, has always
appealed to the oafish risibles of the American plain people, and its presence in the names of many ... places has helped to make them joke
towns ... for example, Kankakee, Kalamazoo, Hoboken, Hohokus, Yonkers, Squeedunk, "Stinktown" and Brooklyn."
In Neil Simon's play The Sunshine Boys, a character says, "Words with a k in it are funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny.
Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny. All with a k. Ls are not funny. Ms are not funny."
[2] 42 (http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ dna/ h2g2/ A19229763), BBC, 14 March 2007.
[3] NABOKV-L Archives - November 2002 (#161) (http:/ / listserv. ucsb. edu/ lsv-cgi-bin/ wa?A2=ind0211& L=nabokv-l& D=0& P=18531&
F=P. )
[4] An Illustrated History of 27 (http:/ / weirdal. 0catch. com/ txt/ 27/ history27. html)
[5] The 27 list. (http:/ / weirdal. 0catch. com/ txt/ 27. list. html)
[6] Jeffrey M. Anderson (22 August 2008), Interview: Steve Coogan on 'Hamlet 2' (http:/ / www. cinematical. com/ 2008/ 08/ 22/
interview-steve-coogan-on-hamlet-2/ ),, .
[7] "Script" subtitles, Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD
[8] http:/ / www. namingnewsletter. com/ article. asp?id=39
Further reading
• Warren Shibles, " Humor Reference Guide: A Comprehensive Classification and Analysis (http://www." (Hardcover) 1998 ISBN 0809320975
External links
• Monty Python "Woody and Tinny Words" sketch transcript (
• "Funny letters" (
html#SECTION0006500000000000000), in the Post-Production Checking for JAPE (automated pun generator)
An innuendo is, according to the Advanced Oxford Learner's Dictionary, "an indirect remark about somebody or
something, usually suggesting something bad, mean or rude; the use of remarks like this: innuendoes about her
private life or The song is full of sexual innuendo." The word is often used to express disapproval.[1]
An innuendo is a baseless invention of thoughts or ideas. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging
(also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or
accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent.
The term sexual innuendo has acquired a specific meaning, namely that of a "risque" double entendre by playing on
a possibly sexual interpretation of an otherwise innocent uttering.
Many television shows aimed at a younger audience frequently use innuendos as a way of attracting older viewers
without offending their network's censorship. Shows such as The FairlyOdd Parents, Spongebob Squarepants,The
Penguins of Madagascar, Rocko's Modern Life, Cow & Chicken, Ren & Stimpy and especially Animaniacs and
Looney Tunes have been known to do this over the years. Also many prime time shows use an extensive amount of
innuendo to the point it is rated TV PG/14 D for dialogue. Shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama, The Office, King
of The Hill, Beavis and Butthead, Everybody Hates Chris, American Dad and especially Family Guy have done this.
Also, many radio shows, including The Gallo Radio Show, most of the songs played on Southern Crossroads,
sometimes The Rick & Bubba Show, The Steve and DC Morning Show, especially The JT & Dave Show and The Bob
& Tom Show are notable for this.
[1] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (http:/ / www. oup. com/ elt/ catalogue/ teachersites/ oald7/ ?cc=global) (7th Edition; electronic
Insult comedy
Insult comedy
Insult comedy is a comedy genre in which the act consists mainly of offensive insults directed at the performer's
audience and/or other performers.
Typical targets for insult include individuals in the show's audience, the town hosting the performance, or the subject
of a roast. An insult comedian often maintains a competitive and interactive relationship with his or her audience.
The style has been described as 'festive abuse'.
The style can be distinguished from an act based on satire, or political humour. Comedians such as Groucho Marx,
Lenny Bruce, George Carlin or Bill Hicks, who can be quite insulting, are not considered insult comedians.
Famous insult comics
Roy 'Chubby' Brown
Sam Kinison
Jeffrey Ross
Andrew Dice Clay
Lisa Lampanelli
Rodney Rude
Billy Crystal's character Buddy
Young, Jr.
Jack E. Leonard
Sarah Silverman
Jeff Duran
Bernie Mac
Austen Tayshus, moved into the genre with his later
Redd Foxx
Bill Maher
Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog
Greg Giraldo
Marcus Valerius Martialis, ancient
Roman poet
Yucko the Clown
Kathy Griffin
Jackie Mason
Robin Harris
Jim Norton
D. L. Hughley
Don Rickles
See also
• Roast (comedy)
Irony (from the Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία eirōneía,
meaning hypocrisy, deception, or feigned ignorance) is
a situation, literary technique, or rhetorical device, in
which there is an incongruity or discordance that goes
strikingly beyond the most simple and evident meaning
of words or actions. Verbal and situational irony is
often intentionally used as emphasis in an assertion of a
truth. The ironic form of simile, irony used in sarcasm,
and some forms of litotes may involve the emphasis of
one's meaning by deliberate use of language that states
the direct opposite of the truth, or drastically and
obviously understates a factual connection.
In fictional dramatic irony, the artist causes a character,
acting as a mouthpiece, to speak or act in a way
intentionally contrary to the truth. This again is a
method that highlights the literal facts by giving the
example of a fictional persona who is strikingly
ignorant of them.
In certain kinds of situational or historical irony that
occur outside works of fiction, a certain factual truth is
An ironic protest sign.
highlighted by some person's complete ignorance, or
belief in the opposite, of it—however, this contrast
does not occur by human design. In some religious contexts, such situations have been seen as the deliberate work of
divine providence to emphasize facts, and taunt or toy with humans for not being aware of them in situations where
they could easily have been enlightened (this is similar to human use of irony). Such ironies are often more evident,
or more striking, when viewed retrospectively in the light of later developments that make the truth of past situations
obvious to all.
Almost all irony involves commentary that heightens tension naturally involved in the state and fate of a person (in
the present, or the past) who badly needs to know a given fact they could easily know but does not.
Henry Watson Fowler, in The King's English, says “any definition of irony—though hundreds might be given, and
very few of them would be accepted—must include this, that the surface meaning and the underlying meaning of
what is said are not the same."
Also, Eric Partridge, in Usage and Abusage, writes that "Irony consists in stating the contrary of what is meant."
The word 'ironic' is sometimes used as a synonym for incongruous in situations where there is no “double audience”,
and no contradiction between the ostensible and true meaning of the words. An example of such usage:
Ironically, Sir Arthur Sullivan is remembered for the comic operas he found embarrassing, rather than
the serious works he hoped would be his legacy.
The American Heritage Dictionary's secondary meaning for irony: “incongruity between what might be expected and
what actually occurs.”[1] This sense, however, is not synonymous with "incongruous" but merely a definition of
dramatic or situational irony. The majority of American Heritage Dictionary’s usage panel found it unacceptable to
use the word ironic to describe mere unfortunate coincidences or surprising disappointments that “suggest no
particular lessons about human vanity or folly.”[2]
Types of irony
Modern theories of rhetoric distinguish among verbal, dramatic and situational irony.
• Verbal irony is a disparity of expression and intention: when a speaker says one thing but means another, or when
a literal meaning is contrary to its intended effect. An acute example of this would be sarcasm.
• Dramatic irony is a disparity of expression and awareness: when words and actions possess a significance that the
listener or audience understands, but the speaker or character does not.
• Situational irony is the disparity of intention and result: when the result of an action is contrary to the desired or
expected effect. Likewise, cosmic irony is disparity between human desires and the harsh realities of the outside
world . By some definitions, situational irony and cosmic irony are not irony at all.
Verbal irony
According to A glossary of literary terms by Abrams and Hartman,
Verbal irony is a statement in which the meaning that a speaker employs is sharply different from the
meaning that is ostensibly expressed. The ironic statement usually involves the explicit expression of
one attitude or evaluation, but with indications in the overall speech-situation that the speaker intends a
very different, and often opposite, attitude or evaluation.[3]
Verbal irony is distinguished from situational irony and dramatic irony in that it is produced intentionally by
speakers. For instance, if a man exclaims, “I’m not upset!” but reveals an upset emotional state through his voice
while truly trying to claim he's not upset, it would not be verbal irony by virtue of its verbal manifestation (it would,
however, be situational irony). But if the same speaker said the same words and intended to communicate that he
was upset by claiming he was not, the utterance would be verbal irony. This distinction illustrates an important
aspect of verbal irony - speakers communicate implied propositions that are intentionally contradictory to the
propositions contained in the words themselves. There are, however, examples of verbal irony that do not rely on
saying the opposite of what one means, and there are cases where all the traditional criteria of irony exist and the
utterance is not ironic.
Ironic similes are a form of verbal irony where a speaker intends to communicate the opposite of what they mean.
For instance, the following explicit similes begin with the deceptive formation of a statement that means P but that
eventually conveys the meaning not P:
as soft as concrete
as clear as mud
as fun as cancer
as pleasant as a root canal
"as pleasant and relaxed as a coiled rattlesnake" (Kurt Vonnegut from Breakfast of Champions)
The irony is recognizable in each case only by using stereotypical knowledge of the source concepts (e.g., that mud
is opaque, that root canal surgery is painful) to detect an incongruity.
Verbal irony and sarcasm
A fair amount of confusion has surrounded the issue regarding the relationship between verbal irony and sarcasm.
Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage states:
Sarcasm does not necessarily involve irony & irony has often no touch of sarcasm.
This suggests that the two concepts are linked but may be considered separately. The OED entry for sarcasm does
not mention irony, but the irony entry reads:
A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used;
usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply
condemnation or contempt.
The Encyclopedia Britannica has "Non-literary irony is often called sarcasm”; while the Webster's Dictionary entry
Sarcasm: 1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain. 2 a : a mode of
satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed
against an individual.
Partridge in Usage and Abusage would separate the two forms of speech completely:
Irony must not be confused with sarcasm, which is direct: sarcasm means precisely what it says, but in a
sharp, caustic, ... manner.
The psychologist Martin, in The psychology of humour, [4] is quite clear that irony is where “the literal meaning is
opposite to the intended”; and sarcasm is “aggressive humor that pokes fun ...”. He has the following examples: For
irony he uses the statement "What a nice day" when it is raining. For sarcasm, he cites Winston Churchill who, when
told by a lady that he was drunk, said "my dear, you are ugly … but tomorrow I shall be sober" [5] , as being
sarcastic, while not saying the opposite of what is intended.
Psychology researchers Lee and Katz (1998) have addressed the issue directly. They found that ridicule is an
important aspect of sarcasm, but not of verbal irony in general. By this account, sarcasm is a particular kind of
personal criticism leveled against a person or group of persons that incorporates verbal irony. For example, a woman
reports to her friend that rather than going to a medical doctor to treat her cancer, she has decided to see a spiritual
healer instead. In response her friend says sarcastically, "Oh, brilliant, what a genius idea, that's really going to cure
you." The friend could have also replied with any number of ironic expressions that should not be labeled as sarcasm
exactly, but still have many shared elements with sarcasm.
Most instances of verbal irony are labeled by research subjects as sarcastic, suggesting that the term sarcasm is more
widely used than its technical definition suggests it should be (Bryant & Fox Tree, 2002; Gibbs, 2000). Some
psycholinguistic theorists (e.g., Gibbs, 2000) suggest that sarcasm ("Great idea!", "I hear they do fine work."),
hyperbole ("That's the best idea I have heard in years!"), understatement ("Sure, what the hell, it's only cancer..."),
rhetorical questions ("What, does your spirit have cancer?"), double entendre ("I'll bet if you do that, you'll be
communing with spirits in no time...") and jocularity ("Get them to fix your bad back while you're at it.") should all
be considered forms of verbal irony. The differences between these tropes can be quite subtle, and relate to typical
emotional reactions of listeners, and the rhetorical goals of the speakers. Regardless of the various ways theorists
categorize figurative language types, people in conversation are attempting to decode speaker intentions and
discourse goals, and are not generally identifying, by name, the kinds of tropes used
For example:
• "Stay Awake" sung by Mary Poppins to magically put children to sleep.
Dramatic irony
Dramatic irony is the device of giving the spectator an item of information that at least one of the characters in the
narrative is unaware of (at least consciously), thus placing the spectator a step ahead of at least one of the characters.
Dramatic irony has three stages - installation, exploitation and resolution (often also called preparation, suspension
and resolution) - producing dramatic conflict in what one character relies or appears to rely upon, the contrary of
which is known by observers (especially the audience; sometimes to other characters within the drama) to be true.
For example:
• In City Lights the audience knows that Charlie Chaplin's character is not a millionaire, but the blind flower girl
(Virginia Cherrill) is unaware and believes he's rich.
• In North by Northwest, the audience knows that Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is not Kaplan; Vandamm (James
Mason) and his accomplices do not. The audience also knows that Kaplan is a fictitious agent invented by the
CIA; Roger (initially) and Vandamm (throughout) do not.
• In Oedipus the King, the reader knows that Oedipus himself is the murderer that he is seeking; Oedipus, Creon
and Jocasta do not.
• In Othello, the audience knows that Desdemona has been faithful to Othello, but Othello does not. The audience
also knows that Iago is scheming to bring about Othello's downfall, a fact hidden from Othello, Desdemona,
Cassio and Roderigo.
• In Cask of Amontillado, the reader knows something bad is going to happen to Fortunato, while Fortunato does
• In The Truman Show, the viewer is aware that Truman is on a television show, but Truman himself only gradually
learns this. This is also a case of Breaking the Fourth wall.
• In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet speaks from her balcony, not realizing Romeo can hear her.
Tragic irony
Tragic irony is a special category of dramatic irony. In tragic irony, the words and actions of the characters
contradict the real situation, which the spectators fully realize.
Ancient Greek drama was especially characterized by tragic irony because the audiences were so familiar with the
legends that most of the plays dramatized. Sophocles' Oedipus the King provides a classic example of tragic irony at
its fullest.
Linda Hutcheon suggests that, by removing the semantic security of the one signifier, one signified equivalency,
irony threatens authoritative models of discourse.[6]
Irony has some of its foundation in the onlooker’s perception of paradox that arises from insoluble problems. For
example, in the William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo finds Juliet in a drugged death-like sleep,
he assumes her to be dead and kills himself. Upon awakening to find her dead lover beside her, Juliet stabs herself
with a dagger.
Situational irony
This is a relatively modern use of the term, and describes a discrepancy between the expected result and actual
results when enlivened by perverse appropriateness.
For example:
• When John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, all of his shots initially missed the President;
however, a bullet ricocheted off the bullet-proof Presidential limousine and struck Reagan in the chest. Thus, a
vehicle made to protect the President from gunfire was partially responsible for his being shot.[7]
• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a story whose plot revolves around irony. Dorothy travels to a wizard and fulfills
her challenging demands to go home, before discovering she had the ability to go back home all the time. The
Scarecrow longs for intelligence, only to discover he is already a genius, and the Tin Woodsman longs to be
capable of love, only to discover he already has a heart. The Lion, who at first appears to be a whimpering
coward, turns out to be bold and fearless. The people in Emerald City believed the Wizard to be a powerful deity,
only to discover that he is a bumbling, eccentric old man.
Irony of fate (cosmic irony)
The expression “irony of fate” stems from the notion that the gods (or the Fates) are amusing themselves by toying
with the minds of mortals with deliberate ironic intent. Closely connected with situational irony, it arises from sharp
contrasts between reality and human ideals, or between human intentions and actual results. The resulting situation is
poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended. More recently in English, the mere "coincidental or
unexpected" has been called ironic, and this usage appears to be gaining ground. It is still considered a minor
Some examples of situations poignantly contrary to expectation:
In art:
• In O. Henry's story The Gift of the Magi, a young couple are too poor to buy each other Christmas gifts. The wife
cuts off her treasured hair to sell it to a wig-maker for money to buy her husband a chain for his heirloom pocket
watch. She's shocked when she learns he had pawned his watch to buy her a set of combs for her long, beautiful,
prized hair.
• In the ancient Indian story of Krishna, King Kamsa is told in a prophecy that a child of his sister Devaki would
kill him. To prevent this, he imprisons both Devaki and her husband Vasudeva, allowing them to live only if they
hand over their children as soon as they are born. He murders nearly all of them, one by one, but the seventh and
eighth children, Balarama and Krishna, are saved and raised by a cowherd couple, Nanda and Yashoda. After the
boys grow up, Krishna eventually kills Kamsa as the prophecy foretold. Kamsa's attempt to prevent the prophecy
led to it becoming a reality. Self-fulfilling prophecies are common motifs in Greek mythology as well. This story
is similar to the story of Cronus preventing his wife from raising any children, the one who ends up defeating him
being Zeus, the later King of the Gods. Other similar tales in Greek Mythology include Perseus (who killed his
grandfather, Acrisius by accident with a discus despite Acrisius' attempt to avert his fate) and more famously
Oedipus who killed his father and married his mother not knowing their relationship due to being left to die by his
father to prevent that very prophecy from occurring.
In history:
• In 1974 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission had to recall 80,000 of its own lapel buttons promoting
"toy safety", because the buttons had sharp edges, used lead paint, and had small clips that could be broken off
and subsequently swallowed.[8]
• Importing cane toads to Australia to protect the environment created worse environmental problems for Australia.
Historical irony (cosmic irony through time)
When history is seen through modern eyes, there often appear sharp contrasts between the way historical figures see
their world's future and what actually transpires. For example, during the 1920s The New York Times repeatedly
scorned crossword puzzles. In 1924, it lamented "the sinful waste in the utterly futile finding of words the letters of
which will fit into a prearranged pattern." In 1925 it said "the question of whether the puzzles are beneficial or
harmful is in no urgent need of an answer. The craze evidently is dying out fast." Today, no U.S. newspaper is more
closely identified with the crossword than The New York Times.[9]
In a more tragic example of historical irony, what people now refer to as "World War I" was originally called "The
War to End All Wars" or "The Great War." Historical irony is therefore a subset of cosmic irony, but one in which
the element of time is bound to play a role.
Historical irony also includes inventors killed by their own creations, such as William Bullock - unless, due to the
nature of the invention, the risk of death was always known and accepted, as in the case of Otto Lilienthal.
Irony in use
Ironic art
One point of view has it that all modern art is ironic because the viewer cannot help but compare it to previous
works. For example, any portrait of a standing, non-smiling woman will naturally be compared with the Mona Lisa;
the tension of meaning exists, whether the artist meant it or not.
While this does not appear to exactly conform to any of the three types of irony above, there is some evidence that
the term "ironic art" is being used in this context.[10] This definition could extend to any sort of modern artistic
endeavour: graphic design or music (sampling, for example).
Comic irony
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice begins with the proposition “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single
man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” In fact, it soon becomes clear that Austen means the
opposite: women (or their mothers) are always in search of, and desperately on the lookout for, a rich single man to
make a husband. The irony deepens as the story promotes his romance and ends in a double wedding.
Metafictions are kinds of fiction that self-consciously address the devices of fiction. It usually involves irony and is
self-reflective. Metafiction (or “romantic irony” in the sense of roman the prose fiction) refers to the effect when a
story is interrupted to remind the audience or reader that it is really only a story. Examples include Henry Fielding’s
interruptions of the storyline to comment on what has happened, or J.M. Barrie’s similar interjections in his book,
Peter Pan. The concept is also explored in a philosophical context in Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder.
Notable attempts to sustain metafiction throughout a whole novel are Christie Malry's Own Double Entry by B.S.
Johnson, in which none of the characters are real and exist only within the author's imagination, and In The Night
Room by Peter Straub, in which the narrator is an author, whose fictional character comes to life and accompanies
him through the book.
Post-irony is a technique that uses the juxtaposition of empty symbolism and loaded evocations to create humor
whose roots lie not so much in the mocking of any one ideology proper so much as in mocking the stupidity that lies
at the roots of the propagation of modern ideologies.
Post-irony exists in the aesthetic lineage of Dadaism and Surrealism. This is evidenced by the premium it places on
non-sequiturs as well as its tendency to ignore the meaning of a loaded symbol (such as the Twin Towers falling, a
cross, or even some Freudian and Jungian symbols) and to recontextualize such symbols in forums (children's TV
show parodies, marketing catchphrases, or pop song parodies) at odds with the gravity that has been ascribed to
them. Post-ironic works also tend to be more reliant on an internal, almost musical logic than on a causal, narrative
Irony and post-irony may be simultaneously present in the same communication or reframing of a text or a picture.
For instance, if a motivational poster with a skull, cigarettes and the block type text Smoke Now, Pay Later! is
ostensibly claimed to be an advert for buying cigarettes on credit, this interpretation could rank as both ironic and
Irony as infinite, absolute negativity
There is a tradition that sees irony not as a limited tool in the sense of the three types of irony above, but as a
disruptive force with the power to undo texts and readers alike. This tradition includes Danish philosopher Søren
Kierkegaard, 19th century German critic and novelist Friedrich Schlegel ("On Incomprehensibility"), Charles
Baudelaire, Stendhal, and the 20th century deconstructionist Paul de Man ("The Concept of Irony"). Briefly, it insists
that irony is, in Kierkegaard's words, "infinite, absolute negativity". Where much of philosophy attempts to reconcile
opposites into a larger positive project, Kierkegaard and others insist that irony—whether expressed in complex
games of authorship or simple litotes—must, in Kierkegaard's words, "swallow its own stomach". Irony entails
endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech. Not
surprisingly, irony is the favorite textual property of deconstructionists.
Socratic irony
"The dissimulation of ignorance practised by Socrates as a means of confuting an adversary" (OED, under irony).
Socrates would pretend to be ignorant of the topic under discussion, in order to draw out the inherent nonsense in the
arguments of his interlocutors. Chambers dictionary has: "a means by which a questioner pretends to know less than
a respondent, when actually he knows more."
Zoe Williams of The Guardian wrote: "The technique [of Socratic irony], demonstrated in the Platonic dialogues,
was to pretend ignorance and, more sneakily, to feign credence in your opponent's power of thought, in order to tie
him in knots." [11]
See also
• Irony mark (‫)؟‬
• Bogel, Fredric V. "Irony, Inference, and Critical Understanding." Yale Review ): 503-19.
• Bryant, G. A., & Fox Tree, J. E. (2002). Recognizing verbal irony in spontaneous speech. Metaphor and Symbol,
17, 99-115.
• Colebrook, Claire. Irony. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
• Gibbs, R. W. (2000). Irony in talk among friends. Metaphor and Symbol, 15, 5–27.
• Hutcheon, Linda. Irony’s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony. London: Routledge, 1994.
• Lavandier, Yves. Writing Drama, pages 263-315.
• Lee, C. J., & Katz, A. N. (1998). The differential role of ridicule in sarcasm and irony. Metaphor and Symbol, 13,
• Star, William T. "Irony and Satire: A Bibliography." Irony and Satire in French Literature. Ed. University of
South Carolina Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1987. 183-209.
External links
"The final irony [12]"—a Guardian article about irony, use and misuse of the term
Article on the etymology of Irony [13]
"Irony", by Norman D. Knox [14], in Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1973)
"Sardonicus [15]"—a web-resource that provides access to similes, ironic and otherwise, harvested from the web.
Excerpt on dramatic irony from Yves Lavandier's Writing Drama [16]
"American Irony" [17] compared with British irony, quoting Stephen Fry
American and British irony [18] compared by Simon Pegg
Modern example of ironic writing [19]
"irony" at (http:/ / dictionary. reference. com/ browse/ irony)
Usage note at (http:/ / dictionary. reference. com/ browse/ ironic)
Abrams, M. H., & Harpham, G.G., A glossary of literary terms, 9th Ed., Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.
Martin, R.A., The psychology of humor: an integrative approach, Elsevier Academic Press, 2007. p13.
http:/ / en. wikiquote. org/ wiki/ Winston_Churchill
Hutcheon, p. 13
[7] The Trial of John W. Hinckley, Jr. (http:/ / www. law. umkc. edu/ faculty/ projects/ ftrials/ hinckley/ hinckleyaccount. html) by Doug Linder.
2001 Retrieved 9 September 2008.
[8] Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2007, Page B1: It Dawned on Adults After WWII: 'You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!' (http:/ / online. wsj. com/
article/ SB119664662089911293. html), retrieved October 29, 2009.
[9] Wordplay (http:/ / puzzles. about. com/ library/ weekly/ blwordplaydoc. htm)
[10] Guardian Online: The Final Irony (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ theguardian/ 2003/ jun/ 28/ weekend7. weekend2)
[11] Guardian Online: The Final Irony (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ theguardian/ 2003/ jun/ 28/ weekend7. weekend2)
[12] http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ weekend/ story/ 0,,985375,00. html
[13] http:/ / sc. tri-bit. com/ Irony
[14] http:/ / xtf. lib. virginia. edu/ xtf/ view?docId=DicHist/ uvaGenText/ tei/ DicHist2. xml;chunk. id=dv2-70
[15] http:/ / afflatus. ucd. ie/ sardonicus/ tree. jsp
[16] http:/ / www. clown-enfant. com/ leclown/ eng/ drama/ livre. htm#IRO
[17] http:/ / www. danwallacemusic. com/ 2010/ 01/ 20/ american-irony/
[18] http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ film/ 2007/ feb/ 10/ comedy. television
[19] http:/ / www. thespoof. com/ news/ spoof. cfm?headline=s2i36021
Joke (sketch)
Joke (sketch)
"Joke" is a comedy sketch written and performed by English comedians Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. It was
performed live during Atkinson's 1980 tour of the United Kingdom. A live recording was made at the Grand Opera
House in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 19 or 20 September 1980 and released as the last track on Atkinson's live
comedy album, Live in Belfast.
At the start of the sketch, Rowan Atkinson's character tells Richard Curtis' character he's "got a joke". He goes on to
explain, "It's one of those ones where I ask a question and you say 'I don't know, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot'." Rowan
begins the joke by saying, "I say, I say, I say, what is the secret of great comedy?" Richard replies by literally saying,
"I don't know, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot." After laughing at his own wit, Richard tells the annoyed Rowan that he'll
"do it again." Rowan repeats the question and Richard replies, "I don't know. What is the secret to great comedy?"
However, before Richard can finish his reply, Rowan interrupts, "timing." The point of the joke is that Rowan
deliberately got his timing wrong when saying that timing is the secret to great comedy; however, Richard does not
understand the joke. Bewildered by Richard's stupidity, Rowan enquires, "But didn't you see?" "Sorry, was it a visual
joke?" Richard replies, still confused. After trying the joke a third time, Richard still does not understand the irony of
the joke. Annoyed by Richard, Rowan asks, "Don't you think that's a clever joke?" to which Richard replies,
"Clever... no. Joke... no." Disheartened by his joke falling flat with Richard, he claims "it was very funny when
Michael told it," then makes the excuse that his timing might be out to which Richard replies, "It could be other
factors like the complete absence of anything funny in the joke." Rowan proclaims, "It's so difficult telling jokes,"
before suddenly exclaiming that he has another joke that is "far more straightforward" to which Richard replies, "As
long as it's funny, I don't mind."
The second joke begins with Rowan saying, "Knock! Knock! Who's there? Death..." but he is interrupted by Richard
who complains that knock-knock jokes "are meant to be two-handers". Rowan argues that this joke "doesn't work
that way". It becomes apparent that Rowan is attempting to tell the same joke told by Toby, the Devil, during a
previous sketch. The joke is meant to go "Knock, Knock. Who's there? Death. Death wh..." at which point the person
telling the joke pretends to die. If a second person was replying in the joke, they would not know to pretend to die
when saying "Death who?". Richard protests and Rowan gives in and the pair attempt the knock-knock joke in the
"old way". Richard, ignorant to the fact he is meant to say the punch line, replies "Death who?" and Rowan replies
"Ah, now, that's where it goes wrong." Rowan explains to Richard how he is meant to say the punch-line but after
another attempt at the joke, Richard replies wrong. Rowan, getting increasingly more annoyed as the sketch goes on,
says he has another joke and this time he will be "third time lucky".
Rowan explains that the third joke is "a very old joke but a very good joke". Rowan begins to tell the classic joke,
which begins "I say, I say, I say, my wife's gone to Jamaica". The person replying is meant to say, "Jamaica?" which
sounds like "D'you make 'er?" or "Did you make her?". The joke-teller then replies, "No, of her own accord."
However, when Rowan says, "I say, I say, I say, my wife's gone to Jamaica," Richard replies, "Of her own accord?"
which ruins the whole joke and causes Rowan to swear loudly and give up telling jokes to Richard.
Joke (sketch)
• Rowan Atkinson – joke-teller
• Richard Curtis – joke receiver
• Howard Goodall – musical accompaniment
Live in Belfast track listing
Side one
"Man in Seat C23"
"Sir Marcus Browning M.P."
"Mary Jane"
"The Wedding a. The Vicar"
"The Wedding b. The Best Man"
"The Wedding c. The Father of the Bride"
"I Hate the French"
"Interval Announcement"
Side two
"Do Bears Sha la la"
"Senator Brea's Dead"
"The Devil"
"Impatient Man in Queue Behind Student"
"Station Announcement"
Joke thievery
Joke thievery
Joke thievery is the act of performing and taking credit for comic material written by another person without their
consent. This is a form of plagiarism and sometimes can be copyright infringement.
A common term for joke thievery is "hacking", which is derived from the term, "Hack-neyed" (Meaning, "over used
and thus cheapened, or trite").[1]
From the Catskill and Vaudeville beginnings of stand-up comedy, joke thievery was common as there were few
chances that a performer from one area would meet one from another and a single twenty-minute set could sustain a
comic for a decade. Most jokes at the time were one-liners and there was little in the way of proof of a joke's origin,
but the value of each joke was immeasurable to a comedian.[2] Milton Berle and Bob Hope had a long-standing feud
due to Hope's accusation that Milton Berle had stolen some of his jokes.[2] Berle never refuted the claim, but instead
embraced the title "The Thief of Bad Gag".
In the late fifties and early sixties, Will Jordan perfected a caricature performance of Ed Sullivan (Incorporating
mispronouncing the word "show" as "shoe") that became the basis for all other impersonators that followed.[2] Soon
after, Jackie Mason, Rich Little and others began adapting Jordan's caricature to their own acts. This resulted in
many of Jordan's shows being canceled due to other performers doing his bit two weeks previous to his shows at the
same venue.[2] John Byner, in turn, developed his own, oft-imitated, version of Jordan's caricature that George Carlin
cited as being set up with the words, "Now you know!"
In the sixties, comedy took a turn for the more personal. Comics like Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin
were no longer regurgitating joke after joke, but instead were offering insight to their own lives from a comedic
point of view. As a result, the jokes were largely unique to the performer. Theft proved more difficult, but also more
offensive to the writer.[2]
Even the most famous of comics have found themselves, knowingly, or unknowingly, stealing material. Bill Cosby
admitted to stealing a joke by George Carlin involving an uneducated football player doing a television commercial.
Cosby said that what makes the routine his own is the surreal phrase “little tiny hairs.”[3] [4] In turn, Carlos Mencia,
many years later performed a bit about athletes and their parents that hearkened back to a Cosby bit from his album,
Bill Cosby: Himself.[3]
In the seventies joke theft became more prominent with the boom in popularity of comedy. The eighties and nineties
saw the popularity of stand-up comedy continue to increase. With the advent of pay-cable networks, comics were
afforded the opportunity to perform their routines unfettered. With this came a new type of joke theft wherein the
first comic to tell a stolen joke on some sort of media became the one associated with the joke.
Robin Williams was accused of stealing material from another comic. David Brenner claims that he confronted
Williams personally and threatened him with bodily harm if he heard Williams utter another one of his jokes.[5] .
For many years, Denis Leary had been friends with fellow comedian Bill Hicks. However, when Hicks heard Leary's
1992 album No Cure For Cancer, he felt Leary had stolen his act and material. The friendship ended abruptly as a
At least three stand-up comedians have gone on the record stating they believe Leary stole not just some of Hicks'
material but his persona and attitude.[6] [7] [8] [9] As a result of this, it is claimed that after Hicks' death from
pancreatic cancer, an industry joke began to circulate about Leary's transformation and subsequent success (roughly;
"Question: Why is Denis Leary a star while Bill Hicks is unknown? Answer: Because there's no cure for cancer").[9]
In turn, Hicks was accused of joke theft by Sam Kinison.
Joke thievery
Also in the nineties, began a nearly universal theft of an impression of Bill Cosby, the style of which was first
unveiled by Eddie Murphy in his concert Raw.[10]
More recent times have seen public rivalries between comics over the subject of joke theft. Louis CK has maintained
a relatively quiet rivalry with Dane Cook over three bits on Cook's album, Retaliation, that allegedly bear some
resemblance to three bits on CK's album Live in Houston. This claim is further complicated by both artists having
performed bits on naming kids that strongly resemble "My Real Name", a bit from Steve Martin's album, A Wild and
Crazy Guy.[11]
Joe Rogan, by contrast has been very open in accusing Carlos Mencia of joke theft.[12]
To a lesser extent, George Lopez has also accused Mencia of plagiarizing his material. He also claimed he had a
physical altercation with Mencia over the alleged plagiarism.[13] Comedian Ted Sarnowski countered this claim,
however, stating that he, himself, had actually written the joke and given Mencia permission to use it after Lopez had
stolen it from him.[14]
The Comedy Central show, South Park made light of Mencia's alleged joke theft in the 13th season episode,
"Fishsticks" by portraying him claiming authorship of a joke written by the handicapped character Jimmy.
Recently, Nick Madson was caught stealing bits from other comedians, including Patton Oswalt, Dave Attell and
Louis C.K. [15] When caught, Madson offered several explanations for his behavior; he first claimed, in an online
apology to Oswalt, that he was performing the bits "in homage" to the comedians at a benefit show.[16] When the
venue, the Harrison Hilltop Theatre, stated that the performance was a paid gig and that Madson told them that he
was "trying out new material," he then claimed that he was the original writer of the bits. [17] A Facebook group,
Nick Madson Is A Failure Pile In A Sadness Bowl, was created shortly after news of the plagiarism broke. [18]
In other media
Joke theft is not limited to stand-up comedy. Often jokes in film and television shows are taken from comics or even
other media.
Dick Cavett wrote about joke theft in his autobiography. He relayed a story about writing a bit about eating
Chinese-German food and, an hour later, being hungry for power. After a few days of performing the bit, he
discovered a review of Rip Taylor's show, where the joke was quoted verbatim. However, after calling Taylor to ask
him to stop using the bit, he discovered that not only had Taylor never performed the bit, he had never even heard it
and laughed hysterically at the joke's humor. It was then that Cavett discovered that some journalists often falsely
attribute jokes to the wrong comics.
Cavett and Woody Allen often cited to each other the many instances of their jokes appearing in television shows
without their permission, sometimes even falsely attributed to each other.
Allen's jokes were regularly stolen by the highly successful television show Laugh In.[19] This proved extremely
painful to Allen.
Joke thievery
The experimental Pet Shop Boys film It Couldn't Happen Here and the
promotional music video for their remake of the Elvis Presley song
"Always on My Mind" both featured a homicidal priest, played by Joss
Ackland, who performed several bits from Steven Wright's first
comedy album, "I Have a Pony".[20]
The film Fast Food Nation used the advertising slogan, "Do you want
lies with that?" which originally appeared in The Simpsons season 14,
episode 16, "'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky".[21]
In more recent times a bit performed by Sam Kinison regarding Jesus'
domestic issues after the resurrection later appeared in sketch form on
the Comedy Central show Mind of Mencia starring Carlos Mencia.[22]
Several episodes of The Simpsons, including "Missionary: Impossible",
"Treehouse of Horror XIII", and "The Italian Bob" have poked fun at
Family Guy, implying that MacFarlane's show is guilty of stealing
jokes and premises from the Simpsons. However, the producers of both
shows have said that there is no serious feud between the two of them
and their shows.[23] [24]
Cover of Issue 423 of Australian Mad Magazine.
Recourse and consequences
There is, historically, very little legal recourse taken in cases of joke theft. Some comics, however, have chosen to
exact their own justice. W. C. Fields reportedly paid fifty dollars to have a thieving comic's legs broken.[2] Boston
stand-ups Kevin Knox and PJ Thibodeau interrogated Dan Kinno in the green room of a comedy club.[2]
Typically, the repercussions of joke theft are limited to personal animosity. On this issue, it sometimes appears that
the offended comics are alone in their concern. For example, on February 10, 2007 at the Comedy Store in Los
Angeles, Joe Rogan argued on-stage with Carlos Mencia, accusing him of plagiarizing other comedians' work.
According to Rogan's account, he had just finished his act and introduced the next performer, Ari Shaffir, as a
comedian who opens for "Carlos Men-steal-ia".[25] Mencia took offense and walked on the stage. The Comedy Store
later cancelled Rogan's shows and suggested he "take a break" from the Comedy Store, which was then followed by
Rogan's manager (who also manages Mencia) dropping Rogan.[26] The entire incident was filmed as part of Rogan's
internet reality show, JoeShow. It was then made available to watch or download at numerous websites, including
Joe Rogan said, "People take plagiarism so seriously in all other forms of media, whether it's music, newspapers,
books, but with comedy, it's like, 'You're on your own, fucker.'"[2]
"You have a better chance of stopping a serial killer than a serial thief in comedy," said comedian David Brenner. "If
we could protect our jokes, I'd be a retired billionaire in Europe somewhere — and what I just said is original."[27]
The internet, however, has opened up a new medium for "outing" a joke thief. Websites like YouTube allow users to
upload videos and share them with others. This has made it much easier to show evidence of joke thievery in a
public forum.
Steven Rosenthal and Steve Silberberg have published a Guide to Hack to help new comics avoid joke theft,[28]
which references (and gives credit to) an earlier work on the same subject by Andy Kindler called, The Hacks
Handbook: A Starter Kit [17].[29]
Joke thievery
[1] "http:/ / stason. org/ TULARC/ art/ hack-stand-up-comedy"
[2] Larry Getlen (2007-02-17). [ Archive copy (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ */ http:/ / www. radaronline. com/ from-the-magazine/ 2007/ 02/
take_the_funny_and_run_1. php) at the Wayback Machine "Take the Funny and Run"]. Radar. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
[3] Welkos, Robert W. (2007-07-24). "Funny, that was my joke" (http:/ / www. latimes. com/ news/ local/ la-et-joketheft24jul24,1,6252669,full.
story?coll=la-headlines-california& ctrack=5& cset=true). The Los Angeles Times. . Retrieved 2009-11-27.
[4] Cosby, Bill. (2009-06-01). The Late Show with David Letterman - Bill Cosby's Race Against George Carlin (http:/ / www. youtube. com/
watch?v=AikgyewBn8k). [TV]. CBS.
[5] Richard Zoglin (2008). Comedy at the Edge. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1582346243.
[6] Kevin Booth and Michael Bertin (2005). Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-719829-9.
[7] Joe Rogan (2005). "Carlos Mencia is a weak minded joke thief" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20051218140900/ http:/ / www. joerogan.
net/ main. php?archives=1& article=44170). . Retrieved 2006-10-28.
[8] Rogan, Joe. Interview. Playboy Magazine. October 2003.
[9] Tim McIntire (1998). "Dark Times: Bill Hicks: Frequently Asked Questions" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060320081614/ http:/ / www.
billhicks. com/ darktimes/ other/ darktimes20/ faq/ faq. html). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. billhicks. com/
darktimes/ other/ darktimes20/ faq/ faq. html) on 2006-10-11. . Retrieved 2006-10-28.
[10] Janet Maslin (1987). "'Eddie Murphy Raw'" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 1987/ 12/ 19/ movies/ eddie-murphy-raw. html). New York Times.
[11] Steal this Joke: Louis C.K. vs. Dane Cook vs. Steve Martin | Dead-Frog - A Comedy Blog (http:/ / www. dead-frog. com/ blog/ entry/
steal_this_joke_louis_ck_vs_dane_cook_vs_steve_martin/ )
[12] Joe Rogan confronts Carlos Mencia at Comedy Store - People (http:/ / www. monstersandcritics. com/ people/ news/ article_1265383. php/
[13] Goldyn, Debra (2007-05-02). "Is Carlos Mencia a thief?" (http:/ / media. www. ucdadvocate. com/ media/ storage/ paper538/ news/ 2007/
05/ 02/ BonusBytes/ Is. Carlos. Mencia. A. Thief-2891990. shtml). Advocate. University of Colorado at Denver. . Retrieved 2007-05-14.
[14] CARL Kozlowski, Carl (2007-03-29). "Carlos Mencia Just Said That" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080216161529/ http:/ / www.
lacitybeat. com/ cms/ story/ detail/ ?id=5264& IssueNum=199). Los Angeles CityBeat. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. lacitybeat.
com/ cms/ story/ detail/ ?id=5264& IssueNum=199) on Feb 16 2008. . Retrieved 2007-07-14.
[15] http:/ / blogs. westword. com/ backbeat/ 2010/ 04/ patton_oswalt_should_be_pissed. php
[16] http:/ / blogs. myspace. com/ index. cfm?fuseaction=blog. view& friendId=67077201& blogId=533681759
[17] http:/ / blogs. myspace. com/ index. cfm?fuseaction=blog. view& friendId=67077201& blogId=533681759
[18] http:/ / www. facebook. com/ home. php?#!/ group. php?gid=122636127748013
[19] (http:/ / www. sheckymagazine. com/ cavett. htm) SHECKY! Interview: DICK CAVETT!
[20] Admiral Novia » It Couldn’t Happen Here (http:/ / admiralnovia. net/ wp/ 2007/ 08/ 29/ it-couldnt-happen-here)
[21] Joke Thief archive at fjetsam (http:/ / fjetsam. com/ index. php/ category/ features/ joke-thief/ )
[22] YouTube - Mencia Steals From Sam Kinison (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=GOnPFix5uLE)
[23] Nathan Rabin (2006-04-26). "Interview: Matt Groening" (http:/ / www. avclub. com/ content/ node/ 47771). The A.V. Club. Onion Inc.. .
Retrieved 2006-12-12. "The rivalry is very affectionate..."
[24] Family Guy "Timeline at" (http:/ / familyguy. tktv. net/ news. html). Family Guy. "You know, it's funny. Matt Groening
and I actually have a great relationship..."
[25] (http:/ / www. joerogan. net/ main. php?archives=1& article=53945)
[26] "Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia face off at comedy club" (http:/ / www. recordonline. com/ apps/ pbcs. dll/ article?AID=/ 20070215/
ENTERTAIN/ 70215009). . Retrieved 2007-02-15.
[27] (http:/ / tennessean. com/ apps/ pbcs. dll/ article?AID=/ 20070802/ FEATURES01/ 708020309/ 1076/ FEATURES)
[28] The Complete Guide To Hack Stand-Up Comedy (http:/ / stason. org/ TULARC/ art/ hack-stand-up-comedy/ )
[29] NATIONAL LAMPOON February 1991 pp. 34-36
Light poetry
Light poetry
Light poetry, or light verse, is poetry that attempts to be humorous. Poems considered "light" are usually brief, and
can be on a frivolous or serious subject, and often feature wordplay, including puns, adventurous rhyme and heavy
alliteration. Typically, light verse in English is formal verse, although a few free verse poets, such as Billy Collins,
have excelled at light verse outside the formal verse tradition.
While light poetry is sometimes condemned as doggerel, or thought of as poetry composed casually, humor often
makes a serious point in a subtle or subversive way. Many of the most renowned "serious" poets, such as Horace,
Swift, Pope and Auden, have also excelled at light verse.
Selected notable English poets in this genre
In English, poets who are well known for their light poetry include:
Hilaire Belloc
Henry Austin Dobson
John Betjeman
T. S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats) •
Lord Byron
Willard R. Espy
Ogden Nash
C. S. Calverley
Gavin Ewart
Dorothy Parker
Lewis Carroll
W. S. Gilbert
Alexander Pope
Charles E.
Thomas Hood
Shel Silverstein
Brian P. Cleary
Ben Jonson
Jonathan Swift
Wendy Cope
X. J. Kennedy
John Whitworth
See also
Double dactyl
Nonsense verse
Michael Braude Award for Light Verse
External links
Light Verse Resource Center [1]
Light Quarterly [2]
asinine poetry [3]
Love is All Box and No Cornflakes [4]
Funny Poets [5]
The Epic of Marmarad [6]
A Rhyme That's Weak Every Week [7]
Lighten Up [8] - quarterly light verse webzine.
The Weekly Poem [9] - weekly satirical poem.
Word Chowder [10] by Scott Emmons
The Daily Rhyme [11] by Scott Emmons
Edward Lear
Light poetry
[1] http:/ / www. ddaze. com/ 04LVResource/ LVResource. htm
[2] http:/ / lightquarterly. com
[3] http:/ / asininepoetry. com
[4] http:/ / funnypoetry. com
[5] http:/ / funnypoets. com
[6] http:/ / marmarad. com
[7] http:/ / www. weakrhymes. blogspot. com
[8] http:/ / www. lightenup-online. co. uk
[9] http:/ / www. theweeklypoem. com
[10] http:/ / www. wordchowder. com
[11] http:/ / www. thedailyrhyme. com
Low comedy
Low comedy is a type of comedy characterized by "horseplay," slapstick and/or farce. Examples include somebody
throwing a custard pie in another's face. This definition has also expanded to include lewd types of comedy that rely
on physical jokes, for example, the wedgie.
This type of comedy has been a fixture ever since Greek plays. Low comedy was first denoted as comedy for the
commoners because it was most often practiced by street performers. Over time as low comedy began to include
lewd jokes and more physical comedy, more mainstream performers began to practice this type of comedy: Stand-up
comedians, Musicals, etc. This type of comedy also was employed in most children's cartoons.
Low Comedy Today
Today low comedy can be seen in almost any production. Sitcoms often base most of their plot on this type of
comedy. In modern adaptations of Shakespeare's plays also has low comedy used to convey a different
understanding of the play.
See also
• Buffoon. A nickname for people who act (voluntarily or not) funny.
• Three Stooges, three comedic performers who used primarily slapstick humor.
Madrigal comedy
Madrigal comedy
Madrigal comedy is a term for a kind of entertainment music of the late 16th century in Italy, in which groups of
related, generally a cappella madrigals were sung consecutively, generally telling a story, and sometimes having a
loose dramatic plot. It is an important element in the origins of opera. The term is of 20th century origin, popularised
by Alfred Einstein.
The first collection of madrigals, sung as a set and telling a coherent (and highly comic) story, was Il cicalamento
delle donne al bucato (the gossip of women in the laundry), by Alessandro Striggio, which was written in 1567.
Later madrigal comedies are sometimes divided into acts, including a prologue, and while not "acted" in the sense of
an opera, they may have been performed on stage with elaborate painted backdrops (for example, there is an existing
woodcut showing the prologue of Orazio Vecchi's L'Amfiparnaso (1597): a singer is evidently in costume in a
backdrop showing a city street). Vecchi's direction in the score, however, is for the singers not to act, but for the
audience to fill in the action internally, using their imagination. He speaks to the audience in the prologue to the
work: "the spectacle I speak of is to be seen in your mind; it enters not through your eyes, but through your ears:
instead of looking, listen, and be silent."
The form was popular especially in the 1590s and few years after 1600, only in Italy, but seems to have fallen out of
favor with the advent of opera right at 1600, although a cappella madrigals were also disappearing at this time as
well. The music of madrigal comedies is light, and the subject matter was invariably comic.
Principal composers of madrigal comedy included Alessandro Striggio, Adriano Banchieri, Giovanni Croce, and
Orazio Vecchi.
References and further reading
• Articles "Madrigal comedy", "Madrigal," "Alessandro Striggio" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2
• Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0-393-09530-4
• The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, ed. Don Randel. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press,
1986. ISBN 0-674-61525-5
Mockumentary (also known as a mock documentary or pseudodocumentary) is a genre of film and television in
which fictitious events are presented in a non-fiction or documentary format; the term can also refer to an individual
work within the genre. Such works are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a
fictitious setting.
Mockumentaries are often presented as historical documentaries with b roll and talking heads discussing past events
or as cinéma vérité pieces following people as they go through various events. Examples of this type of satire date
back at least to the 1950s (a very early example was a short piece on the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" that appeared as
an April fool's joke on the British television program Panorama in 1957), though the term "mockumentary" is
thought to have first appeared in the mid-1980s when This Is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner used it in interviews to
describe that film.
Prior to "Spinal Tap", "A Hard Day's Night" (1964), written by Alun Owen, and purporting to describe a couple of
days in the lives of The Beatles, was possibly the first feature film that could be characterized as a "mockumentary".
In 1969, Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" was presented documentary-style with Allen playing a fictional
criminal, Virgil Starkwell, whose crime exploits are "explored" throughout the film. Jackson Beck who used to
narrate documentaries in the 1940's provides the voice-over narration. Fictional interviews are interspliced
throughout, especially those of Starkwell's parents who wear Groucho Marx noses and moustaches. One year later
Federico Fellini released "I clowns" (1970), which was in all ways a mockumentary while Allen's film was a
narrative with mockumentary aspects throughout. One of the earliest pioneers of the mockumentary format for
television comedy is Victoria Wood, who regularly included them in her 1985 series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.
Since the 80s, the mockumentary format has enjoyed much attention, especially in the directorial work of Spinal Tap
star Christopher Guest. Films such as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind penned by Guest and co-star Eugene Levy
were both critical successes. Borat as well was a success, though writer and star Sacha Baron Cohen received much
criticism for his alleged racism and disparagement of the Kazakh people. The most notable uses of the
mockumentary in the 2000s have been the British sitcom The Office and its many international offshoots including
American, French, German, French Canadian, Chilean, and Brazilian versions with talks of an Indian version to soon
begin production.[1]
In Spain, Paramount Comedy has produced a mockumentary, EL DIVO, created by stand up comedian and writer
Carlos Clavijo. In this comedy, we follow the life and career of an old tv star (Agustin Jimenez) and his team (Carlos
The false documentary form has also been used for some dramatic productions (and precursors to this approach date
back to the radio days and Orson Welles' production of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds). Mockumentaries
are often partly or wholly improvised, as an unscripted style of acting helps to maintain the pretense of reality.
Comedic mockumentaries rarely have laugh tracks, also to sustain the atmosphere, although there are exceptions for example, Operation Good Guys had a laugh track from its second series onwards.
See also
List of mockumentaries
Flemish Secession hoax
External links
Websters Dictionary definition [2]
Lists of Mockumentary [3] at UC Berkeley Mockumentary Collection
Mockumentary - Reflexivity, satire and a call to play [4]
(Italian) Mockumentary - Il regno dell'(in)verosimile
[1] August 2004 (2009-12-06). "Ricky Gervais... Obviously" (http:/ / www. rickygervais. com/ thissideofthetruth. php). . Retrieved 2010-04-21.
[2] http:/ / www. m-w. com/ dictionary/ Mockumentary
[3] http:/ / www. lib. berkeley. edu/ MRC/ mockumentaries. html
[4] http:/ / www. waikato. ac. nz/ film/ mock-doc. shtml
[5] http:/ / www. falsidocumentari. blogspot. com
A monologue (or monolog) is an extended uninterrupted speech by a character in a drama. The character may be
speaking his or her thoughts aloud, directly addressing another character, or speaking to the audience, especially the
former. Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media (plays, films, animation, etc.).
Comic monologue
The term "monologue" was actually used to describe a form of popular narrative verse, sometimes comic, often
dramatic or sentimental, which was performed in music halls or in domestic entertainments in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth century. Famous examples include Idylls of the King, The Green Eye of the Yellow God and
Christmas Day in the Workhouse.
The comic monologue has evolved into a regular feature of stand-up and television comedy. An "opening
monologue" of a humorous nature is a typical segment of stand-up comedy and often forms a regular feature of
television programmes (such as Friday Night with Jonathan Ross).
Famous comic monologists include Mort Sahl, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Jack Parr, Billy
Connolly, Bill Cosby, Lord Buckley, Johnny Carson, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Rove McManus,
Bob Hope, Stanley Holloway, Julius Tannen, George Robert Sims, Ellen DeGeneres, John Leguizamo, Chris
Capone, Jerry Seinfeld, Don Rickles, Jimmy Kimmel, Dane Cook, George Lopez, and Conan O'Brien, Some of the
aforementioned performers often perform what is referred to as a "solo show", and some practitioners of this format
wrestle with stories and themes which mix the comic and the dramatic, namely Spalding Gray, Garrison Keillor and
Eric Bogosian.
See also
Dramatic monologue
One-person show
Performance poetry
Stand-up comedy
• Cohn, Dorrit, Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction, 1978.
• Edwardes, Jane, The Faber Book of Monologues, Faber and Faber, 2005.
• Hirsh, James, Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies, Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.
External links
• Actorama Monologues Database From Films, Television, Plays and Books [1]
Monologue Search Free Monologue database [2]
StageAgent Audition Monologues [3]
Monologue Archive [4]
Shakespeare's Monologues [5]
The Monologue Database [6]
ActorPoint Monologue Directory [7]
Monologue Blogger - The Actor's Free Monologue Service Provider [8]
Transmission of ideas
•1 person to themselves, mental •1 person to themselves or to another without reply, verbal
•2 or more people,
http:/ / www. actorama. com
http:/ / www. monologuesearch. com
http:/ / stageagent. com/ shows/ monologues
http:/ / www. monologuearchive. com
http:/ / www. shakespeare-monologues. org
http:/ / www. notmyshoes. net/ monologues/
http:/ / www. actorpoint. com/ monologue. html
http:/ / www. MonologueBlogger. com
Observational comedy
Observational comedy
Observational comedy is a style of humor based on making remarks about commonplace aspects of everyday life.
In the United States, the style was popularized by comedians such as Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Robert Klein,
Richard Pryor, Jay Leno and David Letterman in the 1970s, continued by Bill Hicks, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld,
Ray Romano, and Mitch Hedberg in the 1990s, and is currently practiced by comedians such as Louis C.K., Dave
Chappelle, Dylan Moran, George Lopez, Russell Peters, Gabriel Iglesias, Rex Navarrete, Demetri Martin, Arj
Barker, Patton Oswalt, Brian Regan, Chris Rock, Nick Swardson, Dane Cook, Daniel Tosh, Jim Gaffigan, Carlos
Mencia, Craig Ferguson, Buddy Lewis, and Garrison Keillor.
It is also very popular in Britain, with comics such as Victoria Wood, Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Peter
Kay, Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand, Jason Manford, Michael McIntyre, Lee Mack, Lee Evans, Kevin Bridges, Russell
Howard, Dara Ó Briain and Frankie Boyle.
Like the UK, it is very popular in Australia, comedians like Rodney Rude, Carl Barron, Jimeoin, Dave Hughes and
Adam Hills.
In Canada, comedian Rick Mercer often presents segments utilizing observational comedy on The Rick Mercer
The humor, based on the premise of "It's funny because it's true,"[1] consists of observations made about sometimes
very minor and superficial aspects of Western culture: from airline peanuts to the Jared Diet to the lines at
Walgreens. Jokes may often begin with the phrase, "Did you ever notice?..." or "What's the deal with...?", and may
end with ...'What's that about?'.
External links
• Making Sense of Humour in the Workplace [2]
• BBC H2G2 Article on Observational Comedy Acts [3]
• Observational Humor from the Workplace: Life in the Cubicle [4]
[1] Scientific American - It's Funny Because It's True, 13 Oct 2009 (http:/ / www. scientificamerican. com/ podcast/ episode.
[2] http:/ / www. canadaone. com/ ezine/ oct06/ humour_at_work. html
[3] http:/ / www. bbc. co. uk/ dna/ h2g2/ A930160
[4] http:/ / www. examiner. com/ x-3040-Minneapolis-Life-in-the-Cubicle-Examiner
One-person show
One-person show
In performing arts and entertainment, a one-person show, also known as a "one-man show" or a "solo show," is a
performance enacted by a solitary performer on stage.
The source of the term one-man show originated primarily in referring to a comedian, who would stand on stage and
entertain an audience, employing humor for the most part, cracking jokes, telling humorous stories, and most often
standing upright onstage for an audience, either for an hour of pure stand-up comedy at a time, or in shorter sets for
breaks. With the advent of feminism, words and phrases such as one-woman show and comedienne have entered the
modern-day lexicon.
While a one-person show may be the musings of a comedian on a theme, the form can accommodate a wider scope.
In the preface of the book Extreme Exposure, editor Jo Bonney uses the term "solo performance" to encompass those
performers who do not necessarily have a comedic history. She suggests that "at the most basic level, despite their
limitless backgrounds and performance styles, all solo performers are storytellers." This assumption is based on her
assertion that a number of solo shows have a storyline or a plot.[1]
Bonney also suggests that a distinctive trait of solo performance resides in its frequent lack of a fourth wall
separating the performer from the audience, stating that a "solo show expects and demands the active involvement of
the people in the audience".[1] While this is often the case, as in the shows of performers coming directly from the
stand-up comedy tradition, it is not a requirement: some solo shows, such as Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett,
are performed without the performer addressing the audience directly.
When creating a show, a solo performer is not limited to writing and staging the piece by themselves. They can use
directors, writers, designers, and composers. An example of how Eric Bogosian builds a character can be found in
the published version of his show Wake Up And Smell the Coffee, by Theatre Communications Group, New York.
The backgrounds of many of the solo performers over the decades range from vaudeville, stand-up comedy, poetry,
music, the visual arts, magic, cabaret, and dance.
We could probably assume that individuals have told stories in front of other members of their tribe or society for
thousands of years. They would have orally passed down many of today's myths and legends in this manner. So it is
a style of performance that has been with us for generations developing through theatrical people such as Greek
Monologists, the strolling Minstrels of Medieval England and the French Troubadors.
By the 1960s, the term performance art became popular and involved any number of performance acts or
happenings, as they were known. Many performers, like Laurie Anderson, developed through these happenings and
are still performing today.
One-person show
Categories and Performers
Since solo shows have long been the domain of comic performers, it should be no surprise that many American
comedy stars, past and present, have come to prominence through this genre. Performers include Lily Tomlin, Andy
Kaufman, Lord Buckley, Eric Bogosian, Whoopi Goldberg, Jade Esteban Estrada, Eddie Izzard, John Leguizamo,
Anna Deavere Smith, Bill Hicks, Hugh Morgan "Brother Blue" Hill and Lenny Bruce.
Several performers have presented solo shows in tribute to famous personalities. The blueprint for this type of show
may have been drafted by Hal Holbrook, who has performed as Mark Twain in his solo show, Mark Twain Tonight,
more than 2,000 times since 1954. Examples since that time include Julie Harris in the Emily Dickinson biography,
The Belle of Amherst; Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir in Golda's Balcony; Alan Safier as George Burns in Say
Goodnight Gracie[2] by Rupert Holmes; Ed Metzger in his solo show, performing since 1978, Albert Einstein, The
Practical Boheian; and Ed Metzger in another one-person show Hemingway, On The Edge.
In what was possibly the only instance in which an actor adapted an entire novel for the stage, Patrick Stewart played
all 43 parts in his version of "A Christmas Carol", which played three times on Broadway and at the Old Vic in
One-person shows may be personal, autbiographical creations. This ranges from the intensely confessional but
comedic work of Spaulding Gray, the semi-autobiographical A Bronx Tale by Chaz Palminteri, or Holly Hughes'
solo piece World without End, in which she attempts to make sense of her relationship with her mother who had
Still other shows may rally around a central theme, such as pop culture in Pat Hazel's The Wonderbread Years,
relationships in Robert Dubac's The Male Intellect, the history of the New York City transit system in Mike Daisey's
Invincible Summer, or fighting the system in Patrick Combs' Man 1, Bank 0.
Sometimes, solo shows are simply traditional plays written by playwrights for a cast of one. Examples: Shirley
Valentine by Willy Russell, I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful
Redhead by Robert Hewett and Topless by Miles Tredinnick. A recent prolific performer of shows of this type is
Chris Harris, whose performances in the genre include Kemp's Jig, That's The Way To Do It!, Ally Sloper's
Half-Holiday, Beemaster, 'Arris Music 'All and A Night At The Pantomime.[3]
There is also room in this genre for the inclusion of other art forms. Poetry pervades the work of Dael Orlandersmith,
sleight-of-hand mastery informs Ricky Jay's self-titled Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, magical and psychic
performance skills are part of Neil Tobin's Supernatural Chicago.
North American Fringe festivals have provided platforms for many solo artists, including T.J. Dawe, Charles Ross,
Amy Salloway and Susan Jeremy.
There have also been many British comedians who have moved away from performing pure stand-up comedy in
recent years. The shows that appear annually at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can involve stories of pathos and the
use of technological equipment such as projectors. Examples include Howard Read, who has performed with the
animated character Little Howard which was projected with the aid of computers and Dave Gorman, who has
performed several shows described as "documentary comedy".
One-person show
One-man shows of the past centuries
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Pygmalion
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol: Diary of a crazy man
Anton Chekhov: On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco
Arnold Schoenberg: Erwartung
Zoltan Demme: Ego [4]
See also
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show
Spoken word
Performance poetry
[1] Bonney, Jo; Anthology (February 1, 1999). "preface xiii" (http:/ / users. erols. com/ jobonney/ index. htm). in Jo Bonney. Extreme Exposure:
An Anthology of Solo Performance Texts from the Twentieth Century (1st ed.). Theatre Communications Group; 1st edition. pp. 450.
ISBN 1559361557. . Retrieved 28 December, 2008.
[2] (http:/ / bsoinc. com/ tdc/ artist. php?artist=saygoodnightgracie)
[3] http:/ / www. chrisharrisproductions. co. uk/ one%20man%20shows. htm
[4] http:/ / www. zoltandemmeworks. net/ eng/
ego-golgotha-jerusalem-jesus-boss-dark-comedy-black-comedy-one-man-show-monodrama-one-person-show. html#maincolumn_full
Onomastì komodèin
Onomastì komodèin was an expression used in Ancient Greece to denote a witty attack made with total freedom
against the most notable individuals (see Aristophanes' attacks on Cleon, Socrates, Euripides) in order to expose their
wrongful conduct.
An opinion which originated in the Peripatetic school is that Onomastì komodèin was the fundamental characterizing
aspect of the ancient Greek comedy of the first period (known as archàia).[1]
See also
• Satire
[1] Mastromarco 1994 pp.21-22
• Horace (35 BCE) Sermonum liber primus, Sermo IV "Eupolis atque Cratinus" vv. 1-5
• LaFleur, R.A., Horace and Onomasti Komodein: The Law of Satire II.31.3 (1981) 1790-1826
• Mastromarco, Giuseppe (1994) Introduzione a Aristofane (Sesta edizione: Roma-Bari 2004). ISBN 8842044482
Practical joke
Practical joke
A practical joke (also known as a prank or gag) is a trick to purposely make someone feel foolish or victimized,
usually for humor. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks in that the victim finds out, or is let in on, the joke
rather than being fooled into handing over money or other valuables. Practical jokes or pranks are typically
lighthearted and made to make people feel foolish or victimized to a certain degree, although in some practical jokes
there could be an inherent strain of cruelty present.
The term "practical" refers to the fact that the joke consists of someone doing something (a practice), instead of a
verbal or written joke. A practical joke can be caused by the victim falling for a prank, the victim stumbling into a
prank, the prankster forcing a prank on the victim, the prankster causing others to do something to the victim, or
even causing the victim to do something to others. Sometimes more than one victim is used.
In Western culture, April Fools' Day is a day traditionally dedicated to performing practical jokes.
Famous practical jokes
The American humorist H. Allen Smith wrote a 320-page book in 1953
called The Compleat Practical Joker (ISBN 0688037054) that contains
many examples of practical jokes. A typical one, recalled as his
favorite by the playwright Charles MacArthur, concerns the American
painter and bohemian character Waldo Peirce. Peirce was living in
Paris in the 1920s and "made a gift of a very small turtle to the woman
who was the concierge of his building." The woman doted on the turtle
and lavished it with care and affection. A few days later Peirce
substituted a somewhat larger turtle for the original one. This
A hack in progress in Lobby 7 at MIT
continued for some time, with larger and larger turtles being
surreptitiously introduced into the woman's apartment. The concierge
was beside herself with happiness and displayed her miraculous turtle to the entire neighborhood. Peirce then began
to sneak in and replace the turtle with smaller and smaller ones, to her bewildered distress. This was the storyline
behind Esio Trot, by Roald Dahl.
Modern and successful pranks often take advantage of the modernization of tools and techniques, like the
engineering prank at Cambridge University, England, where an Austin 7 car was put on top of the Senate House
building.[1] Other forms of pranks involve unusual applications of everyday items like covering a room with Post-it
Notes.[2] Pranks can also adapt to the political context of the era.[3] Students at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) are particularly known for their 'hacks'.
Practical joke
In media
Television shows
America's Funniest Home Videos
America's Funniest People
Balls of Steel
Beadle's About
Boiling Points
Candid Camera
Crank Yankers
Ed, Edd n Eddy
Family Guy
Game For A Laugh
Girls Behaving Badly
Howie Do It
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment
Joe Millionaire
Just For Laughs Gags
Naked Camera
The Office
The Office (UK TV series)
Prank Patrol
Rad Girls
Room 401
Scare Tactics
The Simpsons (in episode Radio Bart)
The Tom Green Show
Trigger Happy TV
TV Bloopers And Practical Jokes
What's with Andy?
Wild Boys
Practical joke
April Fool's Day
Dirty Work (1998)
Jackass: The Movie
Men at Work (1990)
Super Troopers
The Howard Stern Show
The Jerky Boys
The Phil Hendrie Show
Rickey Smiley
Roy D. Mercer
Touch-Tone Terrorists
Cubicle Warfare: 101 Office Traps and Pranks by John Austin (ISBN 978-0061438868)
The Complete Practical Joker by H. Allen Smith (ISBN 978-0899669311)
The Practical Joker's Handbook by Tim Nyberg (ISBN 978-0740741982)
Prank University: The Ultimate Guide to College's Greatest Tradition by John Austin (ISBN 978-0307338433)
Prank the Monkey: The ZUG Book of Pranks by Sir John Hargrave (ISBN 978-0806527802)
The Complete Book of Outrageous and Atrocious Practical Jokes by Justin Geste (ISBN 978-0385230445)
Pranks by V. Vale and Andrea Juno (ISBN 978-0940642102)
Famous practical jokers
Real people
Alan Abel
Andy Kaufman
Theo Angelopoulos
Jeremy Beadle
Cyrus Broacha
George Clooney
Dimebag Darrell
Allen Funt
Rémi Gaillard
Mel Gibson
Tom Green
Owen Hart
Curt Hennig
Ashton Kutcher
Keith Moon
• Jim Moran
• Sean Penn
Practical joke
Jon Richardson
Darren "Whackhead" Simpson
Joey Skaggs
Vivian Stanshall
Hugh Troy
Kip Kay
Fictional characters
Al Bundy
Andy (Just books)
Tim Canterbury
The Comedian (Watchmen)
Jim Halpert
Prankster (comics)
Bart Simpson
The Joker
Emil i Lönneberga
• Sheldon Cooper
See also
April Fools' Day
Dreadnought hoax
Gag name
Prank call
School prank
Senior prank
Snipe hunt
Student prank
The Yes Men
[1] From Hermes to bonsai kittens. What makes a jape great? (http:/ / www. economist. com/ world/ displaystory. cfm?story_id=5323412), from
The Economist, Dec 20th 2005. Discusses the origins and evolution of pranks.
[2] Post-it Note April Fools Prank (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=jP_j6KVFmh8)
[3] Priceless pranks (http:/ / www. economist. com/ displaystory. cfm?story_id=5543675), from The Economist, February 21, 2006. Lists famous
and successful pranks throughout history.
Prank call
Prank call
A prank call (also known as crank call and phony call) is a form of practical joke committed over the telephone.
Prank phone calls began to gain an America-wide following over a period of many years, as they gradually became a
staple of the obscure and amusing cassette tapes traded amongst musicians, sound engineers, and media traders
beginning in the late 1970s. Among the most famous and earliest recorded prank calls are the Tube Bar prank calls
tapes which centered around Louis "Red" Deutsch. Comedian Jerry Lewis was an incorrigible phone prankster, and
recordings of his hijinks, dating from the 1960s and possibly earlier, still circulate throughout the country to this day.
Even very prominent people have fallen victim to prank callers, as for example Queen Elizabeth II, who was fooled
by Canadian DJ Pierre Brassard posing as Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, asking her to record a speech in
support of Canadian unity ahead of the 1995 Quebec referendum.[1] Two other particularly famous examples of
prank calls were made by the Miami-based radio station Radio El Zol. In one, they telephoned Venezuelan president
Hugo Chávez and spoke to him, pretending to be Cuban president Fidel Castro.[2] They later reversed the prank,
calling Castro and pretending to be Chávez. Castro began swearing at the pranksters live on air after they revealed
themselves.[3] Radio El Zol was fined $4000 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United
States for the second prank.
In popular culture
Prank calls are generally done for the amusement of the pranksters themselves. Many pranksters record the calls to
share the joke with an audience. Some performers such as The Jerky Boys, Tom Mabe and Roy D. Mercer make a
name for themselves producing albums of their recorded prank calls.
One of country music singer and comedian Ray Stevens best known hits is about a prank phone caller. It's Me Again,
Margaret tells the comedic story of a man, Willard McBain, who constantly calls up the same woman from a pay
telephone. Willard asks Margaret a series of embarrassing questions. Throughout the recording there's periods of
dirty laughs and giggles, provided by Stevens, which enhance the recording even more. The single hit in 1984. It's
songwriter, Paul Craft, had originally recorded the song himself but he didn't include the dirty laughs and naughty
giggling that are in the Ray Stevens version.
The television show Crank Yankers is a series of real-life prank calls made by celebrities and re-enacted on-screen
by puppets for a humorous effect. Fonejacker, a show started on the 5th of April 2007 in the UK on E4, stars Kayvan
Novak performing prank calls to the general public and being shown with animated pictures in a Monty Python style
with their mouths moving and live recordings as the victim receives the call.
As a result of the popular show Crank Yankers. College students from Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Fullerton
created August 14th Southern California Prank Call Day. Every year hundreds of thousands of prank calls are made
to have fun with friends, family, and strangers.
The internet radio station [wPCR] PrankCall Radio ( is said to be the oldest and largest
web-site that records and broadcasts prank phone calls (sometimes live) on the internet. It was created by DJ
FooDStamP (Brett Backman) in 1997 and since has completed over 180,000 prank phone calls and broadcasted them
to nearly 5 million people worldwide as of Jan 1 2010.
Sal and Richard, two "wack packers" on the Howard Stern show, have made various prank calls to public access
shows, Tradio, radio stations and normal people at home. They also have a fictional radio show called the "Jack and
Rod show" where they call a major celebrity for an interview and prank them with sound effects or fake guests such
as cousin Brucie (where Howard imitates a disabled person with a severe speech inpedement) and many other
Prank call
The Simpsons
During the early years of The Simpsons, a popular recurring gag involved Bart making prank calls to Moe's Tavern,
inspired by the Tube Bar prank calls. The calls usually followed a set pattern: Bart would ask for a person, Moe
would shout loudly for the person Bart asked for, and Moe would catch on only after the bar (usually) erupts in
uproarious laughter, also threatening violent revenge upon catching the perpetrator ("Wait a minute... Listen you
yellow bellied rat jackass, I ever find out who you are, I'll kill you!").
"People" for whom Bart have asked include:
I.P. Freely (I pee freely)[4]
Jacques Strappe (Jock strap)[5]
Ivanna Tinkle (I wanna tinkle)
Amanda Huggenkiss (A man to hug and kiss)
Hugh Jass (Huge Ass)
Al Koholic (Alcoholic)[6]
Mike Rotch (My Crotch)
Homer Sexual (Homosexual)
Seymour Butz (see more butts)
Bea O'Problem (B. O. Problem)
Oliver Clothesoff (all of her clothes off)
Ura Snotball (you're a snotball)(This one actually by Homer)
Heywood U. Cuddleme (hey would you cuddle me)
I.C. Wiener (I see wiener)
"Weird Al" Yankovic's parody song "Phony Calls" (a parody of "Waterfalls" by TLC) is entirely about the dangers
of prank calls. It includes an audio clip from The Simpsons (from the "Mike Rotch" call).
A prank call leads to Fry's delivery of a pizza to a cryogenic lab, which sets the whole series in motion. The name
used is I.C. Wiener.[7] Fry also adopts a dog after receiving a prank call asking for a pizza to be delivered to a
Seymour Asses ("see more asses"). Fry then names the dog Seymour following the prank call.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
In its first season, Jimmy Brooks and Spinner Mason make a prank call from Mr. Raditch's office to a Pizza Pizza
store and place an order under Ms. Kwan's name. Earlier that day, Kwan had given both students a hard time about
their behavior, and both wanted revenge. The following Monday, Ms. Kwan took a leave with absence due to the
added stress of working overtime.
Sound Boards
Many prankers have created Shockwave Flash-based 'soundboards', featuring sound bites of dialogue from
well-known television and movie personalities, such as Mr. Rogers, Judge Judith Sheindlin, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
or Dr. Phil, as well as fictional characters such as Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, Fred Fredburger, Hank Hill, and
Stewie Griffin. They will call a business or home and see how whoever answers reacts to odd comments of a
seemingly incoherent individual. In one notable example, a Howard Stern soundboard was used to make a prank call
to Howard Stern himself during his show.
Prank call
The plot of the thriller Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtiss revolves around prank calls made by a pair of teenagers.
The novel was subsequently made into a movie starring Joan Crawford.
Prank calls are the subject of Jacob Appel's widely-anthologized essay, Phoning Home, in which a prank caller
harasses a suburban family.[8]
On the internet
Ever since the opportunity has been available, there have been internet radio stations dedicated to prank calls. Most
of them feature a so-called "rotation" of prank calls which is a constant broadcast of various prank calls submitted by
the community, usually streamed from a SHOUTcast server host. Software such as Ventrilo has allowed prank calls
to be carried out to a more private user-base, however, in real-time.
The internet has allowed many people to share their own personal prank calls and develop into communities. Prank
calls can be carried out in many ways; live or pre-recorded. Sites such as Stickam and Ustream allow hosts to carry
out prank calls live to thousands of listeners, who can also chat and discuss on-goings in real-time. The use of social
networking and the popularity of user generated content also allows these prank calls to spread and popularity to
Although prank call communities are still relatively small-scale compared to FM stations that feature live pranks, it
is a growing community on the internet today and many new communities are developing.
Reaction videos and photo montages are also popular ways of sharing prank phone calls via video sharing websites
such as YouTube.
Pranknet is an anonymous prank calling virtual community responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in damage to
hotels and fast food restaurants. Posing as authority figures, such as fire alarm company representatives and hotel
corporate managers, Pranknet participants called unsuspecting employees and customers in the United States via
Skype and tricked them into damaging property, setting off fire sprinklers and other humiliating acts such as
disrobing. They also post fraudulent ads on Craigslist, and then shout racial epithets and make violent threats of rape
and murder against the people who call them to respond to the ads. Pranknet members listen in real-time and discuss
the progress together in a private chat room. The group, who flaunted their anonymity, were outed during an
investigation by The Smoking Gun.[9]
Prank calls are now easily traced through Caller ID, so it is often asserted that prank calls since the 1990s have been
harder to accomplish. However, most telephone companies permit callers to withhold the identifying information
from calls using a vertical service code such as *57 call trace, *67 that blocks the caller's ID or *69 that gives the last
phone number calling in unless it is blocked by *67 (141 in the UK). Callers can also call from payphones in order to
hide their identity. Another increasingly popular option is to use some form of VOIP. With some VOIP services, the
telephone number will simply not exist.
Prank call
Prank calls range from annoying hang-ups to false calls to emergency services or bomb threats. Prank calls that
waste the time of emergency services are a criminal offence in most countries and is considered telephone
harassment in the US.
One such hoax call occurred in Perth, Australia, on New Year's Eve 2002, when a drunk teenager called the new
anti-terrorist hotline to report a bomb threat against the New Year's Eve fireworks celebrations.[10] The threat was
taken seriously, and the celebrations were about to be cancelled when police discovered that no such threat existed.
The teenager was then arrested for the false report.
A decade-long series of prank calls against fast food personnel in the US ended in 2004 after the caller convinced the
callees to arrest, strip search and sexually abuse a McDonalds employee in Mount Washington, Kentucky. The main
suspect was acquitted in 2006.
Tension was also caused in December 2005, when a commercially operated radio station in Spain (COPE - owned by
a series of institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church) played a prank on Bolivian president-elect Evo Morales.
The hoaxer pretended to be Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, congratulating Morales on his
election[11] and saying things like, "I imagine the only one not to have called you was George Bush. I've been here
two years and he still hasn't called me".[12] The Bolivian government protested to Spain, and the real Zapatero called
Morales and apologized. The Spanish government in turn summoned the papal nuncio in protest.
In the United States, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 makes some prank calls a felony with penalties of up to
two years in prison, and possible fines (depending on severity). However, such penalties are rarely carried out.
Moreover, to make a prank call that falls afoul of the Telecommunications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 223(a)(1) [13], the call
must be done with the intent to "annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass". If the intent of the call is to amuse, confuse, or
simply to engage the call's recipient, it would be possible to argue there is no violation of the Telecommunications
See also
Caller ID spoofing
Jerky Boys
Roy D. Mercer
The Masked Avengers' prank on Sarah Palin
Touch-Tone Terrorists
Tube Bar
You Kicked My Dog
Guido Hatzis
External links
• Prank Calls [14] at the Open Directory Project
[1] "Hoaxing: A national pastime" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ uk_news/ 618065. stm). BBC News (BBC). 2000-01-2513:55 GMT. .
Retrieved 2007-09-15. "In 1995, Canadian DJ Pierre Brassard got through to Buckingham Palace pretending to be Canadian Prime Minister
Jean Chrétien. He chatted to the Queen for 15 minutes on air - eliciting a promise that she would try to influence Quebec's referendum on
proposals to break away from Canada - and she never realised it was a hoax."
[2] "Chavez falls for Castro hoax" (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ americas/ 2637395. stm). BBC News (BBC). 2003-01-0802:57 GMT. .
Retrieved 2007-09-15. "A radio station in the American state of Florida has played a practical joke on President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
with a hoax phone call he believed was from his friend and ally, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Two presenters at Radio El Zol, in Miami,
called Mr. Chavez on a private line and used taped extracts of Mr Castro's voice to make him think it was the communist leader himself on the
[3] http:/ / www. latinamericanstudies. org/ fidel/ transcript. htm
Prank call
[4] Groening, Matt (1997). "Season 1 - Homer's Odyssey". in Ray Richmond, Antonia Coffman. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our
Favorite Family. HarperCollins. pp. 19. ISBN 0060952520. "Moe: Moe's Tavern. Bart: Is Mr. Freely there? Moe: Who? Bart: Freely. First
Initials I.P. Moe: Hold on, I'll check. (calls out) Is I.P. Freely here? I.P. Freely?"
[5] Groening, Matt (1997). "Season 1 - Moaning Lisa". in Ray Richmond, Antonia Coffman. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite
Family.. HarperCollins. pp. 22. ISBN 0060952520. "Bart: Is Jacques there? Moe: Who? Bart: Jacques, Last name Strap. Moe: Hold on.
(Calling out) Jacques Strap! Hey, guys, I'm looking for a Jacques Strap!"
[6] Groening, Matt (1997). "Season 1 - Some Enchanted Evening". in Ray Richmond, Antonia Coffman. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to
Our Favorite Family.. HarperCollins. pp. 30. ISBN 0060952520. "Bart: Hello, is Al there? Moe: Al? Bart: Yeah, Al. Last name, Koholic.
Moe; Phone call for Al. Al Koholic. Is there an Al Koholic here?"
[7] Rich Moore (Director), Gregg Vanzo. (March 25 2003). Space Pilot 3000 (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ title/ tt0584449/ ). [DVD]. 20th Century
Fox. Event occurs at 01. . "Hello! Pizza Delivery! For, uh "I.C. Weiner""
[8] The Massachusetts Review, Volume 48, Number 1
[9] http:/ / www. thesmokinggun. com/ archive/ years/ 2009/ 0803091pranknet1. html
[10] "Perth, Australia bomb threat hoax" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070504182614/ http:/ / www. ag. gov. au/ agd/ WWW/
attorneygeneralHome. nsf/ Page/ Media_Releases_2003_January_2003_WA_man_charged_over_hoax_hotline_call_(1_January_2003)).
Archived from the original (http:/ / www. ag. gov. au/ agd/ WWW/ attorneygeneralHome. nsf/ Page/
Media_Releases_2003_January_2003_WA_man_charged_over_hoax_hotline_call_(1_January_2003)) on 2007-05-04. .
[11] Prank call to Evo Morales (http:/ / www. quepasa. com/ english/ news/ latinamerica/ Zapatero. Morales. prank/ 406542. html)
[12] Transcript of call (in Spanish) (http:/ / www. informativos. telecinco. es/ cope/ zapatero/ broma_morales/ dn_17521. htm)
[13] http:/ / www. law. cornell. edu/ uscode/ 47/ 223. html#a_1
[14] http:/ / www. dmoz. org/ / Recreation/ Humor/ Pranks/ Prank_Calls/ /
Prop comedy
Prop comedy is a comedy genre that makes use of humorous objects, or conventional objects used in humorous
ways. The stage and film term "prop", an abbreviation of "property", refers to any object handled by an actor in the
course of a performance. Although some form of prop comedy has likely existed as long as there has been
comedians, the genre reached its zenith in the vaudeville era. The vaudeville team Olsen and Johnson made heavy
use of prop comedy in their long running Broadway revue Hellzapoppin.
A prop comic is a comedian who makes use of prop comedy. Prop comics are sometimes looked down upon by
other comedians, and the term is sometimes used derisively; however, some, such as Tommy Cooper, rose to critical
acclaim as their props revolved around a gimmick (such as Cooper's magic) and the comedian's character around that
Types of Props
Props are any items that the comedian or comic uses in an absurd way. These can be hand props - items that can be
carried such as a book or slapstick; costume props - props that are worn such as tearaway pant; and set props - props
that are built into the sets such as a breakaway chair. Arguably, the quintessential comic prop is the rubber chicken
which has become a symbol for the genre.
Prop comics
Some well-known prop comics:
The Amazing Johnathan
Brian Barlow aka Poppa Proppa
Carrot Top
Tommy Cooper
Tom Eaton
• Gallagher
• Joel Hodgson
Prop comedy
Tomas Kubinek
The Legendary Wid
Kurt Markgraf
Demetri Martin
Steve Martin
Harpo Marx
Olsen and Johnson
Marty Putz
Al Simmons
Rip Taylor
Other occurrences
The TV comedy game show Whose Line Is It Anyway? has a round called Props in which two teams of comedians
are given a prop each and asked to improvise with them to humorous effect.
Pull my finger
Pull my finger is a joke or prank regarding flatulence in which a mark is asked to pull the finger of the illusionist
(the person playing the joke), who simultaneously farts so as to suggest a causal relationship between the pulling of
the finger and the subsequent expulsion of gas. References in popular culture tend to treat "pull my finger" as a
meme, saying the line but not showing the result, apparently on the assumption that the result is well known.
A comparable activity is attributed to a character in a short story by Mordecai Richler (collected in The Street, 1969):
He settled in sullenly at the kitchen table, his smile morose, and suddenly he would call out, "Pull my finger!" If you did he let out a
tremendous burp.
A variation on this joke appears in Yasujiro Ozu's film Good Morning (1959). Schoolboys ask each other to push
their foreheads, responding with an expulsion of gas.
In 2008, an iPhone app called Pull My Finger was one of the most popular apps in Apple's App Store, purchased
over 50,000 times in less than one week. It allowed users to pull a virtual finger, activating the sound. The phrase is
now the focus of a legal battle between Pull My Finger and iFart over the use of the phrase.[1]
[1] http:/ / arstechnica. com/ software/ news/ 2009/ 02/ prior-fart-legal-stink-up-over-iphone-flatulence-apps. ars
Punch line
Punch line
A punch line is the final part of a joke or comedy sketch, usually the word, sentence or exchange of sentences which
is intended to be funny and to provoke laughter from listeners.
For instance, in the following well-known joke:
A man walks into a bar with a duck under his arm.
The bartender asks: "Say, where did you find the pig?"
"It's not a pig, it's a duck," the man answers.
To which the barman replies: "I was talking to the duck."
Punch lines generally derive their humor from being unexpected. "Punch line" is probably an Americanism, but the
"punch" could be related to biting lines delivered by the "Punch" character in Punch and Judy shows. In previous
centuries, a joke was sometimes a "bite" or a "hit.", in Italian it is still called a "battuta" (= blow).
The classic stand-up punch line sound is a sting (erroneously called a rimshot) on drums.
Not all jokes rely on their punchlines for laughs. Shaggy dog stories are long-winded jokes where the punchline is
deliberately anticlimactic, and are not intended to elicit laughter.
Racial comedy
Racial comedy refers to comedy that purports to identify humorous differences between the various races of
humans. Many African-American comedians rely on racial comedy.
Famous racial comedians include:
Dave Chappelle
Chris Rock
Richard Pryor
Carlos Mencia
George Lopez
Ari Shaffir
Russell Peters
Some shows that rely on racial comedy include:
• Blazing Saddles
• Madtv
• Chappelle's Show
Restoration comedy
Restoration comedy
Restoration comedy refers to English comedies written and performed
in the Restoration period from 1660 to 1710. After public stage
performances had been banned for 18 years by the Puritan regime, the
re-opening of the theatres in 1660 signalled a renaissance of English
drama. Restoration comedy is notorious for its sexual explicitness, a
quality encouraged by Charles II (1660–1685) personally and by the
rakish aristocratic ethos of his court. The socially diverse audiences
included both aristocrats, their servants and hangers-on, and a
substantial middle-class segment. These playgoers were attracted to the
comedies by up-to-the-minute topical writing, by crowded and bustling
plots, by the introduction of the first professional actresses, and by the
rise of the first celebrity actors. This period saw the first professional
woman playwright, Aphra Behn.
Theatre companies
Refinement meets burlesque in Restoration
comedy. In this scene from George Etherege's
Love in a Tub, musicians and well-bred ladies
surround a man who is wearing a tub because he
has lost his trousers.
Original patent companies, 1660–82
Charles II was an active and interested patron of the drama. Soon after
his restoration, in 1660, he granted exclusive play-staging rights,
so-called Royal patents, to the King's Company and the Duke's
Company, led by two middle-aged Caroline playwrights, Thomas
Killigrew and William Davenant. The patentees scrambled for
performance rights to the previous generation's Jacobean and Caroline
plays, which were the first necessity for economic survival before any
new plays existed. Their next priority was to build new, splendid patent
theatres in Drury Lane and Dorset Gardens, respectively. Striving to
outdo each other in magnificence, Killigrew and Davenant ended up
with quite similar theatres, both designed by Christopher Wren, both
optimally provided for music and dancing, and both fitted with
moveable scenery and elaborate machines for thunder, lightning, and
The audience of the early Restoration period was not exclusively
courtly, as has sometimes been supposed, but it was quite small and
could barely support two companies. There was no untapped reserve of
occasional playgoers. Ten consecutive performances constituted a
smash hit. This closed system forced playwrights to be extremely
responsive to popular taste. Fashions in the drama would change
almost week by week rather than season by season, as each company
responded to the offerings of the other, and new plays were urgently
The sumptuously decorated Dorset Gardens
playhouse in 1673, with one of the sets for
Elkannah Settle's The Empress of Morocco. The
apron stage at the front which allowed intimate
audience contact is not visible in the picture (the
artist is standing on it).
Restoration comedy
sought. The King's Company and the Duke's Company vied with one another for audience favour, for popular actors,
and for new plays, and in this hectic climate the new genres of heroic drama, pathetic drama, and Restoration
comedy were born and flourished.[2]
United Company, 1682–95
Both the quantity and quality of the drama suffered when in 1682 the more successful Duke's Company ate the
struggling King's Company, and the amalgamated United Company was formed. The production of new plays
dropped off sharply in the 1680s, affected by both the monopoly and the political situation (see Decline of comedy
below). The influence and the incomes of the actors dropped, too.[3] In the late 80s, predatory investors
("Adventurers") converged on the United Company, while management was taken over by the lawyer Christopher
Rich. Rich attempted to finance a tangle of "farmed" shares and sleeping partners by slashing salaries and,
dangerously, by abolishing the traditional perks of senior performers, who were stars with the clout to fight back.[4]
War of the theatres, 1695–1700
The company owners, wrote the young United Company employee Colley Cibber, "who had made a monopoly of
the stage, and consequently presum'd they might impose what conditions they pleased upon their people, did not
consider that they were all this while endeavouring to enslave a set of actors whom the public were inclined to
support."[5] Performers like the legendary Thomas Betterton, the tragedienne Elizabeth Barry, and the rising young
comedienne Anne Bracegirdle had the audience on their side and, in the confidence of this, they walked out.[6]
The actors gained a Royal "licence to perform", thus bypassing Rich's ownership of both the original Duke's and
King's Company patents from 1660, and formed their own cooperative company. This unique venture was set up
with detailed rules for avoiding arbitrary managerial authority, regulating the ten actors' shares, the conditions of
salaried employees, and the sickness and retirement benefits of both categories. The cooperative had the good luck to
open in 1695 with the première of William Congreve's famous Love For Love and the skill to make it a huge
box-office success.[7]
London again had two competing companies. Their dash to attract audiences briefly revitalized Restoration drama,
but also set it on a fatal downhill slope to the lowest common denominator of public taste. Rich's company
notoriously offered Bartholomew Fair-type attractions — high kickers, jugglers, ropedancers, performing animals —
while the cooperating actors, even as they appealed to snobbery by setting themselves up as the only legitimate
theatre company in London, were not above retaliating with "prologues recited by boys of five, and epilogues
declaimed by ladies on horseback". [8]
Restoration comedy
First actresses
Restoration comedy was strongly influenced by the introduction of the
first professional actresses. Before the closing of the theatres, all
female roles had been played by boys, and the predominantly male
audiences of the 1660s and 1670s were both curious, censorious, and
delighted at the novelty of seeing real women engage in risqué repartee
and take part in physical seduction scenes. Samuel Pepys refers many
times in his famous diary to visiting the playhouse in order to watch or
re-watch the performance of particular actresses, and to how much he
enjoys these experiences.
Daringly suggestive comedy scenes involving women became
especially common, although of course Restoration actresses were, just
like male actors, expected to do justice to all kinds and moods of plays.
(Their role in the development of Restoration tragedy is also important,
compare She-tragedy.)
Nell Gwynn was one of the first actresses and the
A new speciality introduced almost as early as the actresses was the
mistress of Charles II.
breeches role, which called for an actress to appear in male clothes
(breeches being tight-fitting knee-length pants, the standard male garment of the time), for instance in order to play a
witty heroine who disguises herself as a boy to hide, or to engage in escapades disallowed to girls. A quarter of the
plays produced on the London stage between 1660 and 1700 contained breeches roles. Playing these cross-dressing
roles, women behaved with the freedom society allowed to men, and some feminist critics, such as Jacqueline
Pearson, regard them as subversive of conventional gender roles and empowering for female members of the
audience. Elizabeth Howe has objected that the male disguise, when studied in relation to playtexts, prologues, and
epilogues, comes out as "little more than yet another means of displaying the actress as a sexual object" to male
patrons, by showing off her body, normally hidden by a skirt, outlined by the male outfit.
Successful Restoration actresses included Charles II's mistress Nell Gwyn, the tragedienne Elizabeth Barry who was
famous for her ability to "move the passions" and make whole audiences cry, the 1690s comedienne Anne
Bracegirdle, and Susanna Mountfort (a.k.a. Susanna Verbruggen), who had many breeches roles written especially
for her in the 1680s and 90s. Letters and memoirs of the period show that both men and women in the audience
greatly relished Mountfort's swaggering, roistering impersonations of young women wearing breeches and thereby
enjoying the social and sexual freedom of the male Restoration rake.
Restoration comedy
First celebrity actors
During the Restoration period, both male and female actors on the London stage
became for the first time public personalities and celebrities. Documents of the
period show audiences being attracted to performances by the talents of
particular actors as much as by particular plays, and more than by authors (who
seem to have been the least important draw, no performance being advertised by
author until 1699). Although the playhouses were built for large audiences—the
second Drury Lane theatre from 1674 held 2000 patrons — they were of compact
design, and an actor's charisma could be intimately projected from the thrust
With two companies competing for their services from 1660 to 1682, star actors
were able to negotiate star deals, comprising company shares and benefit nights
as well as salaries. This advantageous situation changed when the two companies
were amalgamated in 1682, but the way the actors rebelled and took command of
a new company in 1695 is in itself an illustration of how far their status and
power had developed since 1660.
Thomas Betterton played the
irresistible Dorimant in George
Etherege's Man of Mode. Betterton's
acting ability was praised by Samuel
Pepys, Alexander Pope, and Colley
The greatest fixed stars among Restoration actors were Elizabeth Barry ("Famous Mrs Barry" who "forc 'd Tears
from the Eyes of her Auditory") and Thomas Betterton, both of them active in organising the actors' revolt in 1695
and both original patent-holders in the resulting actors' cooperative.
Betterton played every great male part there was from 1660 into the 18th century. After watching Hamlet in 1661,
Samuel Pepys reports in his diary that the young beginner Betterton "did the prince's part beyond imagination."
Betterton's expressive performances seem to have attracted playgoers as magnetically as did the novelty of seeing
women on the stage. He was soon established as the leading man of the Duke's Company, and played Dorimant, the
seminal irresistible Restoration rake, at the première of George Etherege's Man of Mode (1676). Betterton's position
remained unassailable through the 1680s, both as the leading man of the United Company and as its stage manager
and de facto day-to-day leader. He remained loyal to Rich longer than many of his coworkers, but eventually it was
he who headed the actors' walkout in 1695, and who became the acting manager of the new company.
Variety and dizzying fashion changes are typical of Restoration comedy. Even though the "Restoration drama" unit
taught to college students is likely to be telescoped in a way that makes the plays all sound contemporary, scholars
now have a strong sense of the rapid evolution of English drama over these forty years and of its social and political
causes. The influence of theatre company competition and playhouse economics is also acknowledged.
Restoration comedy peaked twice. The genre came to spectacular maturity in the mid-1670s with an extravaganza of
aristocratic comedies. Twenty lean years followed this short golden age, although the achievement of Aphra Behn in
the 1680s is to be noted. In the mid-1690s a brief second Restoration comedy renaissance arose, aimed at a wider
audience. The comedies of the golden 1670s and 1690s peak times are extremely different from each other. An
attempt is made below to illustrate the generational taste shift by describing The Country Wife (1675) and The
Provoked Wife (1697) in some detail. These two plays differ from each other in some typical ways, just as a
Hollywood movie of the 1950s differs from one of the 1970s. The plays are not, however, offered as being "typical"
of their decades. Indeed, there exist no typical comedies of the 1670s or the 1690s; even within these two short
peak-times, comedy types kept mutating and multiplying.
Restoration comedy
Aristocratic comedy, 1660–80
The drama of the 1660s and 1670s was vitalised by the competition between the two patent companies created at the
Restoration, as well as by the personal interest of Charles II, and the comic playwrights rose to the demand for new
plays. They stole freely from the contemporary French and Spanish stage, from English Jacobean and Caroline plays,
and even from Greek and Roman classical comedies, and combined the looted plotlines in adventurous ways.
Resulting differences of tone in a single play were appreciated rather than frowned on, as the audience prized
"variety" within as well as between plays. Early Restoration audiences had little enthusiasm for structurally simple,
well-shaped comedies such as those of Molière; they demanded bustling, crowded multi-plot action and fast pace.
Even a splash of high heroic drama might be thrown in to enrich the comedy mix, as in George Etherege's Love in a
Tub (1664), which has one heroic verse "conflict between love and friendship" plot, one urbane wit comedy plot, and
one burlesque pantsing plot. (See illustration, top right.) Such incongruities contributed to Restoration comedy being
held in low esteem in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, but today the early Restoration total theatre experience
is again valued on the stage, as well as by postmodern academic critics.
The unsentimental or "hard" comedies of John Dryden, William Wycherley, and George Etherege reflected the
atmosphere at Court, and celebrated with frankness an aristocratic macho lifestyle of unremitting sexual intrigue and
conquest. The Earl of Rochester, real-life Restoration rake, courtier and poet, is flatteringly portrayed in Etherege's
The Man of Mode (1676) as a riotous, witty, intellectual, and sexually irresistible aristocrat, a template for posterity's
idea of the glamorous Restoration rake (actually never a very common character in Restoration comedy).
Wycherley's The Plain Dealer (1676), a variation on the theme of Molière's Le Misanthrope, was highly regarded for
its uncompromising satire and earned Wycherley the appellation "Plain Dealer" Wycherley or "Manly" Wycherley,
after the play's main character Manly. The single play that does most to support the charge of obscenity levelled then
and now at Restoration comedy is probably Wycherley's The Country Wife (1675).
Example. William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675)
The Country Wife has three interlinked but distinct plots, which each project
sharply different moods:
1. Horner's impotence trick provides the main plot and the play's organizing
principle. The upper-class town rake Horner mounts a campaign for seducing
as many respectable ladies as possible, first spreading a false rumour of his
own impotence, in order to be allowed where no complete man may go. The
trick is a great success and Horner has sex with many married ladies of
virtuous reputation, whose husbands are happy to leave him alone with them.
In one famously outrageous scene, the "China scene", sexual intercourse is
assumed to take place repeatedly just off stage, where Horner and his
mistresses carry on a sustained double entendre dialogue purportedly about
Horner's china collection. The Country Wife is driven by a succession of
near-discoveries of the truth about Horner's sexual prowess (and thus the truth
about the respectable ladies), from which he extricates himself by quick
thinking and good luck. Horner never becomes a reformed character, but keeps
his secret to the end and is assumed to go on merrily reaping the fruits of his
planted misinformation, past the last act and beyond.
William Wycherley, The Country Wife:
"O Lord, I'll have some china too. Good
Master Horner, don't think to give other
people china, and me none. Come in
with me too."
2. The married life of Pinchwife and Margery is based on Molière's School For Wives. Pinchwife is a middle-aged
man who has married an ignorant young country girl in the hope that she will not know to cuckold him. However,
Horner teaches her, and Margery cuts a swathe through the sophistications of London marriage without even
Restoration comedy
noticing them. She is enthusiastic about the virile handsomeness of town gallants, rakes, and especially theatre actors
(such self-referential stage jokes were nourished by the new higher status of actors), and keeps Pinchwife in a state
of continual horror with her plain-spokenness and her interest in sex. A running joke is the way Pinchwife's
pathological jealousy always leads him into supplying Margery with the very type of information he wishes her not
to have.
3. The courtship of Harcourt and Alithea is a comparatively uplifting love story in which the witty Harcourt wins the
hand of Pinchwife's sister Alithea from the hands of the Upper-class town snob Sparkish whom she was engaged to
until she discovered he only loved her for her money and nothing else except of course himself as he is generally
described as a beauty whose looks deeply affect those around him but vanity is poison.
Decline of comedy, 1678–90
When the two companies were amalgamated in 1682 and the London stage became a monopoly, both the number
and the variety of new plays being written dropped sharply. There was a swing away from comedy to serious
political drama, reflecting preoccupations and divisions following on the Popish Plot (1678) and the Exclusion Crisis
(1682). The few comedies produced also tended to be political in focus, the whig dramatist Thomas Shadwell
sparring with the tories John Dryden and Aphra Behn. Behn's unique achievement as an early professional woman
writer has been the subject of much recent study.
Comedy renaissance, 1690–1700
During the second wave of Restoration comedy in the 1690s, the "softer" comedies of William Congreve and John
Vanbrugh reflected mutating cultural perceptions and great social change. The playwrights of the 1690s set out to
appeal to more socially mixed audiences with a strong middle-class element, and to female spectators, for instance
by moving the war between the sexes from the arena of intrigue into that of marriage. The focus in comedy is less on
young lovers outwitting the older generation, more on marital relations after the wedding bells. Thomas Southerne's
dark The Wives' Excuse (1691) is not yet very "soft": it shows a woman miserably married to the fop Friendall,
everybody's friend, whose follies and indiscretions undermine her social worth, since her honour is bound up in his.
Mrs Friendall is pursued by a would-be lover, a matter-of-fact rake devoid of all the qualities that made Etherege's
Dorimant charming, and she is kept from action and choice by the unattractiveness of all her options. All the humour
of this "comedy" is in the subsidiary love-chase and fornication plots, none in the main plot.
In Congreve's Love for Love (1695) and The Way of the World (1700), the "wit duels" between lovers typical of
1670s comedy are underplayed. The give-and-take set pieces of couples still testing their attraction for each other
have mutated into witty prenuptial debates on the eve of marriage, as in the famous "Proviso" scene in The Way of
the World (1700). Vanbrugh's The Provoked Wife (1697) follows in the footsteps of Southerne's Wives' Excuse, with
a lighter touch and more humanly recognizable characters.
Restoration comedy
Example. John Vanbrugh, The Provoked Wife (1697)
The Provoked Wife is something of a Restoration problem play in its attention to
the subordinate legal position of married women and the complexities of
"divorce" and separation, issues that had been highlighted in the mid-1690s by
some notorious cases before the House of Lords (see Stone).
Sir John Brute in The Provoked Wife is tired of matrimony. He comes home
drunk every night and is continually rude and insulting to his wife. She is
meanwhile being tempted to embark upon an affair with the witty and faithful
Constant. Divorce is not an option for either of the Brutes at this time, but forms
of legal separation have recently come into existence, and would entail a separate
maintenance to the wife. Such an arrangement would not allow remarriage. Still,
muses Lady Brute, in one of many discussions with her niece Bellinda, "These
are good times. A woman may have a gallant and a separate maintenance too."
Bellinda is at the same time being grumpily courted by Constant's friend
Heartfree, who is surprised and dismayed to find himself in love with her. The
bad example of the Brutes is a constant warning to Heartfree to not marry.
John Vanbrugh, The Provoked Wife:
"These are good times. A woman
may have a gallant and a separate
maintenance too."
The Provoked Wife is a talk play, with the focus less on love scenes and more on discussions between female friends
(Lady Brute and Bellinda) and male friends (Constant and Heartfree). These exchanges, full of jokes though they
are, are thoughtful and have a dimension of melancholy and frustration.
After a forged-letter complication, the play ends with marriage between Heartfree and Bellinda and stalemate
between the Brutes. Constant continues to pay court to Lady Brute, and she continues to shilly-shally.
End of comedy
The tolerance for Restoration comedy even in its modified form was running out at the end of the 17th century, as
public opinion turned to respectability and seriousness even faster than the playwrights did. Interconnected causes
for this shift in taste were demographic change, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, William's and Mary's dislike of the
theatre, and the lawsuits brought against playwrights by the Society for the Reformation of Manners (founded in
1692). When Jeremy Collier attacked Congreve and Vanbrugh in his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness
of the English Stage in 1698, he was confirming a shift in audience taste that had already taken place. At the
much-anticipated all-star première in 1700 of The Way of the World, Congreve's first comedy for five years, the
audience showed only moderate enthusiasm for that subtle and almost melancholy work. The comedy of sex and wit
was about to be replaced by the drama of obvious sentiment and exemplary morality.
After Restoration comedy
Stage history
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the sexual frankness of Restoration comedy ensured that theatre producers
cannibalised it or adapted it with a heavy hand, rather than actually performed it. Today, Restoration comedy is again
appreciated on the stage. The classics, Wycherley's The Country Wife and The Plain-Dealer, Etherege's The Man of
Mode, and Congreve's Love For Love and The Way of the World have competition not only from Vanbrugh's The
Relapse and The Provoked Wife, but from such dark unfunny comedies as Thomas Southerne's The Wives Excuse.
Aphra Behn, once considered unstageable, has had a major renaissance, with The Rover now a repertory favourite.
Restoration comedy
Literary criticism
Distaste for sexual impropriety long kept Restoration comedy not only off the stage but also locked in a critical
poison cupboard. Victorian critics like William Hazlitt, although valuing the linguistic energy and "strength" of the
canonical writers Etherege, Wycherley, and Congreve, always found it necessary to temper aesthetic praise with
heavy moral condemnation. Aphra Behn received the condemnation without the praise, since outspoken sex comedy
was considered particularly offensive coming from a woman author. At the turn of the 20th century, an embattled
minority of academic Restoration comedy enthusiasts began to appear, for example the important editor Montague
Summers, whose work ensured that the plays of Aphra Behn remained in print.
"Critics remain astonishingly defensive about the masterpieces of this period", wrote Robert D. Hume as late as
1976. It is only over the last few decades that that statement has become untrue, as Restoration comedy has been
acknowledged a rewarding subject for high theory analysis and Wycherley's The Country Wife, long branded the
most obscene play in the English language, has become something of an academic favourite. "Minor" comic writers
are getting a fair share of attention, especially the post-Aphra Behn generation of women playwrights which
appeared just around the turn of the 18th century: Delarivier Manley, Mary Pix, Catharine Trotter, and Susannah
Centlivre. A broad study of the majority of never-reprinted Restoration comedies has been made possible by Internet
access (by subscription only) to the first editions at the British Library.
List of notable Restoration comedies
• Charles Sedley, The Mulberry-Garden (1668) and the racy Bellamira (play):
or, The Mistress (1687)
• George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, The Rehearsal (1671)
• John Dryden, Marriage a la Mode (1672)
• William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675), The Plain-Dealer (1676)
• George Etherege, The Comical Revenge (1664), She Would if She Could
(1668), The Man of Mode (1676)
• Aphra Behn, The Rover (1677), The Roundheads (1681), The Rover, Part II
(1681), The Lucky Chance (1686)
• Thomas Shadwell, Bury Fair (1689)
• Thomas Southerne, Sir Anthony Love (1690), The Wives Excuse (1691)
• William Congreve, The Old Bachelor (1693), Love For Love (1695), The Way
of the World (1700)
The Rover by Aphra Behn is now a
repertory favourite
• John Vanbrugh, The Relapse (1696), The Provoked Wife (1697)
• George Farquhar, Love and a Bottle (1698), The Constant Couple (1699), Sir Harry Wildair (1701), The
Recruiting Officer (1706), The Beaux' Stratagem (1707)
• Susannah Centlivre, The Perjured Husband (1700), The Basset-Table, (1705), The Busie Body (1709)
Restoration comedy
See also
• Essay of Dramatick Poesie
• John Rich (producer)
• Restoration style
• Cibber, Colley (first published 1740, Everyman's Library ed. 1976). An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber.
London: J. M. Dent & Sons.
• Dobrée, Bonamy (1927). Introduction to The Complete Works of Sir John Vanbrugh, vol. 1. Bloomsbury: The
Nonesuch Press.
• Howe, Elizabeth (1992). The First English Actresses: Women and Drama 1660–1700. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
• Hume, Robert D. (1976). The Development of English Drama in the Late Seventeenth Century. Oxford:
Clarendon Press.
• Milhous, Judith (1979). Thomas Betterton and the Management of Lincoln's Inn Fields 1695–1708. Carbondale,
Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.
• Morgan, Fidelis (1981). The Female Wits - Women Playwrights on the London Stage 1660–1720 London: Virago
• Pearson, Jacqueline (1988). The Prostituted Muse: Images of Women and Women Dramatists 1642–1737. New
York: St. Martin's Press.
• Stone, Lawrence (1990). Road to Divorce:England 1530–1987. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Van Lennep, William (ed.) (1965). The London Stage 1660–1800: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments &
Afterpieces Together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment Compiled From the Playbills,
Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period, Part 1: 1660–1700. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois
University Press.
Further reading
This section lists a selection of seminal critical studies.
• Canfield, Douglas (1997). Tricksters and Estates: On the Ideology of Restoration Comedy. Lexington, Kentucky:
The University Press of Kentucky.
• Fujimura, Thomas H. (1952). The Restoration Comedy of Wit. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
• Holland, Norman N. (1959). The First Modern Comedies: The Significance of Etherege, Wycherley and
Congreve. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
• Hughes, Derek (1996). English Drama, 1660-1700. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0198119746.
• Markley, Robert (1988). Two-Edg'd Weapons: Style and Ideology in the Comedies of Etherege, Wycherley, and
Congreve. Oxford : Clarendon Press.
• Summers, Montague (1935). Playhouse of Pepys. London: Kegan Paul.
• Weber, Harold (1986). The Restoration Rake-Hero: Transformations in Sexual Understanding in
Seventeenth-Century England. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
• Zimbardo, Rose A. (1965). Wycherley's Drama: A Link in the Development of English Satire. New Haven: Yale
University Press.
Restoration comedy
External links
Restoration playhouses [9]
The Restoration drama database project [10]
17th Century Database [11]
Aphra Behn, The Rover [12]
William Congreve, Love For Love [13]
William Congreve, The Way of the World [14]
George Etherege, The Man of Mode [15]
John Vanbrugh, The Provoked Wife [16]. Use with caution, this is an abridged and bowdlerised text.
William Wycherley, The Country Wife [17]
William Wycherley, The Gentleman Dancing-Master [18]
Hume, 19–21.
Hume, 17, 23.
Milhous, 38–48.
Milhous, 51–55.
[5] Milhous, 66.
[6] Milhous, 68–74.
[7] Milhous, 52–55.
[8] Dobrée, xxi.
[9] http:/ / www. st-andrews. ac. uk/ ~www_se/ murray/ Restoration/ Theatres/ Theatres. html
[10] http:/ / www. us. es/ restoration/ plays_author. html
[11] http:/ / www. theatredatabase. com/ 17th_century/
[12] http:/ / drama. eserver. org/ plays/ 17th_century/ rover/
[13] http:/ / digital. library. upenn. edu/ webbin/ gutbook/ lookup?num=1244
[14] http:/ / digital. library. upenn. edu/ webbin/ gutbook/ lookup?num=1292
[15] http:/ / www. bibliomania. com/ Drama/ Restoration/ Plays/ ch7act01. html
[16] http:/ / www. bibliomania. com/ 0/ 6/ 276/ 1880/ frameset. html
[17] http:/ / www. bibliomania. com/ 0/ 6/ 274/ 1876/ frameset. html
[18] http:/ / www3. shropshire-cc. gov. uk/ etexts/ E000294. htm
Roast (comedy)
Roast (comedy)
A roast, in North American English, is an event in which an individual is subjected to a public presentation of
comedic insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes, the implication being that the
roastee is able to take the jokes in good humor and not as serious criticism or insult, and therefore, show their good
nature. It is seen as a great honor to be roasted, as the individual is surrounded by friends, fans, and well-wishers,
who can receive some of the same treatment as well during the course of the evening. The party and presentation
itself are both referred to as a roast. The host of the event is called the roastmaster. Anyone who is honored in such a
way is said to have been "roasted".
New York Friars' Club
The New York Friars' Club has held celebrity roasts in private since the 1920s. Only recently has the public been
invited to see them via television. Dean Martin hosted a series of roasts on television during the 1960s and 1970s as
part of The Dean Martin Show. The humor at these broadcast tributes was far tamer than the sometimes extremely
vulgar and explicit language of the private, non-televised ones.
United States
Currently on television in the U.S., Comedy Central occasionally broadcasts roasts of comedians, both some of the
Friars' Club and their own. To date, Comedy Central has aired roasts of Drew Carey, Jerry Stiller, Rob Reiner, Hugh
Hefner, Emmitt Smith, Gene Simmons, Chevy Chase, Denis Leary, Jeff Foxworthy, Pamela Anderson, William
Shatner, Flavor Flav, Bob Saget, Larry the Cable Guy, and Joan Rivers.
United Kingdom
Many attempts to adapt the format to a British audience have been made, Channel 4 launched the latest British
version on 7 April 2010 with A Comedy Roast, with initial victims being Bruce Forsyth, Sharon Osbourne and Chris
Tarrant.[1] [2]
The White House Correspondents' Association and Radio and Television Correspondents' Association have annual
dinners that, in some years, feature a comedy roasting of the President. Don Imus at the RTCA in 1996 and Stephen
Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner have received particular attention for their
biting remarks during their speeches.[3] [4] [5]
[1] "Channel 4 launches comedy roast shows" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ media/ 2010/ apr/ 05/ comedy-roasts-channel-4). The Guardian. 5
April 2010. . Retrieved 8 April 2010.
[2] "A Comedy Roast - Series & Episodes" (http:/ / www. channel4. com/ programmes/ a-comedy-roast/ episode-guide). Channel 4. undated. . Retrieved 8 April 2010.
[3] John Hendren (2007-04-11). "Imus Clout Prompts Political Support" (http:/ / abcnews. go. com/ Politics/ story?id=3031440& page=1). ABC
News. . Retrieved April 11, 2007.
[4] Sandoval, Greg. "Video of Presidential roast attracts big Web audience" (http:/ / news. com. com/ 2061-10802_3-6068398. html). Cnet . Retrieved 2006-05-08.
[5] Rich, Frank (November 5, 2006). "Throw the Truthiness Bums Out" (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ 2006/ 11/ 05/ opinion/ 05rich. html). New
York Times. . Retrieved 2006-11-22.
Savoy opera
Savoy opera
The Savoy Operas denote a style of comic opera that
developed in Victorian England in the late 19th century,
with W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan as the original
and most successful practitioners. The name is derived
from the Savoy Theatre, which impresario Richard
D'Oyly Carte built to house the Gilbert and Sullivan
pieces, and later, those by other composer–librettist
teams. The great bulk of the non-G&S Savoy Operas
either failed to achieve a foothold in the standard
repertory, or have faded over the years, leaving the term
"Savoy Opera" as practically synonymous with Gilbert
and Sullivan. The Savoy operas (in both senses) were
one of the seminal influences on the creation of the
modern musical.
Gilbert, Sullivan, Carte, and other Victorian era British
composers, librettists and producers,[1] as well as the
contemporary British press and literature, called works
of this kind 'comic operas' to distinguish their content
and style from that of the continental European
operettas that they wished to displace. Most of the
published literature on Gilbert and Sullivan since that
time refers to these works as 'Savoy Operas,' 'comic
operas', or both.[2] However, the Penguin Opera Guides
and many other general music dictionaries and encyclopedias classify the Gilbert and Sullivan works as operettas.[3]
Patience (1881) was the first opera to appear at the Savoy Theatre, and thus, in a strict sense, the first true "Savoy
Opera" — although the term "Savoy Opera" has, for over a century, included the complete set of thirteen operas that
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote for Richard D'Oyly Carte:
Trial by Jury (1875)
The Sorcerer (1877)
H.M.S. Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor (1878)
The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty (1880)
Patience, or Bunthorne's Bride (1881)
Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri (1882)
Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant (1884)
The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu (1885)
Ruddigore, or The Witch's Curse (1887)
The Yeomen of the Guard, or The Merryman and his Maid (1888)
The Gondoliers, or The King of Barataria (1889)
Utopia Limited, or The Flowers of Progress (1893)
The Grand Duke, or The Statutory Duel (1896)
Savoy opera
Other definitions
During the years when the Gilbert and Sullivan (“G&S”) operas
were being written, Richard D'Oyly Carte produced operas by
other composer–librettist teams, either as curtain raisers to the
G&S pieces, or to fill the theatre when no G&S piece was
available. To their contemporaries, the term "Savoy Opera"
referred to any opera that appeared at that theatre, regardless of
who wrote it.
Aside from curtain raisers (which are listed in the second table
below), the G&S operas were the only works produced at the
Savoy Theatre from the date it opened (10 October 1881) until The
Gondoliers closed on 20 June 1891. Over the next decade, there
were only two new G&S pieces (Utopia Limited and The Grand
Duke), both of which had comparatively brief runs. To fill the gap,
Carte mounted G&S revivals, Sullivan operas with different
librettists, and works by other composer–librettist teams. Richard
D'Oyly Carte died on April 3, 1901. If the nexus of Carte and the
Savoy Theatre is used to define "Savoy Opera," then the last new
Savoy Opera was The Rose of Persia (music by Sullivan, libretto
by Basil Hood), which ran from 28 November 1899–28 June 1900.
c.1881 Savoy Theatre
After Carte's death, his wife Helen Carte assumed
management of the theatre. She continued to produce
new pieces in the G&S style, along with G&S revivals.
Counting the pieces that Mrs. D'Oyly Carte and the
D'Oyly Carte Opera Company produced, the last Savoy
Opera was A Princess of Kensington (music by Edward
German, libretto by Basil Hood), which ran for four
months in early 1903. This is the point that Cyril
Rollins and R. John Witts adopt as the end of the Savoy
Operas. After A Princess of Kensington, Mrs. D'Oyly
Carte relinquished control of the theatre until
December 8, 1906, when she produced a series of G&S
revivals in repertory, with Gilbert returning to direct.
Gilbert, Workman and German at a rehearsal
In March 1909, Charles H. Workman assumed control
of the theatre, producing three new pieces, including
one by Gilbert himself, Fallen Fairies (music by Edward German). The last of these Workman-produced works
came in early 1910, Two Merry Monarchs by Arthur Anderson, George Levy, and Hartley Carrick, with music by
Orlando Morgan. The contemporary press referred to these works as "Savoy Operas",[4] and S. J. Adair Fitz-Gerald
regarded Workman's pieces as the last Savoy Operas.
Fitz-Gerald wrote his book, The Story of the Savoy Opera, in 1924, when these other pieces were still within living
memory. But over time, all of the works produced at the Savoy by composers and librettists other than Gilbert and
Sullivan were largely forgotten. The term "Savoy Opera" came to be synonymous with the thirteen extant works of
Gilbert and Sullivan. The first collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan—the 1871 opera Thespis—was not a Savoy
Opera under any of the definitions mentioned to this point, as Richard D'Oyly Carte did not produce it, nor was it
Savoy opera
ever performed at the Savoy Theatre. Given its lack of a D'Oyly Carte or Savoy connection, Thespis has a tenuous
claim to be a "Savoy Opera." However, Rollins & Witts include it in their compendium of the Savoy Operas, as does
Geoffrey Smith.
Complete list
The following table shows all of the full-length operas that could be considered "Savoy Operas" under any of the
definitions mentioned above. Only first runs are shown. Curtain-raisers and afterpieces that played with the Savoy
Operas are included in the next table below.
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
26 Dec.
8 Mar.
Trial by Jury
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
25 Mar.
18 Dec.
The Sorcerer
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
17 Nov.
24 May
H.M.S. Pinafore
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
25 May
20 Feb.
The Pirates of Penzance
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
30 Dec.
30 Dec.
5 June
3 Apr. 1880 2 Apr.
23 Apr.
8 Oct.
10 Oct.
22 Nov.
Fifth Avenue, 31 Dec.
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
25 Nov.
1 Jan.
Princess Ida
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
5 Jan. 1884
9 Oct.
The Mikado
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
14 Mar.
19 Jan.
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
22 Jan.
5 Nov.
The Yeomen of the
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
3 Oct. 1888 30 Nov.
The Gondoliers
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
7 Dec. 1889 20 June
The Nautch Girl
George Dance & Frank Desprez
Edward Solomon
30 June
16 Jan.
The Vicar of Bray
Sydney Grundy
Edward Solomon
28 Jan.
18 June
Haddon Hall
Sydney Grundy
Arthur Sullivan
24 Sep.
15 Apr.
Savoy opera
Jane Annie
J. M. Barrie & Arthur Conan Doyle
Ernest Ford
13 May
1 July
Utopia Limited
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
7 Oct. 1893 9 June
Harry Greenbank & Fred E. Weatherly
(revised by Adrian Ross)
André Messager
3 July 1893
11 Aug.
6 Oct. 1894 6 Dec.
The Chieftain
F. C. Burnand
Arthur Sullivan
12 Dec.
16 Mar.
The Grand Duke
W. S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
7 Mar. 1896 10 July
His Majesty
F. C. Burnand, R. C. Lehmann, & Adrian Alexander Mackenzie
20 Feb.
24 Apr.
The Grand Duchess of
Charles H. Brookfield & Adrian Ross
Jacques Offenbach
4 Dec. 1897 12 Mar.
The Beauty Stone
A. W. Pinero & J. Comyns Carr
Arthur Sullivan
28 May
16 July
The Lucky Star
Charles H. Brookfield, Adrian Ross, &
Aubrey Hopwood
Ivan Caryll
7 Jan. 1899
31 May
The Rose of Persia
Basil Hood
Arthur Sullivan
29 Nov.
28 June
The Emerald Isle
Basil Hood
Arthur Sullivan &
Edward German
27 Apr.
9 Nov.
Ib and Little Christina
Basil Hood
Franco Leoni
Basil Hood
Cecil Cook
29 Nov.
The Willow Pattern
14 Nov.
Merrie England
Basil Hood
Edward German
2 Apr. 1902 30 July
24 Nov.
17 Jan.
A Princess of
Basil Hood
Edward German
22 Jan.
16 May
The Mountaineers
Guy Eden
Reginald Somerville
29 Sep.
27 Nov.
Fallen Fairies
W. S. Gilbert
Edward German
15 Dec.
29 Jan.
Two Merry Monarchs
Arthur Anderson, George Levy, &
Hartley Carrick
Orlando Morgan
10 Mar.
23 Apr.
Savoy opera
Companion pieces
The fashion in the late Victorian era was to present long evenings in the theatre, and so full-length pieces were often
presented together with companion pieces.[5] During the original runs of the Savoy Operas, each full-length work
was normally accompanied by one or two short companion pieces. A piece that began the performance was called a
curtain-raiser, and one that ended the performance was called an afterpiece.
The following table lists the known companion pieces that appeared at the Opera Comique or the Savoy Theatre
during the original runs and principal revivals of the Savoy Operas through 1909. There may have been more such
pieces that have not yet been identified. In a number of cases, the exact opening and closing dates are not known.
Date ranges overlap, since it was common to rotate two or more companion pieces at performances during the same
period to be played with the main piece.
Many of these pieces also played elsewhere (and often on tour by D'Oyly Carte touring companies). Only the runs at
the Opera Comique and the Savoy are shown here.[6]
Played With
Dora's Dream
Arthur Cecil
Alfred Cellier
Opera Comique
17 Nov.
7 Feb.
The Sorcerer
The Spectre
James Albery
Alfred Cellier
Opera Comique
9 Feb. 1878
23 Mar.
The Sorcerer
28 May
10 Aug.
23 Mar.
24 May
The Sorcerer
11 Oct.
12 Mar.
22 Sept.
31 Dec.
6 June 1899
25 Nov.
25 May
5 Aug.
14 Oct.
5 Dec.
Trial by Jury
Beauties on the
W. S. Gilbert
George Grossmith
Arthur Sullivan
George Grossmith
Opera Comique &
Opera Comique
A Silver Wedding George Grossmith
George Grossmith
Opera Comique
Five Hamlets
George Grossmith
George Grossmith
Opera Comique
Cups and
George Grossmith
George Grossmith
Opera Comique
part of 1878
? 1878
5 Aug.
12 Oct.
20 Feb.
Savoy opera
After All!
Frank Desprez
Alfred Cellier
Opera Comique
In the Sulks
Frank Desprez
Alfred Cellier
Opera Comique
16 Dec.
20 Feb.
Cups and Saucers
? Feb. 1880
20 Mar.
Children's Pinafore
23 Nov.
4 Mar.
Mikado & Grand Duke
4 Apr. 1896
8 Aug.
7 May 1897
16 June
21 Feb.
21 Feb.
20 Mar.
Children's Pinafore
3 Apr. 1880
2 Apr.
23 Apr.
2 May
11 Oct.
14 Oct.
Uncle Samuel
Arthur Law
George Grossmith
Opera Comique
3 May 1881
8 Oct.
Mock Turtles
Frank Desprez
Joseph Eaton Faning
15 Nov.
22 Nov.
25 Nov.
30 Mar.
A Private Wire
Frank Desprez
Percy Reeve
1 Jan. 1884 Iolanthe
The Carp
Frank Desprez &
Arnold Felix
Alfred Cellier
11 Feb.
19 Jan.
21 Feb.
5 Nov.
Mrs. Jarramie's
Frank Desprez
Alfred Cellier & François Savoy
? Nov. 1887 ? Nov.
Pinafore, Pirates,
Mikado, Yeomen
Captain Billy
Harry Greenbank
François Cellier
23 Sep.
16 Jan.
Nautch Girl
1 Feb. 1892
18 June
Vicar of Bray
18 Mar.
15 Apr.
Haddon Hall
3 June 1893
1 July
Jane Annie
Mr. Jericho
Harry Greenbank
Ernest Ford
Quite an
Frank Desprez
Edward Solomon
15 Dec.
29 Dec.
The Chieftain
Cox & Box
F. C. Burnand
Arthur Sullivan
? Dec. 1894
? Mar.
The Chieftain
Savoy opera
Weather or No
Old Sarah
Pretty Polly
The Outpost
The Willow
Adrian Ross & William Bertram Luard-Selby
Harry Greenbank
Basil Hood
A. O'D. Bartholeyns
Basil Hood
François Cellier
François Cellier
Hamilton Clarke
Cecil Cook
(revised version)
A Welsh Sunset
Frederick Fenn
Philip Michael Faraday
10 Aug.
17 Feb.
The Mikado
2 Mar. 1897 24 Apr.
His Majesty
17 June
31 July
16 Aug.
20 Nov.
10 Dec.
12 Mar.
The Grand Duchess of
22 Mar.
21 May
19 May
28 June
Rose of Persia
8 Dec. 1900 20 Apr.
2 July 1900
3 Nov.
8 Nov.
7 Dec.
14 Nov.
29 Nov.
Ib and Little Christina
9 Dec. 1901 29 Mar.
15 July
Pinafore & Pirates
17 Oct.
2 Dec. 1908 24 Feb.
*Indicates an approximate date.
• Fitz-Gerald, S. J. Adair (1924). The Story of the Savoy Opera. London: Stanley Paul & Co.
• Rollins, Cyril; R. John Witts (1962). The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. London:
Michael Joseph Ltd.
Further reading
Ainger, Michael (2002). Gilbert and Sullivan, a Dual Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ayre, Leslie (1972). The Gilbert & Sullivan Companion. London: Pan Books Ltd. Foreword by Martyn Green.
Baily, Leslie (1966). The Gilbert and Sullivan Book (new ed. ed.). London: Spring Books.
Baily, Leslie (1973). Gilbert & Sullivan and Their World. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.
Bradley, Ian (1996). The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Crowther, Andrew (2000). Contradiction Contradicted – The Plays of W. S. Gilbert. Associated University
Presses. ISBN 0-8386-3839-2.
• Farrell, Scott (2009). The C. H. Workman Productions: A Centenary Review of the Final Savoy Operas. Scott
Savoy opera
Ffinch, Michael (1993). Gilbert and Sullivan. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Gilbert, W. S. (1976). The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc..
Gilbert, W. S. (1994). The Savoy Operas. Hertfordshire, England: Wordsworth Editions Ltd. ISBN 1853263133.
Green, Martyn (1961). Treasury of Gilbert & Sullivan. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc..
Hibbert, Christopher (1976). Gilbert & Sullivan and Their Victorian World. New York: American Heritage
Publishing Co., Inc.
James, Alan (1989). Gilbert & Sullivan. Wiltshire, England: Omnibus Press.
Jacobs, Arthur (1992). Arthur Sullivan – A Victorian Musician (Second Edition ed.). Portland, OR: Amadeus
Smith, Geoffrey (1983). The Savoy Operas. London: Robert Hale Limited.
Stedman, Jane W. (1996). W. S. Gilbert, A Classic Victorian & His Theatre. Oxford University Press.
ISBN 0-19-816174-3.
Williamson, Audrey (1953). Gilbert and Sullivan Opera. London: Marion Boyars.
Wilson, Robin; Frederic Lloyd (1984). Gilbert & Sullivan – The Official D'Oyly Carte Picture History. New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
Wolfson, John (1976). Final Curtain – The Last Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. London: Chappell & Company
External links
The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive [7]
Information about curtain raisers and companion pieces [8] at The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
The Gilbert and Sullivan Discography [9]
Gilbert & Sullivan 101, with essays, bibliography, related links, etc. [10]
Savoynet - an email-based G&S listserv [11]
Who Was Who in the D'Oyly Carte [12]
Memories of the D'Oyly Carte website [13]
Reviews of the operas [14]
[1] See German Reeds, Frederic Clay, and F. C. Burnand
[2] See Crowther, Stedman, Bailey, Bradley, Ainger, and Jacobs
[3] The New Penguin Opera Guide, ed. Amanda Holden, Penguin Books, London 2001 and The Penguin Concise Guide to Opera, ed. Amanda
Holden, Penguin Books, London 2005 both note: "Operetta is the internationally recognized term for the type of work on which William
Schwenck Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated under Richard D'Oyly Carte's management (1875-96), but they themselves used the words 'comic
opera'". See also the Oxford Dictionary of Opera, ed. John Warrack and Ewan West, Oxford University Press 1992 and The New Grove
Dictionary of Opera, 4 vols, ed. Stanley Sadie, Macmillan, New York 1992
[4] See e.g., The Manchester Guardian, 17 September 1910, p. 1, advertising The Mountaineers.
[5] Lee Bernard. "Swash-buckling Savoy curtain-raiser", (http:/ / www. sheffieldtelegraph. co. uk/ classical/ Swashbuckling-Savoy-curtainraiser-.
4348391. jp) Sheffield Telegraph, 1 August 2008
[6] Walters, Michael and George Low. Article on Savoy curtain raisers (http:/ / math. boisestate. edu/ gas/ companions/ gas2. html) at The
Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, accessed 8 May 2010
[7] http:/ / diamond. boisestate. edu/ gas/
[8] http:/ / diamond. boisestate. edu/ gas/ companions/ html/ curtain_home. html
[9] http:/ / www. cris. com/ ~oakapple/ gasdisc/ index. htm
[10] http:/ / www. musicals101. com/ g& s101. htm
[11] http:/ / www. cris. com/ ~oakapple/ savoynet
[12] http:/ / math. boisestate. edu/ gas/ whowaswho/ index. htm
[13] http:/ / pinafore. www3. 50megs. com/ mainindex. html
[14] http:/ / savoyoperas. org. uk/ home. htm
Screwball comedy film
Screwball comedy film
The screwball comedy is a subgenre of the comedy film genre. It has proven to be one of the most popular and
enduring film genres. It first gained prominence in 1934 with It Happened One Night,[1] and, although many film
scholars would agree that its classic period ended sometime in the early 1940s,[2] elements of the genre have
persisted, or have been paid homage, in contemporary film.
While there is no authoritative list of the defining characteristics of the screwball comedy genre, films considered to
be definitive of the genre usually feature farcical situations, a combination of slapstick with fast-paced repartee, and
a plot involving courtship and marriage or remarriage. The film critic Andrew Sarris has defined the screwball
comedy as "a sex comedy without the sex."[3]
The screwball comedy has close links with the theatrical genre of farce, and some comic plays are also described as
screwball comedies. Many elements of the screwball genre can be traced back to such stage plays as Shakespeare's
Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of
Being Earnest. Other genres with which screwball comedy is associated include slapstick, situation comedy, and
romantic comedy.
Like farce, screwball comedies often involve mistaken identities or other circumstances in which a character or
characters try to keep some important fact a secret. Sometimes screwball comedies feature male characters
cross-dressing, further contributing to the misunderstandings (Bringing Up Baby, I Was a Male War Bride, Some
Like It Hot). They also involve a central romantic story, usually in which the couple seem mismatched and even
hostile to each other at first, and "meet cute" in some way. Often this mismatch comes about because the man is
much further down the economic scale than the woman (Bringing Up Baby, Holiday). The final marriage is often
planned by the woman from the beginning, while the man doesn’t know at all. In Bringing Up Baby we find a rare
statement on that, when the leading woman says, once speaking to someone other than her future husband: "He’s the
man I’m going to marry, he doesn’t know it, but I am."
Class issues are a strong component of screwball comedies: the upper class tend to be shown as idle and pampered,
and have difficulty getting around in the real world. The most famous example is It Happened One Night; some
critics believe that this portrayal of the upper class was brought about by the Great Depression, and the poor
moviegoing public's desire to see the rich upper class brought down a peg. By contrast, when lower-class people
attempt to pass themselves off as upper-class, they are able to do so with relative ease (The Lady Eve, My Man
Another common element is fast-talking, witty repartee (You Can't Take It With You, His Girl Friday). This stylistic
device did not originate in the screwballs (although it may be argued to have reached its zenith there): it can also be
found in many of the old Hollywood cycles including the gangster film, romantic comedies, and others.
Screwball comedies also tend to contain ridiculous, farcical situations, such as in Bringing Up Baby, in which a
couple must take care of a pet leopard during much of the film. Slapstick elements are also frequently present (such
as the numerous pratfalls Henry Fonda takes in The Lady Eve).
One subgenre of screwball is known as the comedy of remarriage, in which characters divorce and then remarry one
another (The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story). Some scholars point to this frequent device as evidence of the
shift in the American moral code as it showed freer attitudes about divorce (though the divorce always turns out to
have been a mistake).
The philosopher Stanley Cavell has noted that many classic screwball comedies turn on an interlude in the state of
Connecticut (Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, The Awful Truth). [4]
Screwball comedy film
Notable examples of the genre from its classic period
It Happened One Night (1934), d. Frank Capra
Twentieth Century (1934), d. Howard Hawks
Hands Across the Table (1935), d. Mitchell Leisen
She Married Her Boss (1935), d. Gregory La Cava
Libeled Lady (1936), d. Jack Conway
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), d. Frank Capra
My Man Godfrey (1936), d. Gregory LaCava
The Awful Truth (1937), d. Leo McCarey
Easy Living (1937), d. Mitchell Leisen
Nothing Sacred (1937), d. William A. Wellman
Tovarich (1937), d. Anatole Litvak
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), d. Ernst Lubitsch
Bringing Up Baby (1938), d. Howard Hawks
Holiday (1938), d. George Cukor
Merrily We Live (1938), d. Norman Z. McLeod
You Can't Take It with You (1938), d. Frank Capra
Vivacious Lady (1938), d. George Stevens
The Mad Miss Manton (1938), d. Leigh Jason
Bachelor Mother (1939), d. Garson Kanin
It's a Wonderful World (1939), d. W. S. Van Dyke
Midnight (1939), d. Mitchell Leisen
His Girl Friday (1940), d. Howard Hawks
My Favorite Wife (1940), d. Garson Kanin
The Philadelphia Story (1940), d. George Cukor
That Uncertain Feeling (1941), d. Ernst Lubitsch
Ball of Fire (1941), d. Howard Hawks
The Lady Eve (1941), d. Preston Sturges
Rings on Her Fingers (1942), d. Rouben Mamoulian
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), d. Alfred Hitchcock
The Palm Beach Story (1942), d. Preston Sturges
To Be or Not to Be (1942), d. Ernst Lubitsch
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), d. Frank Capra
Other films from this period in other genres incorporate elements of the screwball comedy. For example, Alfred
Hitchcock's 1935 thriller The 39 Steps features the gimmick of a young couple who find themselves handcuffed
together and who eventually, almost in spite of themselves, fall in love with one another, and Woody Van Dyke's
1934 detective comedy The Thin Man portrays a witty, urbane couple who trade barbs as they solve mysteries
together. Many of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s also feature screwball comedy plots,
notably The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935).
Actors and actresses frequently featured in or associated with screwball comedy include:
Jean Arthur
Ralph Bellamy
Claudette Colbert
Gary Cooper
• Melvyn Douglas
• Irene Dunne
Screwball comedy film
Clark Gable
Cary Grant
Jean Harlow
Katharine Hepburn
Carole Lombard
Myrna Loy
William Powell
Rosalind Russell
Barbara Stanwyck
Gene Tierney
James Stewart
Some notable directors of screwball comedies include:
Frank Capra
George Cukor
Howard Hawks
Garson Kanin
Gregory La Cava
Mitchell Leisen
Preston Sturges
Billy Wilder
Ernst Lubitsch
W. S. Van Dyke
Later screwball comedies
Various later films are considered by some critics to have revived elements of the classic era screwball comedies. A
partial list might include such films as:
The Mating Season (1951), d. Mitchell Leisen
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), d. Jean Negulesco
The Seven Year Itch (1955), d. Billy Wilder
Bell, Book and Candle (1958), d. Richard Quine
Pillow Talk (1959), d. Michael Gordon
Some Like It Hot (1959), d. Billy Wilder
The Grass Is Greener (1960), d. Stanley Donen
One, Two, Three (1961), d. Billy Wilder
Man's Favorite Sport? (1964), d. Howard Hawks
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) d. Richard Lester
The Party (1968), d. Blake Edwards
Screwball comedy film
Modern screwball comedies
What's Up, Doc? (1972), d. Peter Bogdanovich
A Touch of Class (1973), d. Melvin Frank
...And Justice for All (film) (1979), d. Norman Jewison
Seems Like Old Times (film) (11980), d. Jay Sandrich
Mr. Mom (1983), d. Stan Dragoti
To Be or Not to Be (1983), d. Alan Johnson (remake of 1942 movie of the same title)
Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984),d.Priyadarshan
A Fish Called Wanda (1988), d. Charles Crichton
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), d. Joel and Ethan Coen
Forces of Nature (1999), d. Bronwen Hughes
State and Main (2000), d. David Mamet
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), d. Joel and Ethan Coen
Juwanna Mann (2002), d. Jesse Vaughn
Down with Love (2003), d. Peyton Reed
The Fighting Temptations (2003), d. Jonathan Lynn
Intolerable Cruelty (2003), d. Joel and Ethan Coen
Leatherheads (2008), d. George Clooney
Burn After Reading (2008), d. Joel and Ethan Coen
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), d. Bharat Nalluri
The Brothers Bloom (2009), d. Rian Johnson
The Hangover (2009), d. Todd Phillips
Date Night (2010), d. Shawn Levy
Elements of classic screwball comedy often found in more recent films which might otherwise simply be classified
as romantic comedies include the "battle of the sexes" (Down with Love, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), witty
repartee (Down with Love), and the contrast between the wealthy and the middle class (You've Got Mail, Two Weeks
Notice). Modern updates on screwball comedy may also sometimes be categorized as black comedy (Intolerable
Cruelty, which also features a twist on the classic screwball element of divorce and re-marriage). The Coen Brothers
often include screwball elements in a film which may not as a whole be considered screwball or even a comedy.
Screwball comedy elements in other genres
Elements of screwball have also appeared in other genres altogether: the characters of Han Solo and Princess Leia in
the film Star Wars have been described as "a classic screwball comedy pair".[5]
The television series Moonlighting (1985–1989), NewsRadio (1995–1999), Gilmore Girls (2000–2007), and
Standoff (2006–2007) have also adapted elements of the screwball comedy genre for the small screen.
The Tintin book, The Castafiore Emerald, contains settings, plots, comic devices and character types that share many
similarities to screwball comedies.
Screwball comedy film
See also
• Comedy of errors - similar genre
• Farce
External links
• Senses of cinema: Mitchell Leisen [6]
• Screwball at Green Cine [7]
• (French) La Screwball Comedy [8]
[1] Cele Otnes; Elizabeth Hafkin PleckCele Otnes, Elizabeth Hafkin Pleck (2003) Cinderella dreams: the allure of the lavish wedding (http:/ /
books. google. com/ books?id=_GbTEDRyXQ4C& pg=PA168& dq=screwball+ It+ Happened+ One+ Night& lr=& num=50&
ei=H3hCSpf0C4TuzATZ_5lf) University of California Press, p. 168 ISBN 0520240081
[2] Citation (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=SK5ZAAAAMAAJ& q=screwball+ comedy+ 1940& dq=screwball+ comedy+ 1940& lr=&
ei=O1UTS93pIoWIygTDi_DfDA) The Screwball Comedy Films: A History and Filmography, 1934-1942, By Duane Byrge, Robert Milton
Miller, McFarland, 1991, ISBN 0899505392, 9780899505398, page 104, quote:'With the explosive exception of His Girl Friday, screwball
comedy had calmed considerably by 1940 from its peak of zaniness in 1937-38'
[3] Citation (http:/ / www. newsradioart. com/ Pages/ 2. Introduction. html) - Sarris, Andrew. You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet: The American
Talking Film, History & Memory, 1927-1949, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998.
[4] Cavell, Stanley. Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.
[5] "Star Wars" (http:/ / dir. salon. com/ story/ ent/ masterpiece/ 2002/ 05/ 28/ star_wars/ index. html?pn=2), Brian Libby,, May 28,
[6] http:/ / archive. sensesofcinema. com/ contents/ directors/ 05/ leisen. html
[7] http:/ / www. greencine. com/ static/ primers/ screwball. jsp
[8] http:/ / cinemaclassic. free. fr/ hollywood/ comedy/ screwball_comedy. html
A shtick (Yiddish: ‫( )קיטש‬or schtick) is a comic theme or gimmick. "Shtick" is derived from the Yiddish word shtik
(‫)קיטש‬, meaning "piece"; the closely-related German word Stück has the same meaning. The English word "piece"
itself is also sometimes used in a similar context. Another variant is "bits of business" or just "bits"; comic
mannerisms such as Laurel and Hardy's fiddling with their ties, or one of them looking into the camera shaking his
head while the other one would ramble on. A shtick can also refer to an adopted persona, usually for comedy
performances, that is maintained consistently (though not necessarily exclusively) across the performer's career. In
this usage, the recurring personalities adopted by Laurel and Hardy through all of their many comedy films (despite
the fact that they often played characters with different names and professions) would qualify as their shtick. A
comedian might maintain several different shticks of this sort, particularly if they appear in a variety show that
encourages them to develop multiple characters, such as Saturday Night Live.
In common usage, the word shtick has also come to mean any talent, style, habit, or other eccentricity for which a
person is particularly well-known, even if not intended for comedic purposes. For example, a person who is known
locally for his or her ability to eat dozens of hot dogs quickly might say that it was their shtick.
Among Orthodox Jews, "shtick" often refers to wedding shtick, in which wedding guests entertain the bride and
groom through dancing, costumes, juggling, and silliness.
Shtick as a criticism
Because of its roots in comedy and showbusiness, the word shtick has a connotation of a contrived and often-used
act—something done deliberately, but perhaps not sincerely. For this reason, journalists and commentators often
apply the word disparagingly to politicians and their positions, such as the Village Voice's reference to a perceived
change in Rudy Giuliani's position ("Rudy Adopts New Shtick"[1] ) or's subtitle for a criticism of
presidential candidate Mitt Romney's presentation of his Mormonism ("Mitt Romney's Clumsy Mormon Shtick"[2] ).
Reviews or critiques of artistic or journalistic works have also used the word in this manner, usually to imply a
shallow repetitiveness in the work of the reviewed, such as New York Magazine calling the White Stripes' 2007
Canadian tour a "one-note shtick".[3]
Famous comedy shticks
• Jack Benny's character on his radio program was notoriously both stingy and a bad violin player, as well as being
perpetually 39 years old. In real life, Benny was known as an expert violinist and lavish tipper, and kept
celebrating his 39th birthday each year publicly because "there's nothing funny about 40".
• Three of The Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico and Harpo, all had well-honed shticks by the time they started
making movies.
• Groucho, with his stooped walk, greasepaint mustache, lascivious [4] eyebrow raising, and his cigar;
• Chico, with his fake Italian accent, his "shooting the keys" style of piano playing, and borderline moronic
behavior; and
• Harpo, with his pantomime routines, the seemingly bottomless pockets of his trench coat, and his ability to
play the harp.
• The fourth performing brother, Zeppo, never developed a shtick and thus was a straight man in their movies though some have argued that his blandness and "normality" was indeed his shtick.
• W.C. Fields nurtured a character that was not far from himself in real life, being misanthropic, misogynistic, and a
hard drinker, as well as lovingly massaging the English language through the utterly unique bellow of his voice
and his famous bulbous nose.
• Many of the performers over the course of Saturday Night Live's long broadcast history have developed shticks
that were popular enough to be developed into feature films. The earliest of these was the Blues Brothers, the
dark-suited alter egos of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, which spawned two movies and an actual blues record.
Of the movies that followed in later years, some met with similar success (such as Mike Myers' Wayne's World),
while others are regarded as critical and commercial disasters (Julia Sweeney's It's Pat!).
• Henny Youngman's standard line "Take my wife — please" was part of his schtick. It consisted of several
one-liners delivered in rapid-fire sequence.
• Johnny Carson's many shticks include his role as "Carnac the Magnificent", an Indian fortune teller who could
divine answers to questions sealed in envelopes and "kept in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on the front
porch of Funk & Wagnalls since noon today". His signature imaginary golf swing at the end of his monologue
would also qualify.
• Chris Berman's shtick in his ESPN commentary was his tendency to give additional nicknames to players based
on their last names (often intended as puns or pop culture references). Berman was also known to often say a
football player "could — go — all — the — way" on long touchdown plays (parodying Howard Cosell's
• Andrew Dice Clay's shtick in his comedy routines is his crude, misogynist themed humor, and sometimes vulgar
reinterpretations of nursery rhymes.
• Rodney Dangerfield's shtick was centered around his famous catchphrase, "I don't get no respect," accompanied
by his characteristic facial gesture and yanking or straightening his scarlet necktie.
• Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G, Borat and Bruno alter-egos can be considered shticks.
• Stephen Colbert has referred to his character as a shtick.
• Andy Kaufman was a particularly rigorous practitioner of shtick. Kaufman almost never appeared in public, other
than as one of his shtick characters, such as "Foreign Man" or Tony Clifton. When he did appear as himself, he
still acted out some shtick routine.
• Yakov Smirnoff's shtick is the Russian Reversal, a joke which is better known than the actual comedian.
• Lewis Black's shtick is his amazingly uncontrollable fits of rage; another is his comments on his blood pressure
due to the aforementioned fits.
• Bob Newhart's shtick is his long one-sided phone calls with himself. He lets the audience assume what the other
person is saying and reacts to it deadpan.
[1] Barrett, Wayne. Runnin' Scared: Rudy Adopts New Shtick (http:/ / www. villagevoice. com/ news/ 0728,barrett,77192,2. html), The Village
Voice (http:/ / www. villagevoice. com/ ), July 10, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
[2] Reilly, Adam. Take My Wives...Please!: Mitt Romney's Clumsy Mormon Shtick (http:/ / www. slate. com/ id/ 2140539/ ), (http:/ /
www. slate. com), April 26, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
[3] Ayers, Michael D. The White Stripes and Their One-Note Shtick (http:/ / nymag. com/ daily/ entertainment/ 2007/ 07/
the_white_stripes_and_their_on. html), New York Magazine (http:/ / nymag. com/ ), July 18, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
[4] http:/ / en. wiktionary. org/ wiki/ lascivious
Sick comedy
Sick comedy
Sick comedy was a pejorative term for some comedy, that was made up by the mainstream weeklies Time and Life
to attack the new satire that was affirming in the United States in the late 50s.[1] The mainstream comic taste in the
United States until the 50s was mostly based on more innocuous forms, like the Bob Hope style. In contrast, new
comedy brought elements that were innovative in that context: cynicism, social criticism and political satire. The
pejorative labeling "sick comedy" was a way for the traditional media to defend the establishment and the status quo.
Lenny Bruce in 1959, guest at the first airing of the Playboy's Penthouse show, reported that Time made an article
indiscriminately grouping seven new comedians, labeling them as "sick comics"; they were Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl
(an author of political satire), Shelley Berman (considered by Bruce a mediocre comedian), Jonathan Winters, Mike
Nichols and Elaine May, and Tom Lehrer.[2]
Script doctor Daniele Luttazzi says: "the term sick comedy then ended up being used to encompass a bit of
everything: the humor of the Mad magazine as Jules Feiffer, the cartoons by Charles Addams as the monologues by
Mike Nichols and Elaine May, the traditional comedy by Shelley Berman and the hipster comedy of Dick
When Time magazine labeled Lenny Bruce as a sick comic, he replied: "The kind of sickness I wish Time had
written about, is that school teachers in Oklahoma get a top annual salary of $4000, while Sammy Davis Jr. gets
$10,000 a week in Vegas."[3]
[1] Luttazzi 2001
[2] The Sickniks (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,869153,00. html) - Time, Monday, Jul. 13, 1959
[3] Lenny Bruce The Tribunal (http:/ / members. aol. com/ dcspohr/ lenny/ original. htm)
• Daniele Luttazzi (2001), foreword to the Italian edition of Lenny Bruce's (1972) How to Talk Dirty and Influence
• Lenny Bruce, appearance at the first airing of Playboy's Penthouse, 1959
• Lenny Bruce (2004) Let The Buyer Beware, Disc One, last track Lenny On Playboy's Penthouse (with Hugh
Hefner & Nat "King" Cole)
• The Sickniks (,9171,869153,00.html) - Time, Jul. 13, 1959. p.2
(,9171,869153-2,00.html) p.3 (
• The Third Campaign (,9171,939769-8,00.html) - Time,
Monday, Aug. 15, 1960, p.8
• Lenny Bruce (1972) How to Talk Dirty and Influence People
See also
• Black comedy
• Gallows humor
External links
• The Lenny Bruce Originals (
• Lenny Bruce ( and Let The Buyer
Beware (2004), 7-1/2 Hours Of Mostly Unreleased Lenny
The skomorokhs (Sing. скоморох in Russian, скоморохъ in Old East
Slavic, скоморaхъ in Church Slavonic) were medieval East Slavic
harlequins, i.e., actors, who could also sing, dance, play musical
instruments, and compose most of the scores for their oral/musical and
dramatic performances. The etymology of the word is not totally clear
There are hypotheses that the word is derived from the Greek
σκώμμαρχος (cf. σκῶμμα, "joke"); from the Italian scaramuccia
("joker", cf. English scaramouch); from the Arabic masẋara; and many
The skomorokhs appeared in Kievan Rus no later than in the mid-11th
century, and the frescos in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev are there
to prove it. The first chronicle data about skomorokhi concur with the
period when frescoes depicting skomorokh shows were painted on the
walls of St. Sophia Cathedral. The monk chronicler denounced
skomorokhi as devil servants, whereas the artist, who painted the walls
18th-century lubok representing Russian
of the Cathedral, found it possible to introduce their pictures as church
decorations along with icons. Furthermore, the Church often railed
against the skomorokhi and other elements of popular culture as being
irreverent, detracting from the worship of God, or even downright
diabolical. For example, Theodosius of Kiev, one of the cofounders of
the Caves Monastery in the eleventh century, called the skomorokhi
"evils to be shunned by good Christians".[2] Their art was related and
addressed to the common people and usually opposed to the ruling
groups, thus being not just useless, but ideologically detrimental and
dangerous from the point of view of the feudalists and the clergy.
Belarusian skomorokhs as they appear on the
Skomorokhi were most of all persecuted in the years of the Mongol
1555 German etching
yoke, when the church strenuously propagated ascetic living. The
skomorokh art reached its peak in the 15th–17th century. Their repertoire included mock songs, dramatic and
satirical sketches called glumy (глумы), performed in masks and skomorokh dresses to the sounds of domra,
balalaika, gudok, bagpipes, or buben (a kind of tambourine). The appearance of Russian puppet theatre was directly
associated with skomorokh performances.
The skomorokhs performed in the streets and on the city squares and socialized with the spectators, drawing them
into their play. Usually, the main character of the skomorokh performance was a fun-loving saucy muzhik (мужик)
of comic simplicity. In the 16th–17th century, the skomorokhs would sometimes combine their efforts and perform
in a vataga (ватага, or big crowd) numbering 70 to 100 people. The skomorokhs were often persecuted by the
Russian Orthodox Church and civilian authorities.
In 1648 and 1657, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich issued ukases banning the skomorokh art as blasphemous, but the actors
would still occasionally perform during popular celebrations. In the 18th century, the skomorokh art gradually died
away, passing on some of its traditions to the balagans (балаган) and rayoks (раёк).
See also
External links
• Skomorokhi, the Troubadours of Old Rus [3]
[1] Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary entry for skomorokh (http:/ / starling. rinet. ru/ cgi-bin/ response. cgi?root=/ usr/ local/ share/ starling/
morpho& morpho=1& basename=\usr\local\share\starling\morpho\vasmer\vasmer& first=1& text_word=ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼Ð¾Ñ€Ð¾Ñ &
[2] Feodosii Pecherskii, Sochinenia, I. I. (Izmail Ivanovich) Sreznevksii, ed., in Ucheniia zapiski vtorogo otdelenie Imperatorskoi Akademii
Nauk, Vol. 2, no. 2, (St. Petersburg: Tipografii Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk, 1856), 195; See Russell Zguta, "Skomorokhi: The Russian
Minstrel-Entertainers", Slavic Review 31 No. 2 (June 1972), 297–298; Idem, Russian Minstrels: A History of the Skomorokhi (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978).
[3] http:/ / www. russia-ic. com/ culture_art/ traditions/ 625/
Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a style of comedy where a comedian performs for a live audience, usually speaking directly to
them. The performer is known as a stand-up comic, stand-up comedian or simply a stand-up.
Stand-up performances are usually short, where the comedian recites a fast-paced succession of humorous stories,
short jokes (called "bits"), and one-liners, which comprise what is typically called a monologue, routine or act. Some
stand-up comedians use props, music or magic tricks to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedy is often performed in
comedy clubs, bars, colleges and theaters, but there is no real restriction on where the craft can be performed. Many
smaller venues hold "open mic" events, where anyone can take the stage and perform for the audience, offering a
way for amateur performers to hone their craft and possibly break into professionalism. In North America, many
comedy clubs feature the now-iconic brick wall as the backdrop for stand-up performancesMany stand-up comedians
work for years to develop 45 minutes of material, and usually perform their bits repeatedly, slowly perfecting them
over time. Actor-comedian Will Ferrell has called stand-up comedy "hard, lonely and vicious".[1]
United Kingdom history
The United Kingdom has a long heritage of stand-up comedians.
British stand-up comedy began in the music halls of the 18th and 19th centuries. Notable performers who rose
through the music hall circuit were Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey and Max Miller, who was considered to be
the quintessential music-hall comedian. The heavy censorship regime of the Lord Chamberlain's Office required all
comedians to submit their acts for censorship. The act would be returned with unacceptable sections underlined in
blue pencil (possibly giving rise to the term "blue" for a comedian whose act is considered bawdy or smutty). The
comedian was then obliged not to deviate from the act in its edited form.[2]
At the end of World War II, many members of the Armed Forces had developed a taste for comedy (stand-up or
otherwise) in wartime concert parties and moved into professional entertainment. Eric Sykes, Peter Sellers and the
other Goons, and Tommy Cooper all began their careers this way. The rise of the postwar comedians coincided with
the rise of television and radio, and the traditional music hall circuit suffered greatly as a result. Whereas a music
Stand-up comedy
hall performer could work for years using just one act, television exposure created a constant demand for new
material, although this may have also been responsible for the cessation of theatrical censorship in 1968.
By the 1970s, music hall entertainment was virtually dead. Alternative circuits had evolved, such as Working Mens'
Clubs.[2] Some of the more successful comedians on the Working Men's Club circuit - including Bernard Manning,
Bobby Thompson, Frank Carson and Stan Boardman - eventually made their way to television via such shows as The
Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. The "alternative" comedy scene also began to evolve. Some of the earliest
successes came from folk clubs, where performers such as Billy Connolly, Mike Harding and Jasper Carrott started
as relatively straight musical acts whose between-song banter developed into complete comedy routines. The 1960s
had also seen the satire boom, including the creation of the club, The Establishment, which, amongst other things,
gave British audiences their first taste of extreme American stand-up comedy from Lenny Bruce.[3] Victoria Wood
launched her stand-up career in the early 1980s, which saw observational conversation mixed with comedy songs.
Wood was to become one of the country's most successful comedians, in 2001 selling out the Royal Albert Hall for
15 nights in a row.
In 1979, the first American-style stand-up comedy club, the Comedy Store, London was opened in London by Peter
Rosengard, where many alternative comedy stars of the 1980s, such as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Alexei
Sayle, Lee Evans, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson began their careers.[4] The stand-up comedy circuit rapidly
expanded from London across the UK. The present British stand-up comedy circuit arose from the 'alternative'
comedy revolution of the 1980s, with political and observational humour being the prominent styles to flourish. In
1983 young drama teacher Maria Kempinska created Jongleurs Comedy Clubs, now the largest Stand Up Comedy
chain in Europe.
United States history
Stand-up comedy has its roots in various traditions of popular entertainment of the late 19th century including
vaudeville, English Music Hall, Minstrel shows, humorist monologues (by personalities such as Mark Twain), and
circus clown antics. Comedians of this era often donned an ethnic persona (African, Scottish, German, Jewish, etc)
and built a routine based on popular stereotypes. Jokes were generally broad and material was widely shared.
The fathers of modern American stand-up comedy, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Milton Berle, and Frank Fay
all came from vaudeville. They spoke directly to the audience as themselves, in front of the curtain, known as
performing "in one". Frank Fay gained acclaim as a "master of ceremonies" at New York's Palace Theater and is
credited with creating the style of 20th century stand-up.
Nightclubs and resorts became the new breeding ground for stand-ups. Acts like Alan King, Danny Thomas, Don
Rickles, and Jack E. Leonard flourished in these new arenas.
In the 1950s and into the 1960s, led by Mort Sahl, stand-ups began developing their acts in small folk clubs (like San
Francisco's hungry i or New York's Bitter End). These comedians added an element of social satire and expanded
both the language and boundaries of stand-up venturing into politics, race relations, and sexual humor. Lenny Bruce
became known as a "sick" comic when he used language that sometimes led to his arrest. Other notable comics from
this era include Woody Allen, Shelley Berman, and Bob Newhart. Some African-American comedians such as Redd
Foxx, George Kirby, Bill Cosby, and Dick Gregory began to cross over to white audiences during this time.
Stand-up in the 1970s saw several entertainers becoming major stars based on stand-up comedy performances.
Richard Pryor and George Carlin followed Lenny Bruce's acerbic style to become icons. Stand-up expanded from
clubs, resorts, and coffee houses into major concerts in sports arenas and amphitheaters. Steve Martin and Bill Cosby
had levels of success with gentler comic routines. The older style of stand-up comedy (no social satire) was kept
alive by Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett, who enjoyed revived careers late in life. Television programs such
as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show launched the careers of other stand-up comedians.
Stand-up comedy
In 2005, Bill Dana, a graduate of Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts and stand-up comedian, approached his
Alma Mater about establishing an archive of comedy to help preserve the lush history of the ground-breaking comics
of the last century. Over 60 interviews were conducted and a vast database of comedic information is now on record
at Emerson College.[5]
Stand-up comedy around the world
Ireland has produced many successful and influential stand-up comedians, including Dave Allen, Spike Milligan,
Dylan Moran, Dara Ó Briain, Ardal O'Hanlon, Sean Hughes and Ed Byrne. Irish and British standups tend to be
well-known in the general culture of both nations.
Hong Kong
Stand-up comedy in China is an emerging art form. Hong Kong is the only city in China to offer a fulltime comedy
club, The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong, which features both local comics as well as leading international
comedians such as Tom Cotter.[6] The Punchline Comedy Club also hosts international comedians once per month.
Malaysia in 2009 revitalized the stand-up comedy scene with the introduction of 2 regular monthly shows. Timeout
Comedy Thursday hosts monthly shows, which features young comedians and open mics. The Comedy Club KL, the
counterpart of The Comedy Club Asia, offers monthly shows and features some of the best stand-up comedians from
around the world with the likes of Greg Fleet, Akmal Saleh and Jeff Green. Local stand-up comedians including
Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim, Joanne Kam and Andrew Netto who are regular performers and have had shows in
The Comedy Club KL. The stand-up comedy scene is new and limited to Kuala Lumpur, but is growing rapidly.
Mexican stand-up and much of the country's other comedy formats come down from the carpas (tents), which were
traveling variety shows similar to vaudeville but with their own roots and traditions; added to this were the traditions
of the pícaro (rogue) and Spanish theatre comedy. Stand-up in Mexico includes original material but consists mainly
on telling a standard repertoire of many jokes which have remained basically the same over the decades. Rather than
the freshness of the material what is important is the style and manner in which the comedian delivers these old
jokes. Among the most famous stand-up comedians are Polo Polo and Jorge Falcón.
Singapore has a growing stand-up comedy scene with three active venues. The Comedy Pimp Singapore is the
newest contender bringing over award-winning headline acts every month - the first Friday and Saturday of the
month. http:/ / www. thecomedypimp. com/ index. html shows take place at The Social House, Liang Court, Clarke
Quay. TakeOut Comedy hosts a weekly open mic to help develop local comics.[7] The Comedy Club Asia at DXO
offers shows one weekend per month primarily featuring leading international comics such as Paul Ogata.[7] Kumar,
a drag queen who has performed in Singapore for more than 17 years, is Singapore's leading stand-up comedian.[8]
Stand-up comedy
Philippines stand-up comedy scene[9] was mainly composed before of comedians who would engage in popular
forms of humor in the country. This would include performers re-telling well-known jokes with more exaggerated
situations, poking fun at audience members, celebrity mimicry and comedic song and dance routines. Bars like
Zirco, that feature this kind of comedy, are very popular and have a very big following. Of late, however, the western
style of stand up comedy, has been catching on and a group known as Comedy Cartel are at the forefront of this
movement. The group is composed of seasoned comedians such as Tim Tayag[10] ,Allan Manalo and Mike Unson.
The Leader of the pack being Red Ollero. The star of this group is the Laffapalooza 2 Champion and loser of
contests such as "tawag ng tawanan" and the International Comedy Contest in Hong Kong, Emmanuel Gascon.
Comedy festivals
Stand-up comedy is the focus of four major international festivals: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh,
Scotland; Just for Laughs in Montreal, Canada; HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO, the Melbourne
International Comedy Festival in Melbourne, Australia, and a number of other festivals, most prominently The
Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy and Film Festival, the New
York Underground Film Festival and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland. Radio hosts Opie and
Anthony also produce a comedy tour called Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour, featuring their own
co-host, Jim Norton as well as several other stand-up comedians regularly featured on their radio show. There is also
a festival in Hong Kong called the HK International Comedy Festival. The festival format has proven quite
successful at attracting attention to the art of stand-up, and is often used as a scouting and proving ground by
industry professionals seeking new comedic talent.
Other media
Many of the earliest vaudeville-era stand-ups gained their greater recognition on radio. They often opened their
programs with topical monologues, characterized by ad-libs and discussions about anything from the latest films to a
missed birthday. Each program tended to be divided into the opening monologue, musical number, followed by a
skit or story routine. Their guests were varied and included other comedians, including Burns and Allen. A "feud"
between Fred Allen and Jack Benny was used as comic material for nearly a decade.
HBO (which, for the first time, presented comedians uncensored), beginning with Robert Klein in 1975, was
instrumental in reaching larger audiences.
Continuing that tradition, most modern stand-up comedians use television or motion pictures to reach a level of
success and recognition unattainable in the comedy club circuit alone.
Since the mid-2000s, online video-sharing sites such as YouTube have also provided a venue for stand-up comedy,
and many comedians' performances can be viewed online.[11]
See also
Comedy festivals
Improvisational theatre
List of musical comedians
List of stand-up comedians
Manzai – style of stand-up comedy in Japan
Open mike – live show where audience members may perform at the microphone
• Rakugo – Japanese verbal entertainment
• Situation comedy
• Xiangsheng - Chinese traditional stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy
• Stebbins, Robert A. (1990) The Laugh-Makers: Stand-Up Comedy as Art, Business, and Life-Style. Montreal and
Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.
[1] Booth, Michael: Fearless delivery sets Will Ferrell apart. (http:/ / www. signonsandiego. com/ uniontrib/ 20050624/ news_1c24ferrell. html)
The Denver Post, 24 June 2005. Accessed on 29 March 2010.
[2] Fisher, J Tommy Cooper: Always Leave Them Laughing ISBN 978-0007215119
[3] "So Farewell Then: The Untold Life of Peter Cook" Cook, Wendy E. ISBN 0 00 722893 7, p. 139-144
[4] Wilmut, R and Rosengard, P Didn't You Kill My Mother-In-Law : The Story Of Alternative Comedy In Britain. ISBN 978-0413173904
[5] Dana, Bill (2008). "American Comedy Archives" (http:/ / www. emerson. edu/ comedy). Emerson College Boston, Massachusetts. . Retrieved
March 6, 2009.
[6] "Stand-up comedy around the world: a glance at China's and Africa's scenes" (http:/ / punchlinemagazine. com/ blog/
stand-up-comedy-around-the-world-a-glance-at-china’s-and-africa’s-scenes). Punchline Magazine. 2008-07-14. . Retrieved 2008-08-20.
[7] Chee, Frankie. "Stand-up is back", The Straits Times, 2009-07-12.
[8] "Meet Singapore's Leading Comic: A Drag Queen Named Kumar", "ABC News" (http:/ / abcnews. go. com/ International/
story?id=4263016& page=1) 14 February 2008
[9] "The Filipino stand up comedy scene" (http:/ / www. filipinocomedian. com)
[10] "The Filipino pioneer of point of view stand up comedy: Tim Tayag" (http:/ / www. timtayag. com)
[11] "Watch Stand Up Comedians on YouTube" (http:/ / www. dailybits. com/ watch-stand-up-comedians-on-youtube/ ). Daniel Scocco. 2008-09-23. . Retrieved 2008-09-27.
The King of Comedy
(The) King of Comedy may refer to:
Mack Sennett (1880 - 1960) was nicknamed the King of Comedy.
The King of Comedy is a 1983 film directed by Martin Scorsese starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis.
King of Comedy is a 1999 Hong Kong film starring Stephen Chow.
"King of Comedy" is a song by R.E.M. on their album Monster
The Original Kings of Comedy is a 2000 Spike Lee film.
The Original Latin Kings of Comedy is a 2002 Jeb Brien film.
Kings of Black Comedy is a 2002 documentary tracing the use of humour by black performers to combat racial
• Kings of Comedy was a 2004 reality TV series about competing stand-up comics.
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from
Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or
enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.
Tragicomedy in theatre
Classical precedent
There is no complete formal definition of tragicomedy from the classical age. It appears that Aristotle had something
like the Renaissance meaning of the term (that is, a serious action with a happy ending) in mind when, in Poetics, he
discusses tragedy with a dual ending. In this respect, a number of Greek and Roman plays, for instance Alcestis, may
be called tragicomedies, though without any definite attributes outside of plot. The term itself originates with
Plautus: the prologue to Amphitryon uses the term to justify the play's bringing gods into a predominantly bourgeois
Renaissance revival
Plautus's comment had an arguably excessive impact on Renaissance aesthetic theory, which had largely transformed
Aristotle's comments on drama into a rigid theory. For "rule mongers" (the term is Giordano Bruno's), "mixed"
works such as those mentioned above, more recent "romances" such as Orlando Furioso, and even The Odyssey
were at best puzzles; at worst, mistakes. Two figures helped to elevate tragicomedy to the status of a regular genre,
by which is meant one with its own set of rigid rules. Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio, in the mid-sixteenth century,
both argued that the tragedy-with-comic-ending (tragedia de lieto fin) was most appropriate to modern times and
produced his own examples of such plays. Even more important was Giovanni Battista Guarini. Guarini's Il Pastor
Fido, published in 1590, provoked a fierce critical debate in which Guarini's spirited defense of generic innovation
eventually carried the day. Guarini's tragicomedy offered modulated action that never drifted too far either to
comedy or tragedy, mannered characters, and a pastoral setting. All three became staples of continental tragicomedy
for a century and more.
In England, where practice ran ahead of theory, the situation was quite different. In the sixteenth century,
"tragicomedy" meant the native sort of romantic play that violated the unities of time, place, and action, that glibly
mixed high- and low-born characters, and that presented fantastic actions. These were the features Philip Sidney
deplored in his complaint against the "mungrell Tragy-comedie" of the 1580s, and of which Shakespeare's Polonius
offers famous testimony: "The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral,
pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or
poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the
only men." Some aspects of this romantic impulse remain even in the work of more sophisticated playwrights:
Shakespeare's last plays, which may well be called tragicomedies, have often been called romances.
By the early Stuart period, some English playwrights had absorbed the lessons of the Guarini controversy. John
Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess, an adaptation of Guarini's play, was produced in 1608. In the printed edition,
Fletcher offered an interesting definition of the term, worth quoting at length: "A tragi-comedie is not so called in
respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some
neere it, which is inough to make it no comedie." Fletcher's definition focuses primarily on events: a play's genre is
determined by whether or not people die in it, and in a secondary way on how close the action comes to a death. But,
as Eugene Waith showed, the tragicomedy Fletcher developed in the next decade also had unifying stylistic features:
sudden and unexpected revelations, outré plots, distant locales, and a persistent focus on elaborate, artificial rhetoric.
Some of Fletcher's contemporaries, notably Philip Massinger and James Shirley, wrote successful and popular
tragicomedies. Richard Brome also essayed the form, but with less success. And many of their contemporary writers,
ranging from John Ford to Lodowick Carlell to Sir Aston Cockayne, made attempts in the genre.
Tragicomedy remained fairly popular up to the closing of the theaters in 1642, and Fletcher's works were popular in
the Restoration as well. The old styles were of course cast aside as tastes changed in the eighteenth century; the
"tragedy with a happy ending" eventually developed into melodrama, in which form it still flourishes.
Later developments
The more subtle criticism that developed after the Renaissance stressed the thematic and formal aspects of
tragicomedy, rather than plot. Gotthold Lessing defined it as a mixture of emotions in which "seriousness stimulates
laughter, and pain pleasure." Even more commonly, tragicomedy's affinity with satire and "dark" comedy have
suggested a tragicomic impulse in modern absurdist drama. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, the Swiss dramatist, suggested
that tragicomedy was the inevitable genre for the twentieth century; he describes his play The Visit (1956) as a
tragicomedy. Tragicomedy is a common genre in post-World War II British theatre, with authors as varied as Samuel
Beckett, Tom Stoppard, John Arden, Alan Ayckbourn and Harold Pinter writing in this genre.
• Foster, Verna A. The Name and Nature of Tragicomedy. London, Ashgate, 2004.
See also
Theatre of the Absurd
External links
• Tragicomedy from Ancient Greece to Shakespeare [1]
• Post-war British drama [2]
[1] http:/ / www. personal. psu. edu/ faculty/ m/ p/ mpl10/ tragicom. htm
[2] http:/ / www. lgu. ac. uk/ language/ english/ unit_descriptions/ level3/ le306. htm
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s
until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a
common bill. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals,
magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays,
athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies. Vaudeville developed from many sources, including the concert
saloon, minstrelsy, freak shows, dime museums and literary burlesque. Called "the heart of American show
business," vaudeville was one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America for several decades.[1]
The origin of the term is obscure, but is often explained as being derived from the expression voix de ville, or "voice
of the city." Another plausible etymology finds origins in the French Vau de Vire, a valley in Normandy noted for its
style of satirical songs with topical themes.[2] The term vaudeville, referring specifically to North American variety
entertainment, came into common usage after 1871 with the formation of Sargent's Great Vaudeville Company of
Louisville, Kentucky. It had little, if anything, to do with the Comédie en vaudeville of the French theatre.[3] Variety
showman M.B. Leavitt claimed the word originated from the French vaux de ville ("worth of the city, or worthy of
the city's patronage.") As Albert McLean suggests, the name may have been selected "for its vagueness, its faint, but
harmless exoticism, and perhaps its connotation of gentility."
Leavitt's and Sargent's shows differed little from the coarser material presented in earlier itinerant entertainments,
although their use of the term to provide a veneer of respectability points to an early effort to cater variety
amusements to the growing middle class. Though vaudeville had been used in the United States as early as the
1830s, most variety theatres adopted the term in the late 1880s and early 1890s for two reasons. First, seeking middle
class patrons, they wished to distance themselves from the earlier rowdy, working-class variety halls. Second, the
French or pseudo-French term lent an air of sophistication, and perhaps made the institution seem more consistent
with the Progressive Era's interests in education and self-betterment. Some, however, preferred the earlier term
"variety" to what manager Tony Pastor called its "sissy and Frenchified" successor. Thus, vaudeville was marketed
as "variety" well into the twentieth century.
A descendant of variety, (c. 1860s–1881), vaudeville was distinguished
from the earlier form by its mixed-gender audience, usually
alcohol-free halls, and often slavish devotion to inculcating favor
among members of the middle class. The form gradually evolved from
the concert saloon and variety hall into its mature form throughout the
1870s and 1880s. This more genteel form was known as "Polite
In the years before the American Civil War, entertainment existed on a
different scale. Certainly, variety theatre existed before 1860 in Europe
and elsewhere. In the United States, as early as the first decades of the
nineteenth century, theatregoers could enjoy a performance consisting
of Shakespeare plays, acrobatics, singing, dancing, and comedy. As the
years progressed, people seeking diversified amusement found an
increasing number of ways to be entertained. A handful of circuses
regularly toured the country; dime museums appealed to the curious;
amusement parks, riverboats, and town halls often featured "cleaner"
From newspaper promotional for vaudeville
presentations of variety entertainment; and saloons, music halls, and
character actor Charles Grapewin
burlesque houses catered to those with a taste for the risqué. In the
1840s, minstrel shows, another type of variety performance, and "the
first emanation of a pervasive and purely American mass culture," grew to enormous popularity and formed what
Nick Tosches called "the heart of nineteenth-century show business."[5] Medicine shows traveled the countryside
offering programs of comedy, music, jugglers and other novelties along with displays of tonics, salves, and miracle
elixirs, while "Wild West" shows provided romantic vistas of the disappearing frontier, complete with trick riding,
music, and drama. Vaudeville incorporated these various itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form
centered in America's growing urban hubs.
In the early 1880s, impresario Tony Pastor, a circus ringmaster turned theatre manager, capitalized on middle class
sensibilities and spending power when he began to feature "polite" variety programs in several of his New York City
theatres. The usual date given for the "birth" of vaudeville is October 24, 1881, when Pastor famously staged the first
bill of self-proclaimed "clean" vaudeville in New York City. Hoping to draw a potential audience from female and
family-based shopping traffic uptown, Pastor barred the sale of liquor in his theatres, eliminated bawdy material
from his shows, and offered gifts of coal and hams to attendees. Pastor's experiment proved successful, and other
managers soon followed suit.
Performance bill for Temple Theatre, Detroit, December 1, 1902.
The manager's comments, sent back to the circuit's central office weekly, follow each act's description. The bill illustrates the
typical pattern of opening the show with a "dumb" act to allow patrons to find their seats, placing strong acts in second and
penultimate positions, and leaving the weakest act for the end, to clear the house.
As well, note that in this bill, as in many vaudeville shows, acts often associated with "lowbrow" or popular entertainment
(acrobats, a trained mule) shared a stage with acts more usually regarded as "highbrow" or classical entertainment (opera vocalists,
classical musicians).
1) Burt Jordan and Rosa Crouch. "Sensational, grotesque and 'buck' dancers. A good act...."
2) The White Tscherkess Trio. "A man and two women who do a singing turn of the operatic order. They carry special scenery
which is very artistic and their costumes are original and neat. Their voices are good and blend exceedingly well. The act goes
big with the audience."
3) Sarah Midgely and Gertie Carlisle. "Presenting the sketch 'After School.' ... they are a 'knockout.'"
4) Theodor F. Smith and Jenny St. George-Fuller. "Refined instrumentalists."
5) Milly Capell. "European equestrienne. This is her second week. On account of the very pretty picture that she makes she
goes as strong as she did last week."
6) R. J. Jose. "Tenor singer. The very best of them all."
7) The Nelson Family of Acrobats. "This act is composed of three men, two young women, three boys and two small girls. The
greatest acrobatic act extant."
8) James Thornton. "Monologist and vocalist. He goes like a cyclone. It is a case of continuous laughter from his entrance to
his exit."
9) Burk and Andrus and Their Trained Mule. "This act, if it can be so classed, was closed after the evening performance."
Typical provincial venue on the circuit: "The Opera" in Kirksville,
B.F. Keith took the next step, starting in Boston, where he built an empire of theatres and brought vaudeville to the
United States and Canada. Later, E.F. Albee, adoptive grandfather of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward
Albee, managed the chain to its greatest success. Circuits such as those managed by Keith-Albee provided
vaudeville's greatest economic innovation and the principal source of its industrial strength. They enabled a chain of
allied vaudeville houses that remedied the chaos of the single-theatre booking system by contracting acts for regional
and national tours. These could easily be lengthened from a few weeks to two years.
Albee also gave national prominence to vaudeville's trumpeting "polite" entertainment, a commitment to
entertainment equally inoffensive to men, women, and children. Acts that violated this ethos (e.g., those that used
words such as "hell") were admonished and threatened with expulsion from the week's remaining performances, or
were canceled altogether. In spite of such threats, performers routinely flouted this censorship, often to the delight of
the very audience members whose sensibilities were supposedly endangered.
By the late 1890s, vaudeville had large circuits, houses (small and
large) in almost every sizable location, standardized booking, broad
pools of skilled acts, and a loyal national following. One of the biggest
circuits was Martin Beck's Orpheum Circuit. It incorporated in 1919
and brought together 45 vaudeville theaters in 36 cities throughout the
United States and Canada and a large interest in two vaudeville
circuits. Another major circuit was that of Alexander Pantages. At his
hey-day Pantages owned more than 30 vaudeville theaters and
controlled, through management contracts, perhaps 60 more, in both
the United States and Canada.
At its height, vaudeville played across multiple strata of economic
class and auditorium size. The three most common levels were the
“small time” (lower-paying contracts for more frequent performances
in rougher, often converted theatres), the “medium time” (moderate
wages for two performances each day in purpose-built theatres), and
the “big time” (possible remuneration of several thousand dollars per
This 1913 how-to booklet for would-be
week in large, urban theatres largely patronized by the middle and
vaudevillians was recently republished.
upper-middle classes). As performers rose in renown and established
regional and national followings, they worked their way into the less arduous working conditions and better pay of
the big time. The capitol of the big time was New York City's Palace Theatre (or just “The Palace” in the slang of
vaudevillians), built by Martin Beck in 1913 and operated by Keith. Featuring a bill stocked with inventive novelty
acts, national celebrities, and acknowledged masters of vaudeville performance (such as comedian and trick roper
Will Rogers), the Palace provided what many vaudevillians considered the apotheoses of remarkable careers.
While the neighborhood character of vaudeville attendance had always promoted a tendency to tailor fare to specific
audiences, mature vaudeville grew to feature houses and circuits specifically aimed at certain demographic groups.
African-American patrons, often segregated into the rear of the second gallery in white-oriented theatres, had their
own smaller circuits, as did speakers of Italian and Yiddish. (For a brief discussion of Black vaudeville, see Theater
Owners Booking Association.) White-oriented regional circuits, such as New England's "Peanut Circuit", also
provided essential training grounds for new artists while allowing established acts to experiment with and polish new
material. At its height, vaudeville was rivaled only by churches and public schools among the nation's premiere
public gathering places.
The shift of New York City's Palace Theatre, vaudeville's epicenter, to an exclusively cinema presentation on 16
November 1932 is often considered to have been the death knell of vaudeville.[6] Yet, no single event is more than
reflective of its gradual withering. The line is blurred further by the number of vaudeville entrepreneurs who made
more or less successful forays into the movie business.
For example, Alexander Pantages quickly realized the importance of motion pictures as a form of entertainment. He
incorporated them in his shows as early as 1902. Later, he entered into partnership with the motion picture
distributor Famous Players, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Likewise the Orpheum Circuit merged with Keith's
and Albee's chain of theatres in 1928 to form Keith-Albee-Orpheum. A few months later the company became the
major motion picture studio RKO Pictures (Radio-Keith-Orpheum). So there was no abrupt end to vaudeville,
though the form was clearly staggering by the late 1920s.
The continued growth of the lower-priced cinema in the early 1910s dealt the heaviest blow to vaudeville. This was
similar to the advent of free broadcast television's diminishing the cultural and economic strength of the cinema.
Cinema was first regularly commercially presented in the United States in vaudeville halls; the first public showing
of movies projected on a screen took place at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in 1896. Lured by greater salaries and
less arduous working conditions, many early film and old-time radio performers, such as Al Jolson, W. C. Fields,
Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, Edgar Bergen, Fanny Brice, and Eddie
Cantor, used the prominence gained in live variety performance to vault into new media. (In so doing, such
performers often exhausted in a few moments of screen time the novelty of an act that might have kept them on tour
for several years.) Other performers, who entered in vaudeville's later years, including Jack Benny, Kate Smith, Bob
Hope, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, Rose Marie, Sammy Davis, Jr., Red Skelton, Burns and Allen, and the Three
Stooges, used vaudeville only as a launching pad for later careers. They left live performance before achieving the
national celebrity of earlier vaudeville stars, but found fame in new venues.
By the late 1920s, almost no vaudeville bill failed to include a healthy selection of cinema. Earlier in the century,
many vaudevillians, cognizant of the threat represented by cinema, held out hope that the silent nature of the
"flickering shadow sweethearts" would preclude their usurpation of the paramount place in the public's affection.
With the introduction of talking pictures in 1926, however, the burgeoning film studios removed what had remained,
for many, the chief point in favor of live theatrical performance: spoken dialogue.
Theatre owners discovered they could make more profits by renting films than by producing the labor-intensive
vaudeville. Performers tried hanging on for a time in combination shows (often referred to as "vaudefilm") in which,
in an inverse of earlier vaudeville, live performances accompanied a cinema-centric performance.
Inevitably, managers further trimmed costs by eliminating more of the live performances. Vaudeville also suffered
due to the rise of broadcast radio following the greater availability of inexpensive receiver sets later in the decade.
Even the hardiest within the vaudeville industry realized the form was in decline; the perceptive understood the
condition to be terminal.
The standardized film distribution and talking pictures of the 1930s confirmed the end of vaudeville. By 1930, the
vast majority of formerly live theatres had been wired for sound, and none of the major studios were producing silent
pictures. For a time, the most luxurious theatres continued to offer live entertainment, but the majority of theatres
were forced by the Great Depression to economize.
Some in the industry blamed cinema's drain of talent from the vaudeville circuits for the medium's demise. Others
argued that vaudeville had allowed its performances to become too familiar to its famously loyal, now seemingly
fickle audiences.
Though talk of its resurrection was heard throughout the 1930s and after, the demise of the supporting apparatus of
the circuits and the inescapably higher cost of live performance made any large-scale renewal of vaudeville
The most striking examples of Gilded Age theater architecture were commissioned by the big time vaudeville
magnates and stood as monuments of their wealth and ambition. Examples of such architecture are the theaters built
by impressario Alexander Pantages. Pantages often used architect B. Marcus Priteca (1881-1971), who in turn
regularly worked with muralist Anthony Heinsbergen. Priteca devised an exotic, neo-classical style that his employer
called "Pantages Greek".
Though classic vaudeville reached a zenith of capitalization and sophistication in urban areas dominated by national
chains and commodious theatres, small-time vaudeville included countless more intimate and locally controlled
houses. Small-time houses were often converted saloons, rough-hewn theatres or multi-purpose halls, together
catering to a wide range of clientèle. Many small towns had purpose-built theatres.
Some of the most prominent vaudevillians continued the migration to
cinema, though others found that the gifts that had so delighted live
audiences did not translate well into different media. Some performers
such as Bert Lahr fashioned careers out of combining live
performance, radio and film roles. Many others later appeared in the
Catskill resorts that constituted the "Borscht Belt". Many simply retired
from performance and entered the workaday world of the middle class,
the group that vaudeville, more than anything else, had helped to
articulate and entertain.
Yet vaudeville, both in its methods and ruling aesthetic, influenced the
succeeding media of film, radio and television. The screwball
comedies of the 1930s, those reflections of the brief moment of
cinematic equipoise between dialogue and physicality, reflect the more
madcap comedic elements of some vaudeville acts (e.g., The Three
Keatons). In form, the television variety show owed much to
vaudeville. The multi-act format had renewed success in shows such as
Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and, of course, The Ed Sullivan
Show. Today, performers such as Bill Irwin, a MacArthur Fellow and
Tony Award-winning actor, are frequently lauded as being "New
Vaudevillians."[7] [8]
As the genre declined, most performers left the
theatre; here the kid hoofer Ray Wollbrinck
(cousin of Louis Wollbrinck), once called "the
cleverest buckdancer on the vaudeville stage;" he
later became a bandleader and ended his days as a
bank teller.
References to vaudeville and the use of its distinctive argot continue
throughout Western popular culture. Terms such as "a flop" (an act that does badly), for example, have entered the
American idiom. Many of the most common performance techniques and "gags" of vaudeville entertainers are still
seen on television and on film. Vaudeville, like its dime museum and variety theatre forebears, also continued and
solidified a strong American absorption with foreign entertainers.
The American Vaudeville Museum, the world’s largest collection of vaudeville memorabilia, is located at the
University of Arizona.[9]
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in Toronto houses the world's largest collection of vaudeville props and
See also
Medicine show
Borscht Belt
Minstrel show
Music hall
Concert saloon
Tab show
For Me and My Gal
Tom Shows
Concert Party (entertainment)
External links
Vaudeville Ventriloquists [10]
Virtual Vaudeville [11]
Glossary of Vaudeville Slang [12]
University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections – J. Willis Sayre Photographs [13]
University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections – Prior and Norris Troupe Photographs [14]
University of Washington libraries Digital Collections - 19th Century Actors Photographs [15]
University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections - Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection [16]
Ruckus! American Entertainments at the Turn of the Twentieth Century [17] From the collection of the Beinecke
Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University [18]
[1] Trav S.D., No Applause-Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, 2005, Faber & Faber, ISBN 0571211925
[2] "Vaudeville" (http:/ / www. merriam-webster. com/ dictionary/ vaudeville). Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. . Retrieved 2008-02-15.
[3] "Vaudeville" (http:/ / xroads. virginia. edu/ ~MA02/ easton/ vaudeville/ vaudevillemain. html), American Studies, University of Virginia,
accessed 22 Sep 2009
[4] F. Cullen, F. Hackman, D. McNeilly, "Vaudeville History," in Vaudeville, Old & New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America,
xi-xxxii (London: Routledge, 2007).
[5] Tosches, Nick (2002). Where Dead Voices Gather. Boston: Back Bay Books. pp. 11. ISBN 0316895377.
[6] Senelick, Laurence (1993). Don B. Wilmeth and Tice Miller. ed. Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Cambridge. p. 480.
ISBN 0-521-40134-8.
[7] http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,957652-2,00. html
[8] http:/ / www. pbs. org/ wnet/ gperf/ dialogue/ dialogue_irwin_3. html
[9] "Vaudeville Lives: The world’s largest Vaudeville memorabilia collection has been donated to the UA," UA News. February 25, 2009. (http:/ /
uanews. org/ node/ 19369)
[10] http:/ / www. ventriloquistcentral. com/ tribute/ vaudeville/ vaudeville. htm
[11] http:/ / www. virtualvaudeville. com/
[12] http:/ / www. goodmagic. com/ carny/ vaud. htm
[13] http:/ / content. lib. washington. edu/ sayrepublicweb/ index. html
[14] http:/ / content. lib. washington. edu/ norrisweb/ index. html
[15] http:/ / content. lib. washington. edu/ 19thcenturyactorsweb/ index. html
[16] http:/ / www. lib. uiowa. edu/ spec-coll/ MSC/ ToMsc400/ MsC356/ msc356. html
[17] http:/ / beinecke. library. yale. edu/ digitallibrary/ ruckus. html
[18] http:/ / www. library. yale. edu/ beinecke/
Saint Vitus
Saint Vitus, from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493
Martyr, Holy Helper
c. 290
c. 303 in Luciana, Italy
Lucania, modern-day Basilicata, Italy
Venerated in
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
June 15
depicted in a cauldron, with a rooster or a lion
actors; comedians; Czechoslovakia; dancers; dogs; epilepsy; Mazara del Vallo, Sicily; Forio, Ischia; oversleeping;
Prague, Czech Republic; rheumatic chorea (Saint Vitus Dance); snake bites; storms; Vacha, Germany; Zeven,
Lower Saxony; E Clampus Vitus
Saint Vitus was a Christian saint from Sicily. He died as a martyr during the persecution of Christians by co-ruling
Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in 303. Vitus is counted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the
Roman Catholic Church.
Saint Vitus' Day is celebrated on 15 June. In places where the Julian Calendar is used, this date coincides, in the 20th
and 21st centuries, with 28 June on the Gregorian Calendar.
In the late Middle Ages, people in Germany and countries such as Latvia celebrated the feast of Vitus by dancing
before his statue. This dancing became popular and the name "Saint Vitus Dance" was given to the neurological
disorder chorea. It also led to Vitus being considered the patron saint of dancers and of entertainers in general.[1]
Vitus is considered the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and epileptics. He is also said to protect against
lightning strikes, animal attacks and oversleeping, and is the patron saint of Bohemia. Vitus is the patron saint of the
city of Rijeka in Croatia, the towns of Ciminna in Sicily, Forio on the Island of Ischia, in Campania, Italy, the
contrada of San Vito, in Torella dei Lombardi, in Avellino, Italy, and the town of Winschoten in the Netherlands.
Various places in Austria and Bavaria are named Sankt Veit in his honour.
Martyrdom of Saints Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia
According to the legend, Vitus, Modestus and
Crescentia were martyrs under Diocletian. The earliest
testimony for their veneration is offered by the
"Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (ed. G. B. de
Rossi-Louis Duchesne, 78: "In Sicilia, Viti, Modesti et
Crescentiae"). The fact that the note is in the three most
important manuscripts indicates that it was also in the
common exemplar of these, will appeared in the fifth
century. The same Martyrologium has under the same
day another mention of a Vitus at the head of a list of
nine martyrs, with the statement of the place, "In
Lucania", that is, in the Roman province of that name
in Southern Italy between the Tuscan Sea and the Gulf
of Taranto. It is easily possible that it is the same
martyr Vitus in both cases.
According to J.P. Kirsch, the author the article [2] in the
Catholic Encyclopedia from which the information in
this section is drawn, the testimony to the public
veneration of the three saints in the fifth century proves positively that they are historical martyrs. There are,
nevertheless, no historical accounts of them, nor of the time or the details of their martyrdom.
The martyrdom of Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia. From a
fourteenth century manuscript.
During the sixth and seventh centuries a purely legendary narrative of their martyrdom appeared which appears to be
based upon other legends, especially on the legend of Poitus, and ornamented with accounts of fantastic miracles.
According to this legend, which has no apparent historical value, Vitus was a 7-year-old son of a senator of Lucania
(some versions make him 12 years old). He resisted his father's attempts, which included various forms of torture, to
make him apostatize. He fled with his tutor Modestus and Modestus's wife Crescentia, who was Vitus's nanny, to
Lucania. He was taken from there to Rome to drive out a demon which had taken possession of a son of the Emperor
Diocletian. This he did, and yet, because he remained steadfast in the Christian Faith, he was tortured together with
his tutors. By a miracle an angel brought back the three to Lucania, where they died from the tortures they had
endured. Three days later Vitus appeared to a distinguished matron named Florentia, who then found the bodies and
buried them in the spot where they were. The author of the legend doubtless connected in his invention three saints
who apparently suffered death in Lucania, and were first venerated there.
The veneration of the martyrs spread rapidly in Southern Italy and
Sicily, as is shown by the note in the "Martyrologium
Hieronymianum". Pope Gregory the Great mentions a monastery
dedicated to Vitus in Sicily ("Epist.", I, xlviii, P.L., LXXXVII,
The veneration of St Vitus, the chief saint of the group, also
appeared very early at Rome. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) mentions
a shrine dedicated to him (Jaffé, "Reg. Rom. Pont.", 2nd ed., I, 6
79), and at Rome in the seventh century the chapel of a deaconry
was dedicated to him ("Liber Pont.", ed. Duchesne, I, 470 sq.).
In 756 AD it is said that the relics of St Vitus were brought to the
monastery of St-Denis by Abbot Fulrad. They were later presented
to Abbot Warin of Corvey in Germany, who solemnly transferred
some of them to this abbey in 836. From Corvey the veneration of
St Vitus spread throughout Westphalia and in the districts of
eastern and northern Germany. His cult grew in Prague, Bohemia
when, in 925 A.D., king Henry I of Germany presented as a gift
the bones of one hand of St Vitus to Wenceslaus, Duke of
Bohemia. This relic is since then a sacred treasure in the St. Vitus
Cathedral in Prague.
St. Vitus Cathedral is the main church of the former
imperial capital, Prague.
The cult of St Vitus became very popular in Slavic lands, where his name (Sveti Vid = St. Vitus) replaced the old
cult of the god of light Svantovid.[3] In Croatia alone, 123 churches are dedicated to St. Vitus.
Saint Vitus is invoked primarily against chorea, which is called St Vitus's Dance, and he is one of the Fourteen
Martyrs who give aid in times of trouble.
He is represented as a young man with a palm-leaf, in a cauldron, sometimes with a raven and a lion, his
iconographic attribute because according to the legend he was thrown into a cauldron of boiling tar and molten lead,
but miraculously escaped unscathed.
The names of Saints Modestus and Crescentia were added in the eleventh century to the Roman Calendar,[4] so that
from then on all three names were celebrated together until 1969, when their feast was removed from the calendar of
feasts proposed for celebration throughout the Roman Rite. Saint Vitus is still recognized as a saint of the Roman
Catholic Church, being inscribed in the Roman Martyrology under June 15,[5] and Mass may be celebrated in his
honor on that day wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated,[6] while the Saints Modestus and Crescentia who are
associated with Saint Vitus in legend have been omitted, because they appear to be merely fictitious personages.[7]
However, some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 versions of the General Roman Calendar.
Vidovdan is Vitus' Day in Serbia among the Serb Orthodox Church.
Martyrdom of
Saint Vitus
Germany circa
1515, St. Vitus
church, Flein
An image of Saint Vitus in
Heiligenstadt, Franconia
Martyrdom of Saint
Vitus Germany circa
1450 Warsaw National
Martyrdom of Saint
Vitus/Sankt Veit on the
coat of arms of Sankt Veit
im Pongau, Austria
• This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.
External links
Saints Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia [8] at the Open Directory Project
Patron Saints Index profile of Saint Vitus [9]
Catholic Online profile of Saint Vitus [10]
Information on Saint Vitus, the saint, on [11]
(Italian) San Vito
[1] Saint Vitus (http:/ / saints. sqpn. com/ saintv07. htm)
[2] http:/ / www. newadvent. org/ cathen/ 15490b. htm
[3] SVIBOR - The Meaning and the Origin of the Word (http:/ / www. mzos. hr/ svibor/ nameE. htm)
[4] "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 126
[5] "Martyrologium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
[6] General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 355 (http:/ / www. salesianer. de/ liturgie/ igmr2002. htm)
[7] "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 126
[8] http:/ / www. dmoz. org/ Society/ Religion_and_Spirituality/ Christianity/ People/ Saints/ V/ Saints_Vitus,_Modestus,_and_Crescentia/
[9] http:/ / www. catholic-forum. com/ saints/ saintv07. htm
[10] http:/ / www. catholic. org/ saints/ saint. php?saint_id=140
[11] http:/ / saintvitus. com/ SaintVitus/ #Saint
[12] http:/ / www. santiebeati. it/ dettaglio/ 57300
Whitehall farce
Whitehall farce
Whitehall farce is a descriptive term applied to a series of improbable events that caused grief at the time to
everyone involved but could—perhaps only with distance or hindsight—be considered comical.
The original Whitehall farce, from which this term arose, refers to a series of stage plays at the Whitehall theatre in
London during the 1930s and 1940s. These were part of the comedy tradition of British farce, following, for
example, the Aldwych farces which played at the Aldwych Theatre a decade earlier.
The typical Whitehall plot derived its entertainment value from situations involving a chaotic and unlikely series of
accidents that caused drama and panic for the characters involved but amusement for the audience.
• Benedict Nightingale (30 Aug 1987). "England's Endless Love Affair with Farce" [1]. The New York Times.
Retrieved 2009-02-03.
[1] http:/ / query. nytimes. com/ gst/ fullpage. html?res=9B0DEFDC1539F933A0575BC0A961948260
Zombie comedy
The Zombie Comedy[1] often called Zom Com[2]
with slapstick comedy as well as dark comedy.
is a film genre which aims to blend zombie or horror motifs
Early years
The earliest roots of the genre can be found in Jean Yarbrough's King of the Zombies (1941) and Gordon Douglas's
Zombies on Broadway (1945), though both of these films dealt with Haitian-style zombies. An American Werewolf
in London (1981)[4] and the Return of the Living Dead series (1985)[5] (especially the first two and the last of the
series) can be considered some of the earliest examples of Zombie-comedy using the classic zombie.
Modern examples
Modern zombie comedies include Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead[6] (which was in fact a self-dubbed Romantic
Zombie Comedy, or RomZomCom).[7] This movie made many in-jokes and references to George A. Romero's
earlier Dead films. In particular, the plot of Shaun relates directly to the plots of Romero's zombie films — all of
which involve several people trapped in a building, with flesh-eating zombies attempting to break in to devour them,
without a direct explanation for the cause of the zombie plague. The title Shaun of the Dead is also both an obvious
parody of and homage to the title Dawn of the Dead. Numerous lines, scenes and background details also directly
refer to the Romero films, including the music playing over the Universal logo, which is the synthesizer soundtrack
to Dawn of the Dead. The film also features a Kid Koala remix of "The Gonk," which was used over the closing
credits of Dawn of the Dead. Furthermore, like the Romero movies, the living dead are never directly referred to as
"zombies", though it was done in a humorous way in the SOTD film, to which Shaun says don't say that because it's
Andrew Currie's Fido,[8] Matthew Leutwyler's Dead & Breakfast, Dead Snow, and Peter Jackson's Braindead, are
also good examples of zombie comedies.[9] Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II, although a horror film, contains some light
Zombie comedy
hearted and dark comedy elements, and its sequel, Army of Darkness, is even more comedic. The Evil Dead series
does however not feature any traditional style zombies.
Other films that could be considered zombie comedies include the 1986 film Redneck Zombies, 1993's My
Boyfriend's Back, 1986's Night of the Creeps, 1998's Bio Zombie, 1999's Idle Hands, starring Devon Sawa and Seth
Green, 2005's Tokyo Zombie, 2005's Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, 2008's Dance of the Dead and Zombie
Strippers, as well as 2009's Zombieland and Zombie Dearest.
See also
Comedy horror
Zombies in popular culture
List of comedy horror films
Cannibalism in popular culture
[1] Night of the Living Dorks (review)" (http:/ / www. cinemablend. com/ dvds/ Night-of-the-Living-Dorks-2158. html). Cinema Blend.
Retrieved April 9, 2007.
[2] Bemenderfer, Mark (October 12, 2004). "Zombie Comedy Succeeds In Both Genres" (http:/ / media. www. ndsmcobserver. com/ media/
storage/ paper660/ news/ 2004/ 10/ 12/ Scene/ Zombie. Comedy. Succeeds. In. Both. Genres-749911. shtml). The Observer Online. Retrieved
on April 9, 2007.
[3] Gartside, Will (September 30, 2004). "Zombie Comedy Slays Audiences" (http:/ / badgerherald. com/ artsetc/ 2004/ 09/ 30/
zombie_comedy_slays_. php). The Badger Herald. Retrieved on April 9, 2007.
[4] Nelson, Resa (2004). "Science Fiction Weekly Interview" (http:/ / www. scifi. com/ sfw/ issue388/ interview2. html). SciFi Weekly, Issue
388, paragraph 4. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
[5] Dellamorte (January 22, 2003). Return of the Living Dead (http:/ / www. classic-horror. com/ reviews/ returnlivingdead. shtml). Classic
Horror Review. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
[6] Edelstein, David (September 23, 2004). "The Importance of Being Undead: A Zombie Comedy of Manners" (http:/ / slate. msn. com/ id/
2107112). Slate Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
[7] Smith, Kerry L. (2004-09-22). "Shaun Of The Dead: The World's First Rom-Zom-Com (Romantic Zombie Comedy)?" (http:/ / www. mtv.
com/ movies/ news/ articles/ 1491298/ 09222004/ story. jhtml). MTV News. . Retrieved 2008-06-25.
[8] Capt. Xerox (March 16, 2007). "Critics Love the New Zombie Comedy Fido" (http:/ / www. theendoftheuniverse. ca/ node/ 529). The
Website @ The End Of The Universe. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
[9] Frazer, Bryant. Braindead (review) (http:/ / www. deep-focus. com/ flicker/ braindea. html). Deep Focus. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
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Chinface Source: Contributors: Addshore, Agatomi, Andypandy.UK, Asat, Bermuda653, Bfuhrman, Canus, Cassavau, CrazyInSane,
Emurphy42, Finneganw, Geniac, Gwguffey, H.M.S Me, HamburgerRadio, Irishguy, JAF1970, Kernow, Mailer diablo, Malcolma, Ohnoitsjamie, Orangemike, PHenry, ReyBrujo, SpuriousQ,
Suntag, The Man in Question, Twas Now, Val42, Vashti, ZayZayEM, 32 anonymous edits
Christian comedy Source: Contributors: Capricorn42, Dan Rupple, Darguz Parsilvan, Deor, Fortynights, Jevansen, Keno, LethalReflex,
Lweavernc, Mdwarrior, Mshiller, Piano non troppo, Smitty, Timgrable, 13 anonymous edits
City comedy Source: Contributors: AJokinen, Cobra libre, FinnWiki, Ganymead, Jlittlet, Kbthompson, Man vyi, Omassey, The Singing
Badger, Ugajin, Wayland, Wmahan, YUL89YYZ, 9 anonymous edits
Comedic device Source: Contributors: Antonielly, ApolloCreed, Bloodshedder, Dravecky, Gilliam, Pigman, Smitty, Srleffler, 5
anonymous edits
Comedy club Source: Contributors: Acmebrand, Adolphus79, AndyP543, Binadot, Bryan Derksen, CICOMEDY, ComedianBoston,
ComedyComedyAtl, Dantebean, Dmhambrick, Egmontaz, Fram, Fratrep, Fred1296, Frogacuda, Gaius Cornelius, Gchuva, Hazelokeefe, Jahiegel, JimR, Karo "Snatch" Richie, Kchishol1970,
Kicking222, Larrybob, Markokayo, MartinHarper, Shelikespink, Wearepulse, Wmahan, WojPob, Woohookitty, Wvfunnyman, Zeiden, 76 anonymous edits
Comedy festival Source: Contributors: CGN2010, Chatnchew, Confusedmiked, Darbel2, Elonka, Forever757, Gchuva, Jason Quinn,
JoelFryComedy, Kernel Saunters, Rosiestep, SMSpivey, Skellator, Truth in Comedy, Vegaswikian, Woohookitty, 2 anonymous edits
Comedy of humours Source: Contributors: Bodil, Deville, DionysosProteus, Elipongo, JLaTondre, Jlittlet, RJFJR, RubyQ, Sertakul,
[email protected], Tkynerd, Typicalst, Weregerbil, 7 anonymous edits
Comedy of menace Source: Contributors: After Midnight, CJLL Wright, Jezhotwells, MacGyverMagic, NYScholar, Oxymoron83,
RepublicanJacobite, 5 anonymous edits
Comedy rock Source: Contributors: Agyle, Arthena, AtomForce, Aussie Ausborn, Biglovinb, Chipthief00, Christopher Lame,
Clemsonfan21012, Clintville, Dah31, Dogtownclown, Emile hsu, Fir42, Fratrep, Freakoutadams, GoingBatty, Grm wnr, Guitarherochristopher, Gunmetal Angel, Gurch, Gwarfan, Headshaker,
Hede2000, Hoponpop69, IL7Soulhunter, Ianblair23, JackpotDen, Jeremy Butler, Jimmy64, Jtsterling, LP Sérgio LP, MER-C, Mad Hatter, Mairi, MarkV, MegX, Midseasoner, MilkMiruku,
Morrell sxe, Nitrofest, Petchboo, Pigman, Radiopeople, Redheylin, Ridernyc, Sabrebd, ShelfSkewed, Smiddle, Smitty, Sugar Bear, TIONSUXANDROX, Tanet, Tekgeeky, Tenacious D Fan,
Ticked off guy, TimR, Tonyrex, Travisdraft, Varlaam, Wayland, Weyes, Zerlen, 119 anonymous edits
Comedy of errors Source: Contributors: Bluemoose, Burgundavia, Chachob, ChargersFan, Dalillama, Drummeryuri, Epastore, Esperant,
Fastily, Ganymead, Gold1618, IceUnshattered, Jacob Klimaszewski, Jaldridge86, Jengod, Ketiltrout, Kmwiki, Koavf, LOL, Lizzysama, Luigifan, Mairi, Mirusse, Mukundia, Nick,
Omicronpersei8, Pearle, Random Checkhead, Someguy1221, T-bomb, TimothyJacobson, Wayland, 31 anonymous edits
Comedy of manners Source: Contributors: ABF, Aikduck, Burschik, CTU Kyoto, Calaschysm, Clines1, Clockwrist, Cobra libre, DGX,
Delldot, DionysosProteus, Drmies, FastLizard4, Fieldday-sunday, Finn-Zoltan, Funfatale, Gabriel Roth, Goregore, Graf Bobby, Gurch, Hairy Dude, Husond, Ihcoyc, Jdsteakley, Jennifu,
Katieh5584, Leandrod, Mcferran, Message From Xenu, Mrzaius, NYScholar, Olaf Davis, Palinurus09, Prosfilaes, RedWolf, Robinoke, SeventhHell, Sionus, Skinnyweed, Softlavender,
Sparkslight, Trenchcoatjedi, Vbrayne, Wayland, 63 anonymous edits
Comic science fiction Source: Contributors: Alfio, Alzo4321, Andrzejbanas, Avt tor, Badassbunny, Bjones, Burschik,
CharlesFosterKane123, DocWatson42, Drunkenpeter99, Hintswen, Holizz, IMSoP, ISD, JasonGarwood, JohnDBuell, Kuralyov, Kylemew, Lairor, Lefty, MakeRocketGoNow, Marcok,
Martarius, Martpol, Mitchell j friedman, Q Original, Quercusrobur, Redeagle688, RevRaven, Rfscott, Smitty, SofiePedersen, Solopiel, Steeev, Tenebrae, TerokNor, Thatother1dude, The
Filmaker, UK Bakosi, Viewdrix, Wayland, Yobmod, 54 anonymous edits
Comic opera Source: Contributors: Alansohn, Antandrus, BaronLarf, Bookgrrl, Colonies Chris, DavidRF, Deb, Figaro, Folantin,
Geregen2, GuillaumeTell, Inwind, JackofOz, JanCeuleers, Jeff3000, Jeffmatt, Kleinzach, Lemonade100, Lightmouse, MakeRocketGoNow, Marc Shepherd, Meladina, Mlouns, Moreschi,
Moreschi(AWB), Mozart2005, Neddyseagoon, Neutrality, Never give in, Norm mit, Oligop, Oxymoron83, Pigsonthewing, RandomCritic, Redheylin, Santiparam, Soundofmusicals, Ssilvers,
TUF-KAT, Tagishsimon, The Anome, Tim riley, Tutu261123456, Victoriaedwards, Vina, Violncello, Zenohockey, 31 anonymous edits
Comic timing Source: Contributors: Andycjp, Anonymous Dissident, BMF81, Betacommand, BigHaz, Blair P. Houghton, Candent
shlimazel, CapitalLetterBeginning, Christopherlin, Clair,, DSatz, Diberri, Dominus, Dr. Twist, DragonflySixtyseven, EatMyShortz, Elasgiordano, Geni, IGlowInTheDark, JustAGal,
KnightRider, Laudak, Lpenz, Montrealais, Quuxplusone, Rjwilmsi, Sanitycult, Sdkfdslkf, Sjharte, Tgies, The Cunctator, Tim Peterson, UberMan5000, Vafthrudnir, Violncello, Vonbontee,
Whistler, Xyzzyplugh, 37 anonymous edits
Concert saloon Source: Contributors: D6, Dale662, Fabrictramp, 2 anonymous edits
Cringe comedy Source: Contributors: BauerPower, Bobryuu, C777, Duhon, Erechtheus, FMAFan1990, Falcor84, Fishnet37222,
Gwguffey, Jjlevin, Joyous!, Jrayk, LarRan, Longhair, Malinaccier, MarnetteD, Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg, Richardcavell, Tassedethe, Tired time, Tyldak, Vafthrudnir,
Wilson2007, XM, 30 anonymous edits
Customer review comedy Source: Contributors: Colonel Warden
Deadpan Source: Contributors: [email protected], 1bevingtonco, 7gui7, Abbabash, Acegikmo1, After Midnight, Afterwriting, Agawerwa, Alan
Canon, Alan Liefting, Alecu, Alegoo92, AlexWangombe, Alister Namarra, Almighty Rajah, Amchow78, Andman8, AnmaFinotera, Asa01, Atlan, Aurigas, AvatarZero, Bakazuki, Belovedfreak,
Ben Tibbetts, Bhumiya, BigBadaboom0, Billastro, Blaxthos, Bmckim, Bob billydoe joe, Bobo192, Bovineone, BrainOverfloW, Breakpoint, Brodey, ButteredToast, COMPFUNK2, Cagesen,
ChazBeckett, Choster, Chromenano, Ckatz, Colonies Chris, ContiAWB, Createmeapagealready, Crudelydrawn, CrystalGlacia, Cybernietzsche, Dante Alighieri, Davard, DrinkThineCookies, E71,
Article Sources and Contributors
Ead88, Eatmydonuts, Edward321, Elephant Talk, Eleveneleven, Eliz81, Esn, Excirial, Extraordinary, Fighting Fefnir, Fratrep, FrenchIsAwesome, FrozenUmbrella, Funkfrost, Gatoclass,
Geoking66, Ghakko, Gnome de plume, GoHawks4, Graniitti, Grant65, Hamamelis, Honeybadger, Hoponpop69, Hydrargyrum, IAmTheCoinMan, Ibanez RYM, Irk, Isecore, JQF, Jaiwills,
Jemiller226, Jevansen, Jh51681, John, Jonny2x4, JovBlackheart, JustAGal, Jwoodger, Kalam mekhar, Kasbjoernsen, Katyism, Kbdank71, Kbh3rd, Kelly Martin, Kevin, Killridemedly, King
Belial, Kinna999, Kitler005, Kku, KramarDanIkabu, Kudzu1, Kulshrax, Kweerts, Kwinston, Lab16, Latka, Liliuokalani, Loniousmonk, Ludde23, Lumos3, Madchester, Martarius, Martpol,
Maxis ftw, Mdumas43073, Meelar, MegX, Merman, Michaelritchie200, Milton Stanley, Minimiscience, Mlaffs, Morcus, Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg, Mrblondnyc, Mrmoocow,
MushroomCloud, Music geeks, MysticGem15, Myxsoma, Nbirnbach, Nemesis646, NeoChaosX, Nethgirb, Nightwing86, Nixeagle, NotAnotherAliGFan, Obviouschild, OleMaster, Olivier200,
Oskart, Paul foord, Pegship, Peter, Phantomsteve, Philthy Liar, Polly, Prof Knowledge, Proofreader77, Pyrop, R Lowry, REDneckKing, RJ Raccoon, RJFJR, Raptor4815, Rcjsuen, Rdsmith4,
Reality Check1116, Remy B, Reywas92, Rheostatik, Rhuie15, Richard K. Carson, Richard of York, Rick 50000, Ricky81682, Rocksome, Rukario639, Runtime, Rwmnau, Saikiri, Search4Lancer,
Shimmera, Sid the glid, SimonTrew, Skopp, Slicing, Slykiller7, Smitty, SnappingTurtle, SnoopJeDi, Snowgrouse, Spalding, Sprigot, Sultec, Supermorff, Sweetalkinguy, Syntacticus, TBone777,
Taily, Tassedethe, The Inedible Bulk, TheGriefer, Thomas Veil, Tktru, Trumpet marietta 45750, Truncated, Ultimate ed, Uucp, Verdana, Visium, VoX, Wasted Time R, Whuzatt, Winston365,
Woohookitty, XanPing, Xeno, Yagikaru, Yk Yk Yk, Zephalis, Zythe, 530 anonymous edits
Double entendre Source: Contributors: 2D, 6 9, Aaronbrick, Abdull, Acalamari, Acerperi, Adashiel, AgentAJD, Ahasuerus, Alansohn,
Ale jrb, AmiDaniel, And Introducing... A Leg, AndonicO, Andrei Iosifovich, Andycjp, Angr, Anielious, Antonio Lopez, ArdClose, Ascidian, Astralinre, AuntFlo, Awh, Axl, BTCK, Badly
Bradley, Baqarah131, Barticus88, Battlemonk, Baylink, Belinrahs, Berney, Best O Fortuna, Bigggtuna, Biglovinb, Billydeeuk, Blcarson, Bnicolas09, Bobo192, Boxstaa, BrOnXbOmBr21,
Bradjamesbrown, Brandon.Weight, Brighterorange, Bringbackthebass, CWii, Calmer Waters, CanisRufus, Cashie, Censorship Workaround, Chameleon, Chantoke, Chaoticfluffy, Chris 42, Chris
the speller, Chrispople14, Closedmouth, ColdFeet, Couposanto, Crazysunshine, Cremepuff222, Cxz111, Cyberdiablo, Dale Arnett, Dangherous, Davee, Dc197, December21st2012Freak,
Dinasbran, Discospinster, DonDaMon, DrJos, Drivenapart, Durova, Dysprosia, EK001, Elynt, Erasmussen, Esrever, Esuc, Evanreyes, Evenios, Evice, Ewlyahoocom, FellGleaming, Fethers, Flex,
Flyguy649, Forrest the Guitarist, Fourthhorseman, Fubar Obfusco, Furrykef, Fustigate314159, FuturePrimitive666, GLaDOS, Gabrielxz, Gaius Cornelius, Gary King, GeekyTwin, George100,
Gleeper, Gonzalo Diethelm, Goregore, Gothica36, Grawity, Greathorntheiv, GregorB, Grondoboy, Grstain, Gzornenplatz, Hakkahakkabazoom, Hamiltondaniel, Harry Q. Hammer, Headcase88,
Heron, Hippo43, Huangdi, IAmTheCoinMan, ISD, Iamringo87, Ikelos, ImperatorExercitus, Infrogmation, Insanephantom, J L C Leung, JMyrleFuller, JRM, JaGa, Janke, Jdelaney, Jeffq,
JegaPRIME, Jerzy, Jezhotwells, Jmacwiki, Jnelson09, John, JokerXtreme, Jonathan321, Jorge Stolfi, JuJube, Kabulykos, Kakofonous, Kcoutu, Kdau, Keilana, Kevin W., Killy mcgee, Kindall,
Kingturtle, Kungfuadam, Kwamikagami, Lambiam, LarryMac, Lateralus1587, Lawilkin2, Ldo, LeaveSleaves, Lee M, Lightmouse, LilHelpa, Linj, Lockesdonkey, Londonsista, Lookitsjim23,
LtPowers, Lumos3, M1ss1ontomars2k4, MFazio23, MJCompany, Madmardigan53, Mahanga, Majorclanger, Malo, Maltelauridsbrigge, Mariiax, Martarius, MartinHarper, MasterGreenLantern,
McGeddon, Meelar, MegX, Mel Etitis, Michaelrola, Mintguy, Montaced, Mro, NCDane, NE2, Nae'blis, Nahald, Negateme, Nehrams2020, Neurolysis, NicM, Nielsbrinch, Nightstallion,
Noncompliant one, NoriMori, Nyttend, OG17, Occono, Omarcheeseboro, Onetruepatriot, Oren0, Ortolan88, PFRSC87, Padgham, Paercebal, Panchero, Parudox, Pasd, Patriarch, Pedro Aguiar,
Peruvianllama, Peter McGinley, Phantomsteve, Phearson, Phileas, Phlegat, Photografr7, Piano non troppo, Pigsonthewing, Pip2andahalf, PlayStation 69, Poiuyt Man, ProGloriaDei,
PuerExMachina, Pyotrzeaustere, Qrc2006, Quebec99, Quidam65, R13n13, Radagast83, Railwayfan2005, Rama, ReignMan, Remytraitor, Rfl, Rhodog, Rjanag, Rls, Roadstaa, Rrburke,
Rutherfordjigsaw, SAMAS, Sampi, Samw, Saudade7, Scallop7, Scientizzle, Seresin, Shadowjams, Shenme, Shoemaker's Holiday, SickTwist, SimonTrew, Sin-man, Sjc, Sluzzelin, Smartaalec,
Solid Reign, Song, Sonicrox14, Soundcomm, Stephan Schulz, Stratadrake, Stupefaction, Sturm55, Subwayguy, THollan, Talkingbirds, Tangotango, Tarquin, TauNeutrino, Tehc9999,
TenPoundHammer, Terra Green, Tesseran, Tezero, The Evil Spartan, TheCatalyst31, TheFishMan, Thingg, Tide rolls, Timber Rattlesnake, Tiny plastic Grey Knight, Toddalbers, Tom W.M.,
Tomalak geretkal, Toniosky, Tonyrex, Trevor MacInnis, Trumpet marietta 45750, Tuckerresearch, Tzustrategy, USP45, Unschool, Vendettax, Versus22, Voidvector, Voyagerfan5761,
WadeSimMiser, Wavelength, Wayland, Whiner01, WhisperToMe, Wiki Raja, WikiPediaAid, Wikiguest2008, WikipedianMarlith, WillMak050389, WinterSpw, Wolfdog, Wrelwser43,
Wyatt915, Ylem, Zack wadghiri, ZackTuren, Zepheus, Zoz, 达伟, 585 anonymous edits
Comedy (drama) Source: Contributors: Alberta96, Beyond My Ken, DionysosProteus, Discospinster, Gchuva, Jagged 85, Jnps,
Kookyunii, Kozuch, PigFlu Oink, Squids and Chips, T g7, The Thing That Should Not Be, Utopianfiat, Walk Away, Wikiklrsc, Woohookitty, YUL89YYZ, 8 anonymous edits
Extravaganza Source: Contributors: Alx vs Alx, DAJF, Firsfron, HarryKnock, Howcheng, Iridescent, Jni, Koveras, Samoboow,
SchfiftyThree, Shoemaker's Holiday, Ssilvers, 15 anonymous edits
Farce Source: Contributors: Acerbatus, Aidje, Alansohn, Altenmann, AmyChen, Angel ivanov angelov, Animalball Brasky, Aspects,
BROOK, Bagatelle, BaomoVW, Barticus88, Blue520, Bobblewik, Bobo192, Bolero, Burntsauce, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Carlb, Causa sui, Celsesser, Charles Matthews, ChildofMidnight,
Chuq, Clayoquot, Condem, Daarznieks, Damian Yerrick, Dantesque1, David Shay, Djdaedalus, Dnheff, Dominus, Donaldd23, Doradus, Dori, Download, Ed Fitzgerald, Eloquence,
Faithlessthewonderboy, Favonian, Fishnet37222, Fox, Ganymead, GrahamHardy, Griffinofwales, Haon, HarlandQPitt, Honza Záruba, Howcheng, J.delanoy, Jahsonic, Jermerc, Jerzy, Julian
Mendez, Jusdafax, KF, Kace7, KevinShah, Kingpin13, Kogentariku, LittleOldMe, Lizardtheater, Longhair, Loodog, METALLICAAAA, Marek69, MartinDK, MegX, Megastar, Moreschi,
Munci, Nethken, Nihiltres, Nilfanion, Nina Gerlach, Olivier, Ortolan88, Patrick, Paul A, Piano non troppo, Prichardson, RichardVeryard, Robth, Rossami, Rstrub, Ryuukuro, Safalra, SimonTrew,
Sjc, Smilesfozwood, Stbalbach, Stephenb, Sugar Bear, TauNeutrino, Thespian92, Thursday Postal, Tim Starling, Tpb, Truthbealiar, Tverbeek, Tzzog, Ubergeekguy, Uncle G, Victory Lancer,
Wikibofh, Wikitoov, Wilson263, Wordmonkey, Wshun, Zanaq, Zephirine, 212 anonymous edits
Fictional fictional character Source: Contributors: Albmont, AlexWangombe, Allan McInnes, Altenmann, Anthony Appleyard,
Bakabaka, Bignole, BobGreenwade, Brighterorange, Catgut, Citius Altius, CyberSkull, Dj manton, Eclecticology, Egsan Bacon, EurekaLott, Flauto Dolce, Franey, GCarty, HenriLobineau, In
Defense of the Artist, JIP, Jagged 85, Jnestorius, Koveras, Krsont, Loona, Lots42, MD256, Mack-the-random, MakeRocketGoNow, Master Deusoma, MegX, MiharuAikou, Mike Klaassen, Mike
Teavee, Mikkel, Mitsukai, Mozzerb, Nfdgoisn, Nydas, ONEder Boy, Opera hat, Paul Haymon, Pengo, Pennyforth, Pete4winds, PhilHibbs, Philip Stevens, Pigby, Pikazilla, R.A Huston,
Registered user 92, Rich Farmbrough, Ron Ritzman, Sceptre, Smitty, StarDigian, Stefanomione, TBone777, Tamfang, Tcncv, The Music of Magic, Unidyne, Wragge, Шизомби, 61 anonymous
Form- versus- content humour Source: Contributors: Agawerwa, Bennelliott, Bobblehead, Carlb, CesarB, Eaefremov, EatMyShortz,
Grafen, Gwernol, JonathanDP, Joy, Kenny sh, Mairi, Majorly, Mindmatrix, Minesweeper.007, Mr Adequate, Mtu, Nzd, Template namespace initialisation script, The Anome, Tim Ross,
Vespristiano, Wafulz, Willie Work, Woohookitty, 8 anonymous edits
Comedic genres Source: Contributors: AKR619, ATC, After Midnight, AllenSerroney, Aroundthewayboy, Cainhill, Carrotmancanedit,
Celtus, Colonies Chris, Contributor777, Cuchullain, DrFurball, Floydoid, Fratrep, Fred1296, Gdo01, Gurch, HeyItsBryan, Hndsmepete, Homies236, Hst20, ISD, Iduunojustrandom,
Jmorrison230582, JustAGal, Justonehumbletruthseeker, Klichka, LarryTheGreat, Larrybob, Leonard^Bloom, LicenseFee, Ludwigs2, Maad Dogg 97, Maccoinnich, Mahlum, Malickfan86,
Malinaccier, Mrsblink182, No1lakersfan, Omnipedian, PFRSC87, Pdj1961, Pdtrueblood, Pssht, Publicprivacy, Richardcavell, Sprungl, StrikerObi, Suzer316, Tassedethe, Therealsamab, TonyW,
Tsunamishadow, Wavertree, Weirdman, Wilberforcehumphries, Woohookitty, 138 anonymous edits
Gross out Source: Contributors: [email protected], Alansohn, AngelOfSadness, Applehead77, Bedders, Blah3, CSWarren, Cfrydj, Clicketyclack,
Colonies Chris, Earle Martin, Jeffrey O. Gustafson, Knoll chick 128, Lahiru k, Lemmy12, Maikel, MakeRocketGoNow, Malcolma, Mandarax, Matistar, Natl1, Oatmeal batman, Paul A, Peyre,
Redheylin, RockMFR, Rogerb67, Scope creep, Scwlong, Sesu Prime, ShelfSkewed, Sin-man, Sparkit, Storminmormon888, The JPS, UtherSRG, X-Flare-x, 46 anonymous edits
Guerrilla improv Source: Contributors: Calvinballing, Deb, Editor2020, Mildweed, Piet Delport, 1 anonymous edits
Hack (comedy) Source: Contributors: Avatarcourt, Bkell, Bkonrad, Bobblehead, Cringeworthy, Dmmst3, DreamGuy, Geniac,
Hardtospell, Hunting dog, J04n, Jack324, KASchmidt, Milton Stanley, Mozyr, Ordago, Out of Phase User, Peetozi, Phillg, Pink-thunderbolt, Qabala, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, Skyraider,
Smitty, SueHay, Tiger2112, Wikimike, WolfgangFaber, 76 anonymous edits
Heckler Source: Contributors: 13shesh, 3mta3, 4hodmt, Abrazame, Absurdislife, Aitias, AlainV, Alansohn, Anetode, Atmoz,
AudioPervert, Bart van der Pligt, Biblbroks, Blinking Spirit, Bobo192, Bodnotbod, Brookie, Btyner, Bulbous, Cexycy, Charles Matthews, Chavando, Choess, D Monack, DGG, Dat11,
Daverocks, Dhodges, Discospinster, Dreftymac, Durova, Ed Poor, Ezhiki, Fluri, FrankCostanza, Froggo Zijgeb, Furrykef, GRBerry, Goaliedudegreg, Godfinger, Gordonbell, Grim Revenant,
Gyrofrog, Hopiakuta, Iamajpeg, Ibanez RYM, Idont Havaname, InTeGeR13, Irishninja1980, J.smith, JAStewart, JForget, JWSchmidt, Jack Cain, Jbonneau, Jcc77, Jnelson09, John, Johnkarp,
Jollyswagman, Joltman, JonathanFreed, Jyffeh, Kbthompson, Kegzz, Kenzin Hilgapond, Ktwebb2, Kymacpherson, Lan Di, Laraspal00, LilHelpa, Lockz, Luis Dantas, Mangoe, Meelar,
Mennonot, Mentalexcursions, Micropsia, Moonriddengirl, Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg, Neelix, Netscott, NickLee808, OneDoubleO, PaulGS, Peter G Werner, Pinkadelica, Possum,
Psychonaut, RJASE1, Rd232, Rebelkass, Res2216firestar, Rjwilmsi, Robofish, Ronlancaster, Rossheth, Ryansunil727, SQL, ScrapMetal, Severo, Shaulceder, SheikYerBooty, ShelfSkewed,
Shultz IV, SidP, Sideshowmel0329, SilvaStorm, Sketchyjoe, Skew-t, Smiteri, Smitty, SnappingTurtle, Sommers, SteveSims, Target Jackson, Tendbit, Tesseran, The Anome, The undertow,
Thejohnfleming, Thumperward, TigerShark, Tony Sidaway, Trumpet marietta 45750, Unara, Wahkeenah, Waldir, Wereon, Wknight94, YellowMonkey, Zzuuzz, 217 anonymous edits
History of comedy Source: Contributors: 121212, 2D, 6afraidof7, Aaaaital, Abdullais4u, Adam Knife, Adamahill, Addshore, Ahunt,
Ajh16, Akira Ifukube fan, AlistairMcMillan, Altenmann, Amorymeltzer, Anrie, Antandrus, Archangel1054, ArdenD, ArglebargleIV, Aspiringjedi, Avidmosh, Banzaidude2, Barek, Batz-Maru,
Bearcat, Beardo, Beetstra, Ben, Berean Hunter, Bhadani, BillDeanCarter, Billtheshirk, BlacksTV, Blahm, Boatweek, Bobertoper1, Bodnotbod, Bongwarrior, Boothy443, BostonMA, Bozhawk,
Bradeos Graphon, Bradjamesbrown, Brequinda, Brianga, Brighterorange, Brusegadi, Bustercleo, CBM, CHEWBACAJC, CSWarren, CZmarlin, Calliopejen1, Can't sleep, clown will eat me,
Carnildo, Carrot & Coriander, Catgut, CattleGirl, Chili chowder, Clarityfiend, Codenamecuckoo, Colonies Chris, Comedyqueen, Conti, Conversion script, Cooksi, Cooper.g, Crusadeonilliteracy,
Article Sources and Contributors
Cue the Strings, CurlyGirl93, Cyberleaderjim, D. Recorder, DVD R W, Dancter, Dandelila, Darkboy123, David Levy, David Stewart, Dayewalker, DeadEyeArrow, DealPete, Delahe15, Den
fjättrade ankan, DerHexer, Dfred, Diligent Terrier, DionysosProteus, Dirjarmocksorz, DiscGolf, Dissonancetheory, DocWatson42, Dodo bird, Dpm, Dragons flight, Dt.palma, Dylan Lake,
Dylanmaxmets, ESkog, Eagleamn, Ecth, Egmontaz, Ehh Mon Ehh, El C, Emeraude, Enviroboy, Eric444, Evil Monkey, FJPB, Femto, Fenderbenderstrat, Ferkelparade, Fieldday-sunday,
FisherQueen, Flernk, FoxDiamond, Foxtrot555, Fplay, FreplySpang, Frymaster, Fs, Ftbl, Funkmetalhead16, GHe, GK, Gaius Cornelius, Ganymead, Garfield226, Gayballs, Gblaz, Gchuva,
Gilliam, Ginsengbomb, Gioto, Gloriamarie, Gogo Dodo, Gordono1212, GraemeL, Grafen, Greatgavini, Gregbard, Griggsdias, Harrietspy, Hede2000, Hertz1888, Hibbleton, HistoryStudent113,
Hkpawn, Hobartimus, Hocknlim, Howardjones57, Iamajpeg, Ianchapman77, Igiffin, Immunize, Imrek, IncognitoErgoSum, Infrogmation, Invertzoo, Iridescent, Irishguy, Iwishicouldthink, J04n,
JForget, Jagged 85, Jaldridge86, Janeterama, Jauhienij, Javit, Jidanni, Jimmy Kicks, Joebob1234567, John254, JohnClarknew, Johnyet, Junius49, Just James, Justin Eiler, Justthefacts10, Jwy, KF,
Kaabi, Kakofonous, Karalevna, Karl-Henner, Keeper999, Keilana, Keith Breazeal, Kelly Martin, Kelly elf, Kencf0618, Kevin, Khendon, King Lopez, Knakts, Koliri, Kookyunii, Kozuch, Kpjas,
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Joke (sketch) Source: Contributors: Mclay1, Rich Farmbrough, 1 anonymous edits
Joke thievery Source: Contributors: Amchow78, Aquillion, BigHaz, Bkonrad, Cheddargyle, Closeapple, Conical Johnson, DReyn86,
DandyDan2007, Daniel J. Leivick, DarcCinema, Doczilla, Drbreznjev, DreamGuy, Everyking, Firsfron, First Light, Grimitar, Groyolo, Hatch68, Hunting dog, Ike9898, J04n, Jeodesic, Jogers,
MK2003, Master Deusoma, Matansc, Mrblondnyc, NapoliRoma, Nightkey, Qabala, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, RossPatterson, ScorpSt, Sfazzio, Treekids, Trivialist, Twas Now,
Tylermac55555, Wafulz, West.andrew.g, Wildhartlivie, 41 anonymous edits
Light poetry Source: Contributors: A. Carty, Ace rotc pilot, Ajh16, Aranel, Camembert, Ccreitz, Charles Matthews, Colfer2, Daderot,
Editor, LupO, Emperorbma, Felix Folio Secundus, Geoffrey.landis, Grendelkhan, Ihcoyc, James A Hayes, Jwillbur, Kennnesbitt, LarRan, Libcub, LostCause1979, MaggieT, MaggieTh,
Malinaccier, Man vyi, Maurilbert, MichaelJames, Paul.h, Psychonaut, Sj, Staples, TexMurphy, Wiki genuis girl, WikiParker, Xhienne, Zoicon5, 28 anonymous edits
Low comedy Source: Contributors: Alison, Antandrus, BCube, Benc, Bonalaw, Brisna10, Cool3, Cornellrockey, Dvd95lavila, Erzengel,
Evercat, Firsfron, Fmandog85, Gaius Cornelius, Garion96, Goalraiserman, Kizor, Longhair, Mairi, Mark272, Matthew Stannard, Mediumostrich, Nicephorus, OleMaster, Onco p53, Pcb21,
Philwelch, Protobob, RJFJR, Red dwarf, Stomicron, The Anome, Violask81976, 19 anonymous edits
Madrigal comedy Source: Contributors: Andrus Kallastu, Antandrus, Johnbod, Mike Selinker, Moneky, Redheylin, Wayland, Znusgy, 2
anonymous edits
Mockumentary Source: Contributors: 159753, 23skidoo, ATC, Aaronkleiber, Abacchus, Abtinb, Ace of Sevens, Alberon, Alex S,
Alkivar, Andman8, Andy G, Anthony, Apoliak, Arno Matthias, Arsonal, Aspects, Awostrack, Azucar, BBlze1, BDizzlenomorenames, Bardus, Bearcat, Bennmorland, Bifftar, BillyH, Black Kite,
Bob Westal, Bobblewik, Bovineboy2008, Boxclocke, Brhaspati, Brion VIBBER, Brusegadi, Btyner, Butters512, Calm, Cameron Dewe, Camr, Canek, Carey Evans, Cate, CheezBoi, Cjwright79,
Ckatz, Claire c4, Classicalsteve, Colmillo, Commander Keane, Cop 663, Counsell, Daniel Benfield, Davidhorman, Dcoetzee, Death 136 7, Descendall, DocWatson42, Donmccullen, Donnie Park,
Doodle77, DougHill, Drmegabite, Drmies, Duggy 1138, EdNeave, Edcolins, Elf, Elielieli, Eliz81, Emdx, Encyclopedia Mike, Ericd, Ericorbit, Esn, Esperant, Espinete123, Exomnium, Expatkiwi,
Feureau, Firsfron, Fleshmaker, Floaterfluss, Flowerparty, Fredsmith2, Furrykef, Gaius Cornelius, Gavri, Geoffrey Pruitt, GeorgeC, Glebonator, GolemNick, Gotyear, Gregor1973, Gregorius18,
Groomtech, Gwguffey, HL70, Harryboyles, Hiphats, Hmains, Hokeman, Huangdi, IAmTheCoinMan, IanBailey, IanOsgood, Ianblair23, Ihavenolife, Imroy, Indie.Bones, Iriedog, Irishguy,
J.smith, JAF1970, JB82, JFrosty, JMS Old Al, Jahsonic, Jan.Kamenicek, Jeff Silvers, Jeff3000, JeffJonez, Jeremy Butler, JeromeParr, Jesin, Jesnhardy, JesseOjala, Jgm, Jon Rob, Jonny2x4,
JustAGal, Justjoe4life, Jweiss11, Jwoodger, Kayaker, Kchishol1970, Kev1n, Kicking222, Kingturtle, KittenKlub, Kookyunii, Koyaanis Qatsi, Krash, Krazykillaz, Lady BlahDeBlah, Lefty, Levin,
Liachan, Lifefeed, Liftarn, Little Professor, Lonegroover, Loremaster, Lukwam, Lumos3, M. Stern, MER-C, MK, MK2, Maarvarq, Macindan, Makswel, Mark Sublette, Mattbr, Matthew Yeager,
Matthiashayward, Mav, Meatboy3, MegX, MegaKN, Mermaid from the Baltic Sea, Metagraph, Michael Hardy, MilkMiruku, Miller17CU94, Mkweise, Mlaffs, Monkeycheetah, Moonraker0022,
Motor, MrMurph101, Mwandishiman, Myanw, NailPuppy, NantonosAedui, Nate811, Navy.enthusiast, Neptunius, NightOnEarth, Nogoodreason, Ntnon, ONEder Boy, OldRight, Ortolan88,
Orville Eastland, Ottava Rima, Otto4711, PFHLai, PaddingtonX, PeterCanthropus, Peti me, Pgk, Phinicky, Phonemonkey, PhonicsMonkey, Pigsonthewing, Pilch62, PoinDexta1, Prevosti, Pyrop,
Qaz, Qutezuce, RAMChYLD, RJASE1, Rachmaninoff, RadSquirrel, Radagast83, Ragemanchoo, Rcollins03, Rdash, ReddyVarun, Reedy, Reveilled, Rick Block, Riffsyphon1024, Rightlively,
Robertd, Salamander01, Sam, Samaritan, Samuel Blanning, Sensorium, Sergey Khantsis, ShadowUltra, Shanes, ShaunMacPherson, Shawn in Montreal, Sherool, Shmila, Simeon, SimonP,
Sjorford, Skew-t, Skyraider, Steelbeard1, Stefanomione, Stephen Turner, Sukoshisumo, Swapnilnarendra, TShilo12, TUF-KAT, Tarmstrong, Tawal, TeePee-20.7, The Man in Question,
TheMidnighters, TheValentineBros, Tinton5, Tobias Bergemann, Tram645, TransUtopian, Tuvic, Twi20Pi, Vague Rant, Vianello, Vic Sinclair, Wayland, Whiner01, Wikinist, Woohookitty,
WorldWide Update, Wrenchgirl, X-Kind, Yamanam, YeshuaDavid, Yjones, YoungFreud, Zoicon5, 361 anonymous edits
Monologue Source: Contributors: .:Ajvol:., ALargeElk, Abrech, Ajraddatz, Aksi great, AlbertSM, Anupkc, Arichnad, Asasa64, Avinesh,
Banana Concoction, Banditnija, Baylink, Biblbroks, BigHaz, Bobo192, Borgx, Brianga, CJLL Wright, Calm, Cameron Nedland,, Christopher Parham, Clicketyclack, Cometstyles,
Confuzion, Coolblueman, Coralmizu, Cutler, CyberSkull, DarkFalls, Darklilac, Darth Panda, Davewild, Davidbspalding, Delldot, Deltabeignet, Deor, DerHexer, DionysosProteus, Discospinster,
Doc Strange, Doren robbins, Dpsaves, Dragnslay3rz, Dreaded Walrus, Dreadstar, DriveThru210, ERK, ESkog, Edcreely, Eddix5, Eliz81, Eluchil404, Enviroboy, Epolk, Euchiasmus, Euryalus,
Ewlyahoocom, Fatal!ty, FayssalF, Federicok13, Floul1, Fox, Fredrik, Free Bear, FreplySpang, Furrykef, Fuzza409, GDallimore, Galoubet, Geoffrey.landis, Gerweck, Giggy, Gigs, Goldenband,
Goldfritha, Greatgavini, Grick, Griff12, Groggy Dice, Gurp13, Gökhan, HenryLi, Heyheyhey18, Hydrogen Iodide, Iamwaggle, Icairns, Igoldste, Iridescent, Irishguy, JNW, Jagged, JakeVortex,
Jamiem, JesseRafe, Jftsang, John, JohnCD, Joseph Arnone, Joyofjoy, Juhachi, Juhigbpufg7td5eyktilpygorf, KJS77, Karl-Henner, Kasjanek21, Kenn.kotl, Kilo-Lima, KirrVlad, Kktor, Kleinzach,
KnowledgeBased, Koven.rm, Kuru, Larrybob, LeCire, LeaveSleaves, Levineps, Little Mountain 5, LittleHow, Lmp883, Lollipops *Lick*, Lugnuts, Luna Santin, MECU, Magwitchmike, Major
optics, Malcolmxl5, Mandel, Marish Glides, Martarius, MattTM, Mattarata, Mecha Mudkipz, Mehrunes Dagon, Melaen, Michael Devore, Mike Klaassen, Mike Rosoft, Mini-Geek, Mjquinn id,
Mlaffs, Modernist, Monologue Blogger, Mr Frosty, N0YKG, NailPuppy, Neduma, Neelix, Nol888, Nossbox, Nsaa, O, Oleg Alexandrov, Palica, Paul A, Paul Barlow, Pax:Vobiscum, Pedro
Aguiar, Pennstatephil, Philip Trueman, Pinkadelica, Possum, Prashanthns, PrestonH, Promethean, Psyclone, Qxz, R9tgokunks, Razorflame, Rettetast, Rich257, Rob Burbidge, Robomaeyhem,
Article Sources and Contributors
Rocco9, Rocio nunez, Ron Ritzman, Ronhjones, RoyBoy, Ryouko, SMC, SOADcob, Sanbeg, Scott Ritchie, Scottybc1010, Sexylawngnome88, Sfahey, SilkTork, Singer77, Sinuhe, Skier Dude,
Smartings, Smerus, Snowmanradio, SpNeo, Stephenb, Steven J. Anderson, Stitchill, Strider01, Stusutcliffe, Switchercat, TKD, Tagishsimon, Tchonch, The Always Trusted Scholar, The Real
Jean-Luc, The freddinator, TheAllSeeingEye, Thranduil, Tide rolls, TomasBat, Troy 07, Tsoraci, Unfree, Venu62, Vev, Violncello, Webbbbbbber, Webmgr, Weric1, Where, Wogrep,
WordyGirl90, Xanzzibar, Xiahou, Zandperl, Zigger, Zoicon5, Петър Петров, 492 anonymous edits
Observational comedy Source: Contributors: A State Of Trance, Akldawgs, Anonymous Dissident, Bobo92, Camr, Cassandra 73,
Closedmouth, Curtdbz, Daftpunkboy93, Davewho2, Deepred6502, Deltabeignet, Dj hillman, Dlabtot, Edwardx, Emosamurai, Esprit15d, Favonian, Fences and windows, German.Knowitall,
GrungeNeverDIED, Hypermagic, IAmTheCoinMan, IE, Jake6293, Janviermichelle, Jcrawley1, Kansan, Keeves, Kwarrior89, Lavabai, Leroyinc, Michael Hardy, Michaelritchie200,
NorthernThunder, Otaku-jin, PierceG, Poeloq, Polylerus, Redsox04, Rjwilmsi, Ryder555, Samuel Curtis, SandwichEater11, Smartings, Steven J. Anderson, Tad Lincoln, Telestylo, The Thing
That Should Not Be, TimNelson, William Avery, 92 anonymous edits
One- person show Source: Contributors: 83d40m, A54b, Alansafe5, Andyfolda, Bardsandwarriors, Bobblehead, Brian dalee,
Brooklyned, Bwhack, Cfrydj, Chancemichaels, Childstim, Cjewell, Clinevol98, DionysosProteus, EraserGirl, Fram, Fratrep, FredR, Gretagolding, HarryHenryGebel, Hysteria18, Icairns, Jeff
Silvers, Jennifer Martens, Joseph Solis in Australia, Joshua Issac, Jtradke, Leahtwosaints, Levineps, MartinDK, Mikelavoie, Moyogo, Nicolas1981, Nossbox, Onebravemonkey, Otto4711, Patti la
Rue, PaulGarner, Peteinterpol, Quickos, Renosecond, Rjwilmsi, Seduisant, Serious About Comedy, Softlavender, Squids and Chips, Tassedethe, Tevildo, Travelbird, Woohookitty, 31 anonymous
Onomastì komodèin Source: Contributors: Benlisquare, Catalographer, DionysosProteus, J Milburn, SummerWithMorons, 2 anonymous
Practical joke Source: Contributors: 0dd1, 5 albert square, A bit iffy, A little insignificant, A. Parrot, A3RO, Accurizer, Ahoerstemeier,
Aitias, Alansohn, Altenmann, Amber388, Anbublackops94, Andrevan, AnimalCracker, Antonio Lopez, ArrowmanCoder, Artichoker, Asdfasdfasdfasdfasdf123456789, Audacity, Audiparty,
Avidmosh, Axeman89, Ayumbhara, BTNH, BarretBonden, Bart133, Basawala, Bb224466, Beetstra, BenFrantzDale, Bernard Mc Nally, BesigedB, Bewildebeast, Big Bird, BigDunc, Bobo192,
Bohemian Arcade, BrandonR, Brianga, Brumski 191, Bushwacker182, Butros, Bwiki, C6541, CH2010028, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, CanadianLinuxUser, Carabera, Casper2k3,
Causepower, Ccacsmss, Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry, ChildofMidnight, Chipe, Chris the speller, Chrislk02, Christopher denman, Cipher nemo, Ckatz, Clarince63, Clubmarx,
CommonsDelinker, Crash Underride, Crazytales, CryptoDerk, Cubic Hour, Curps, Cuzandor, Cyde, D4n4kix, D6, DOHC Holiday, DanielRigal, Darkfight, Davewho2, David Stewart, David in
DC, David paez, David spector, DavidWBrooks, Davidjk, Davidpatrick, Dbunde, Deep impact, Delldot, Denelson83, DennisDaniels, Dina, Dingo49, Dino246, Diogeneselcinico42, Discordia23,
Discospinster, DkEgy, Dougweller, Dpenguinman, Drawnman247, Driveus, Drummerwoman, Ds13, DustFormsWords, E Wing, Eekerz, Elendil's Heir, Elizabethmarhors, Emote, Ente75, Erik9,
Erin3, Espen, Esthurin, EveryDayJoe45, Falcon8765, Flameviper, FrankCostanza, Frankly speaking, Frecklefoot, FreeMorpheme, Fæ, GDibyendu, Galoubet, GangstaEB, GeorgeMoney, Gilliam,
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Jdjonas, JeremeK, Jerry, Jnc, John Reaves, Jojhutton, Jonathan.s.kt, Jonwood2, Joseph Solis in Australia, Jrockley, Kaisershatner, Kareeser, Kayau, Keraunoscopia, Klichka, Kokoo, Kuru, Kwiki,
Kyorosuke, LOLBBQ, Lars Washington, Letterbuyer123, Leylandmac, Liamdaly620, Lightdarkness, Linguofreak, Longhair, Lord Voldemort, Lugnuts, Luigifan, Lycaphim, MSGJ, Macellarius,
Mackeriv, MafiaCapo, Malber, Malo, Mark Sublette, MarkS, Maroelis, MarvinJohanssen, MatthewH, Matticus78, Max Naylor, McGeddon, Meeba, Meisterkoch, Menchi, Mentifisto, Michael
Gary Scott, Mike 7, Mindmatrix, Minesweeper.007, Miranda, Mmxx, Moralis, Motor, Mphung, Mr Bungle, Mr. Billion, Mschel, Murray Langton, Myrtone86, NMChico24, Nadegie, Nakon,
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Ranveig, Rasmus Faber, Raul654, Redeagle688, RexNL, Rfc1394, Rgl168, Rileyk90, Rjlsoftware, Rmosler2100, Rnb, Rockingbeat, Rrburke, Ryulong, SCEhardt, Sajeed A, Sam Clark,
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Smartandgeeky, Smartings, Smashbros35, Sneezed, Snigbrook, SoCalSuperEagle, Sonicrules2, Sonjaaa, Spartan-James, StaticSan, Stephenb, Storkk, Supernerd 10, Taschenrechner, Tawker, The
Thing That Should Not Be, The wub, TheCoffee, TheWiseBaseball, Thedjatclubrock, Thesecondone, Tinton5, Toddsdonald, Toddst1, Tomtom12383, TransUtopian, Travelbird, Tregoweth,
Tresckow, TrulyBlue, Trumpet marietta 45750, Turtledude333, Tverbeek, Ulric1313, Unionhawk, Upset Parent, Userrr2, VKokielov, Veinor, VernoWhitney, Versus22, Wahkeenah, Walloon,
Wasted Time R, Welsh, Whiner01, WikHead, Wikidome, Wiktator, Willy0800, WojPob, Writer 101, Wtfunkymonkey, Wudy1, Xaliber, Xompanthy, Xp54321, Yay Hooray, Yeanold
Viskersenn, Yslain, Zaff1000, Zondor, ZooFari, ^demon, 551 anonymous edits
Prank call Source: Contributors: 21655, 5ko, A. Parrot, Academic Challenger, Accounting4Taste, Acs4b, Actor24, Adammercury,
Ahoerstemeier, Ainlina, Alansohn, [email protected], Amcaja, AndrewHowse, Andrij Kursetsky, Andypandy.UK, AnemoneProjectors, AnonymousOrc, Another fake account, Apparition11,
AshcroftIleum, Aude, Avalyn, Backtable, Barek, Battletoadsandmudkipsunite, BazookaJoe, Bdve, Beenmore, Beginning, Bennybp, Bento00, Besselfunctions, Bewildebeast, Bikeable,
Billydeeuk, Bioret, Bluebird207, Blueblade0, Bobbystone, Bobo192, Bonkeykong, BradleyEE, Bramlet Abercrombie, Briguy52748, Brusegadi, Bryan Derksen, Bubba hotep, Budgie babies,
Bunny-chan, Byager, C BANISTER1, CLW, CZmarlin, Callaslag, Callrgeek, Callrsd, Camerong, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, CandyCoatedPoison, CanisRufus, Captain Quirk, Captain panda,
Cburnett, Cenarium, Ceyockey, Cfailde, Charlesviper, Cheesyburrito619323, Chris 73, Chris Love, Ciaran H, Clawson, Cliff smith, Computer97, Convoy of Conwy, Cubs Fan, Curley G,
Czolgolz, D-Day, DDerby, Damian Mac Con Uladh, Danfifepsu, Darry2385, David Newton, David.Mestel, Dcooper, DeadEyeArrow, Delbert Grady, Delldot, DennyColt, Dina, Discospinster,
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JasonBillie, JasonXV, Jasonbres, Jef-Infojef, JetLover, Jiiin, JimiaiWeber, Jnelson09, Joelster, John Sloan 3, JohnI, JohnWittle, Joyous!, Jpers36, Jredmond, Jsonitsac, Jusdafax, Jwaters1020,
Kaisershatner, KensingtonBlonde, Kevin B12, Keycard, Khukri, Killiondude, King Aaron 121296, Koavf, KrakatoaKatie, Krautukie, Krystal2002, KungFuMil, Kungming2, Kuru, L., Lankiveil,
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Mark, Marwood, MasterA113, Matthewinventor, Mazin07, Mcb1209, Merovingian, Metropolitan90, Mgsbs, Mhking, Mortein, Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg, Mpippen, Mr.crabby,
Mrmangoproductions, Multixfer, Mumble45, NARUTO93, NYKevin, Nat, NawlinWiki, NewEnglandYankee, Ninetyone, Njzace, Nohat, Nomanprankcallr, NoseNuggets, Notjake13, Nsedss,
NuWeb, Nummer29, OhanaUnited, Omicronpersei8, Optigan13, Osirisx11, Ouellette, Ouzo, Oxymoron83, P Carn, Papajohnsprankcalls, Paxse, Pb30, Peppersauzeu, Peripitus, Peter Horn, Phgao,
Pink Bull, Pmet tnuocca, Pobbie Rarr, Portillo, Prashanthns, Prede, Qirex, Qst, Quinsareth, RJN, RSido, Radiant!, RadioActive, Ratesglory, RattleMan, Readylube, RedWolf, Reece Llwyd, Rio
de oro, Rjwilmsi, RobertCMWV1974, Ryulong, S8333631, SSJ 5, SUPER CHARLES GOONAN, Sacularamacal13, Sam Hocevar, Sarion123, Sarten-X, Satori Son, Scapler, Scarpy, Scepia,
Scorpion0422, Scottandrewhutchins, Secfan, Shamrox, Shaun Ewing, Sherpaderka, Shisock, SidP, Singer1996, Sintaku, Skinnyweed, Skittle, Slinga, Slipwins, Smadge1, Smarkflea, Snigbrook,
Spencer, Spondoolicks, Stifle, Storm Rider, Sumergocognito, SuperDude115, Synchronism, Szyslak, TKLM, Tangerines, Tangosound, Tassedethe, Tavakoli543, TenPoundHammer,
TexasAndroid, Thames111, That Don Guy, The Anome, The C of E, The High Commander, The Moranator, The Thing That Should Not Be, The wub, Theaterdude91, Theman1012, Tide rolls,
Tizio, Tokachu, Tomatoes equal YUCK, Tree Kittens, Trevort2012, Treytor, Trivialist, TropicalGrove, Trotter, Trusilver, Tsemii, Tug97, Tuttt, Ukexpat, User27091, Varizer, VasilievVV,
Vgmfm, Vicarious, WATP, WadeSimMiser, Wavy G, Wik, Wiki alf, Wimt, Woodsstock, Wpell, X!, Xnuala, Zanaq, Zro, Zvn, Милан Јелисавчић, Товарищ, 859 anonymous edits
Prop comedy Source: Contributors: Andyroo316, Authraw, Bhaputi, Bryan Derksen, Catseyes1, Deep treble, Edgarde, Exxolon,
Fmandog85, FreddyPickle, Furrykef, Havermayer, It's-is-not-a-genitive, J.J., Jasonbres, Jmlptzlp, JoKing, JonathanDP, KF, Mairi, Mandarax, Maverjoe, MelonSmasher, Michael Dorosh, ONEder
Boy, Pentawing, Rchamberlain, Richardcavell, Shimgray, Sparkit, TheHYPO, Upholder, 15 anonymous edits
Pull my finger Source: Contributors: BD2412, Bobo192, Brjatlick, CliffC, Curps, D-Day, Deathawk, Demiurge, Design7d, Devonreilly,
Dismas, Drknexus, Everyking, Facius, Fish and karate, Fixman, FreplySpang, G6JPG, Gatemansgc, GilbertoSilvaFan, Gilliam, Greatgavini, Grog42, Gwalla, Hadal, Hentaidan, HoCkEy PUCK,
Hueydoc, Iamjonny, J.delanoy, Jarrett319, Johnfullerton, Jordanashley11, Joshgreifer, Jutl, Kay Dekker, Kelly Martin, Kuru, Kuzinrob, Lawikitejana, Longhair, Mendel, Murdersaurusrex,
Nagrom1981, Nahallac Silverwinds, Ncat2k, Nick Bond, Nickersonl, PenguiN42, Pkirlin, RJFJR, Sjzukrow, Splash, Steve98052, Stratadrake, Sweikart, Tamfang, Tanvalley, The Thing That
Should Not Be, TheGeoffMeister, Thenickdude, Tregoweth, Trivialist, UberMan5000, Wavy G, Wimt, Wingsandsword, Xhin, Yelyos, ^demon, 94 anonymous edits
Punch line Source: Contributors: 2ganesh, Acmebrand, Alai, Altenmann, Aqausten, Artichoker, Aspirex, Bluemoose, C0r,
Christopherlin, Comicsrus, DJ Clayworth, Dehumanizer, Geogre, Ghetteaux, Grayshi, Ishotthepilot, Isomorphic, Jeames, Jerzy, JoeSmack, John Elson, Johnherro, Joy, K0hlrabi, Kidlittle,
Lathrop1885, Lupin, Mairi, Matt Crypto, Meelar, Mercury, Mgccl, Namangwari, NoIdeaNick, ReyBrujo, Ronz, Royboycrashfan, Saforrest, Shreevatsa, Smitty, Suruena, Susan Davis,
Tempodivalse, TheRedPenOfDoom, Tide rolls, WhisperToMe, Zzapper, 40 anonymous edits
Racial comedy Source: Contributors: Ben Tibbetts, Closedmouth, Grow60, Hmains, Richardcavell, Shaolin Samurai, 3 anonymous edits
Restoration comedy Source: Contributors: 1Timothy6.12, A8UDI, Ace ETP, Alan Liefting, Aspern, Bill the Greek, Bishonen, Bishzilla,
Bobblewik, Boothy443, Brianga, Brighterorange, Burschik, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, CanisRufus, Chmod007, Chris the speller, Cirt, Crimsonedge34, Cybermage, D6, Dalmatiner Henry,
Davecampbell, Dbenbenn, DeGabor, Deb, Delirium, DionysosProteus, Discospinster, Dysepsion, EGGS ARE YUMMY MMM MMM, Eawonder, Elockid, Ericamick, FaerieInGrey, Fataltourist,
Article Sources and Contributors
Felix-in-R, FelixG, Floul1, ForDorothy, Fred J, Furrykef, Gamaliel, Gasheadsteve, Geogre, Giano II, Granthef4, Gustav von Humpelschmumpel, Gökhan, Infrogmation, Jcbarr, Jll294,
Joanenglish, Kbh3rd, Kevin Forsyth, Khatru2, Kingfelix, Kozuch, Kungfuadam, Kuru, Lahaine14, Lupin, MBisanz, MarnetteD, MartinDK, Mattisse, Mertorri, Mglg, Midnightdreary,
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