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Slapstick Comedy – Everything You Need To Know

With a little forethought you can create your own slapstick comedy. All you need is a partner and a little practice. This article will tell you the key points to create a skit as well as the origins of slapstick comedy, what it is, and examples in film and entertainment media.

Origins of Slapstick Comedy.

Slapstick Comedy: Dr. Evil
Dr. Evil

The term “Slapstick” comes from 16th century’s Commedia dell’ Arte (Italian: ‘comedy of the profession”) that used the “Slapstick“, a prop consisting of two pieces of wood that sounded like someone getting punched. Over the centuries elements of slapstick comedy came to England in the form of the Punch-and-Judy show, a puppet play with a character called Punch. Slapstick comedy continued to evolve into the Twentieth Century with Vaudeville and Burlesque. This was soon replaced and continues today in cinema, television, and streaming services. See Britannica’s commedia dell’arte and TV Tropes’ Slapstick.

What is Slapstick Comedy and Where Do You See It?

W.C. Fields
Get a Sense of Humor

Slapstick comedy is more action than words, It is a style of comedy that requires great timing, animated facial expressions, and many times acrobatics to pull it off. A revival of slapstick comedy occurred in the mid-twentieth century, with legends like The Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy. These slapstick comedians can be seen on YouTube and streaming services today.

Film makers such as Zucker Brothers and Mel Brooks have produced countless slapstick movies. Animated cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes’ Roadrunner continue to be excellent media for slapstick. Animation allows for more creative slapstick than dangerous live-action stunts. See LiveAbout’s What Is Slapstick Comedy? and Studio Binder’s What is Slapstick Comedy — Movie Genres Explained for more information.

Do Your Own Slapstick Comedy.

If you are the creative type you can do your own slapstick comedy. Here are some steps to creating your own slapstick comedy (see OurPastimes for details).

  • Straight Man, Gag Guy. Find a willing partner where one person will play the “straight man” and the other person will play the “gag man“.
  • Get A Conversation or Storyline Going.  Straight man starts a conversation or sets up the scene and the gag guy inserts either absurd logic or weird behavior into the scene.
  • Punch Line”. The comedy skit ends with a “punchline” such as a pie in the face, a slip on a banana peel, or other physical gag resulting in laughter from the audience.

More: Find Out About Sense of Humor Types and What is Your Humor Style

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