How Long Has Comedy As Entertainment Been Around for?
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Comedy as entertainment has been around for a while. The oldest written comedy was written by a dramatist of the ancient Greek theater, Aristophanes. He wrote 40 comedies, and 11 of them are still being performed today.
These ancient Greek comedies were based on “humor” that today would be called “politically incorrect.” They were bawdy, sexist, and full of sexual innuendo, and made fun of certain groups or stereotypes.
Vaudeville gave birth to modern humor. Although humor was still mostly politically incorrect, it did move on from sexual innuendo and making fun of certain groups of people to more sophisticated forms of “funny.”
When moving pictures came along, comedy was based almost entirely upon action. We called it “slapstick.” Punching, hitting, twisting arms, etc. was funny. The Three Stooges were the quintessential slapstick comedians of the era. They could walk into a room full of high society stuffed-shirts and leave the place in shambles. The Three Stooges movies are still popular today, and nobody has bettered their slapstick technique – ever.
You can’t discuss comedy without mentioning the “first couple of comedy,” Lucy and Desi. The “I Love Lucy” Show was comedy at its best. The jokes are still politically correct today. It wasn’t necessary to rely on sexual innuendo or ethnic humor. Lucy and Desi were just FUNNY. Those old reruns can still make people laugh!
Sexual and ethnic humor gets the “cheapest” laughs. Very little talent is required, and even the timing isn’t all that important. REAL comedy makes you laugh without relying on cheap laughs. Think about that the next time you watch what sometimes passes for comedy today.
True comedians are real artists. Comedy is probably THE most difficult form of entertainment. Comedians and comedies don’t have to wait for the reviews to be written. If the audience laughed in the right places, the show was a hit. If they didn’t, it wasn’t.
The entertainment industry includes everything that’s make-believe and/or makes us laugh, cry, become fearful, or happy or sad – or experience any other emotion because of what is happening before our eyes.
I call the circus entertainment at its finest, but there are those who would differ with me. Some want to classify the “entertainment industry” only as plays, movies, or television that employs actresses and actors to portray make-believe characters. That is simply too narrow a definition for me. I’ve stood in front of the monkey cage at the zoo and laughed harder than I did at the last comedy production that I attended.
The entertainment industry, in my opinion, includes anything and everything that provides entertainment – and that includes the circus.
The circus has it all. There’s suspense (high wire acts), there’s drama (trapeze acts), there’s comedy (clowns), and the most amazing trained exotic animals you can imagine. That’s entertainment. What else would you call it?
The circus isn’t new. There was a circus in ancient Rome. There were horse shows, riding exhibitions, staged battles, and jugglers, acrobats, and trained animals. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey didn’t think up the circus.