“A boisterous form of comedy marked by chases, collisions, and crude practical jokes.” - American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(This is why I so rarely quote - the reference is three times as long.)
Slapstick goes back to Rome. Along with crucifixion, it’s one of those wonderful innovations of civilization that separated the Republic from the barbarians.
It’s named for a stick that sounds painful, but isn’t so much.
Aptly or not, modern comedy has incorporated Crucifixion into the slapstick genre. But it's not all so grisly.
Early films incorporated a great deal of slapstick. Clever repartee was difficult without sound.
Chaplin was considered a cinema god for his mastery of the art.
Until we deported him for having different political views than most of his audience.
And so the entertainment industry sought out acts to take up the slack.
The Little Rascals
Laurel and Hardy
Abbot and Costello
and of course...
The Three Stooges
For eighty years they have defined American Slapstick comedy
Even when Shemp replaced Curly, they were better than any other team,
Then slapstick got relegated to cartoons.
Live comedies relied on snappy dialog as opposed to physical comedy.
With some wonderful exceptions.
Maybe that's why we're so angry all the time. We take ourselves too seriously. What America - the World needs today is...
A good pie in the face.
Or maybe just to watch a bit more Monty Python