Slapstick

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Kevyn: Define "funny."
Doctor Bunnigus: When it happens to you, rather than happening to me?

Kevyn: So. . . My bloodstream is full of slapstick.

Slapstick is essentially physical Comedic Sociopathy—people who aren't you getting hurt in obscene ways (e.g. falling into open sewers and dying); that's comedy. The defining feature of slapstick is its highly exaggerated nature, combined with a lack of serious physical consequences. The Pratfall is a staple of slapstick humor.

The name comes from a prop in the Commedia Dell'Arte: the battacchio, or "Slapstick", is two pieces of wood that sound more like punching than punching does, without causing any physical damage; making this Older Than Steam. It has been a staple of Vaudeville and Burlesque; and a consistent thread in many types of comedy, most notably the Farce. Exemplified in the modern era by artists like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy; and continued by recent performers such as the British comedy team of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson, and Canadian actor Jim Carrey.

While slapstick is present to some degree in many comedic works; examples should be works that depend entirely or predominantly on this form of exaggerated physical comedy for their humour.

Examples of Slapstick include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Discworld, the Fools' Guild has actually weaponised slapstick in the form of a martial art, as seen in Making Money.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Music Videos[edit | hide]

  • The videos for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" and "We're Not Gonna Take It".

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • A staple of circuses, from Ringling Brothers to Cirque Du Soleil, via their clowns.