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Stand-up comedy

Stand-up comedy

Comedy style where the performer addresses the audience directly

Stand-up comedy consists of one-liners, stories, observations or shtick that may incorporate props, music, magic tricks, or ventriloquism.

Stand-up comedy can be performed almost anywhere, including but not limited to clubs, festivals, bars, nightclubs, colleges or theatres.

Stand-up as a western art form has its roots in the traditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from vaudeville, burlesque and English music hall.

The first documented use of stand-up as a term was in The Stage in 1911 describing a Miss Nellie Perrier delivering "'stand up' comic ditties in a chic and charming manner", describing a performance of comedy songs rather than stand-up comedy in true terms

In the Yorkshire Evening Post of 10 November 1917, the "Stage Gossip" column described the career of Finlay Dunn. The article states Dunn played "as what he calls 'a stand-up comedian'". This usage is more convincing than the 1911 review of Nellie Perrier, as, although performing as a comedy piano act for most of his career, a favoured strand included joking about his large physical size, described as "good buffoonery in evening dress, with no accessories whatever", and, while the article was published in 1917, it refers to an earlier phase of his career. Dunn may have been a stand-up comedian in the very late part of the nineteenth century or the early twentieth century. It is also possible Dunn used the term retrospectively when recalling his past life, it is not clear exactly when his stand-up act was first performed.


Further Resources


Kevin Hart - I'm Scared Of Ostriches


October 3, 2014

Ryan Long - Explaining Body Positivity to Other Cultures


September 30, 2018


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