Stand Up Comedy Essay

889 Words 4 Pages
A Timeline of Laughter: Comedy Through the Years

Audiences have been entertained by stand-up comedians for more than a century. From the vaudeville shows of the 1800s to the musical stand-up acts of modern times, the history of stand-up comedy is rich – and its evolution has consisted of a fascinating timeline filled with tears and laughter. Whether a person prefers comedy delivered with dry wit, ribald cynicism, or silly banter meant to engage the audience, there is something for everyone in the stand-up comedy through the years. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an informative illustration of the history of stand-up comedy from the 1800s through the present day. Historians may debate the actual origins of this type of entertainment,
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Comedians such as George Carlin and Richard Pryor held audiences captive with their sharp humor and brilliant perspectives of the world around them. A new generation of stand-up performers had much to offer those who were dissatisfied with the status quo of previous generations. Nightclubs were a working playground for the budding talents of people like Jay Leno and David Letterman. Elayne Boosler and Freddie Prinze became famous during this era, and Jerry Seinfeld practiced his skills on the stages of the 1970s. Broadcast television provided the comedic performers of the 1970s with a way to hone their skills outside of nightclubs. The Tonight Show introduced countless comedians to a huge national audience.

The Stand-Up Comedy of the 1980s Through the 1990s

After the intense popularity of stand-up comedy in the 1970s, numerous venues opened to give performers more options than ever. Eddie Murphy unleashed his provocative style on willing audiences, and Robin Williams delighted people with his offbeat humor and rapid-fire delivery. In the 1990s, the stand-up comedy scene experienced a dip in venue possibilities; however, some stand-up comedians thrived in large shows.

Stand-Up Comedy From 2000 and
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Many individuals prefer the bawdy humor of comedians such as Louis C. K. and Amy Schumer. These performers offer routines that might be enjoyed by adult audiences who appreciate comedy with loose boundaries.

Others may seek humor that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages, such as musical stand-up comedy. One example of this sub-genre of stand-up comedy is the humor of Al Fike, from Richardson, Texas. Fike offers family-friendly entertainment that integrates music with comedy. This type of comedy has become an increasingly popular form of entertainment over the last several years.

Regardless of their particular tastes in humor, audiences throughout the centuries have flocked to watch stand-up comedy routines. The vaudeville acts of the 1800s were only the beginning of centuries of humor expressed on the stage. Stand-up comedy today varies widely in its possibilities, and people of all ages may have an opportunity to appreciate this popular genre of entertainment.


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