Comedy is difficult, especially slapstick. The trick is to have fun while you are performing it*
Updated: Jul 4
Slapstick comedy movies have been around since the days of the black and white silent films. With films going back as far as the 1910’s, the rough and tumble humour itself has been a part of farce since ancient times and was even prominent in Greek and Roman mime and pantomime. Slapstick movies starred many of the popular comedians of that era including:
Buster Keaton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frYIj2FGmMA,
Charlie Chaplin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPcEFHA3X0c,
The Keystone Cops https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Orde7FtHh0,
Harold Lloyd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEcTjhUN_7U,
Abbott and Costello https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijKM9aP18Ek,
Laurel and Hardy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAmb4dVJAmU,
The Three Stooges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4OZtF8rKvs
Some of the comedians mentioned above added social commentary to their films whereas the latter three groups where merely slapstick fun!
The action in these films was fast and furious with a lot of vigorous and often violent action, many of the stunts were done by acrobats and clowns. Even today we have comedians such as:
Jaques Tati (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday 1953 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G9xMIeOifA&list=PLbKA1GXRcJNTQdD8z4RP_lGUFp2xsPRiY&index=1),
Jim Carrey (Dumb and Dumber; Liar Liar; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kogDkXSI_rY),
Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSGrk5gVkmM).
If you enjoy watching actors play practical jokes, trip each other up, throw a pie into each other’s faces. Then slapstick is for you! They make it look so easy, but don’t be fooled many of the stunts take a great deal of skill – timing is very important. In the film Steamboat Bill Jr. a building falls on Buster Keaton fortunately he is standing at the spot where the first floor open window will fall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsyRhRR5Iu4. Buildings balance on the edge of cliffs, actors hang from clocks, or climb up high rise blocks. All this to make us laugh.
We have mentioned a few of the many slapstick comedians that you can watch in movies. Laughter is important in our lives and something that we should all aim to experience each day.
As the great actor and comedian Charlie Chaplin said: ‘A day without laughter is a day wasted!’
* opening quote by Maureen O'Hara
Screenshot - 'The Gold Rush' 1925
Screenshot - 'The Keystone Cops' 1912
Screenshot - 'Safety Last' 1923
Alamy Stock Photo