The Impact Of Burlesque And Vaudeville On Stand-Up Comedy

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The Impact of Burlesque and Vaudeville on Stand-up Comedy
“The struggle of the funny performer has remained a symbiosis of drive, jealousy, heartbreak, and triumph-- existing then as it exists now. Perhaps the only other constant is comedy’s unfailing popularity” -K. Nesterkoff, 2016 Richard Pryor, arguably one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, credits his comedic abilities to many comedians, one being Charlie Chaplin. You may be thinking, “how does Charlie Chaplin, the guy who played The Tramp in silent black and white movies, influence a stand up comedian like Richard Pryor?” Well, you may be surprised to know that all American stand-up comedians are heavily impacted by the performances in the late nineteenth century. During the late 1800’s, vaudeville and burlesque dominated performance venues across the country and developed a new art form that had never been seen before. Although stand-up is one of the only true American art forms, we cannot forget to credit vaudeville and burlesque performers who paved the way for the rise of stand-up comedy. Believe it or not, nineteenth century burlesque and vaudeville play a major role in the evolution of what stand-up comedy is today. After all, how can we respect the art form of stand-up comedy today without fully understanding how it all began?
Variety Shows In the beginning of the nineteenth century, variety shows boomed all across the nation. Variety shows “...did not have plots, they did not tell stories, and
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