Chapter 10Props

I know a man who claims that all inanimate objects are perverse. He says that things deliberately hide from him. I believe this man has discovered an important new law.

Mack Sennett1

Prop is theater shorthand for property, which is any movable object in the scene. The term is often used specifically to describe something handled by an actor, which is how I am using it here. Props are anything the actor or character interacts with. It can be as small as a needle or as large as a steamship. It can be a single item or a preposterously complex machine. Props are hugely important in physical comedy, and this chapter will look at some of the common ways they can be used.

There are some comedians who specialize in working with props. ...

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