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Film and Television Acting, 2nd Edition by Ian Bernard

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8

Situation Comedy

 

 

 

History

From vaudeville, burlesque, stage reviews, and some musicals emerged a style of acting called sketch comedy. A sketch was a short piece of material, usually no more than seven or eight minutes. The actors portrayed broad stereotypes. They waited for the laughs, took pies in the face, did pratfalls, and played directly to the audience. Nothing was taboo. The best sketch comics went on to become television stars in the infancy of television, when variety shows were popular. Such people as Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn, and Milton Berle were some of the first people to headline their own TV shows.

Shows such as “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In” featured this kind of comedy. After ...

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