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Slapstick

The Wise Physician

A king set to sea on a ship with some of his courtiers. A courtier who had never been to sea before, sat in the empty belly of the ship and screamed and wailed as the waves carried them up and down, up and down - Many tried to calm his fears, but did not come through a bit.

The king could hardly bear to hear the courtier's cries any more when his physician came up to him and said, "Sir, with your permission I can calm him down."

The king gladly gave his permission, and the physician ordered the seamen to throw the screaming courtier overboard. They did it. The courtier thrashed about in the water, gasped for air and for dear life cried to be taken on board. Then the seamen pulled him out of the water, and from then on he sat quietly in a corner. The surprised king asked the physician, "What wisdom is contained in this action?"

The physician said, "He had never experienced the salt sea before, and didn't know how dangerous it can be. So he did not know how good it is to have a ship between oneself and the water.

You do well to refrain from this kind of anxiety therapy.

Slapstick

Slapstick (Italian: brutta farsa, freddura, grossolano) is a type of comedy involving exaggerated extreme physical violence or activities which exceed the boundaries of common sense. It is at times comedy marked by chases, collisions, and crude practical jokes, or by broad humour, absurd situations, and vigorous, often violent action. The activity involved may be foolish, and depictions may be very exaggerated.

The word slapstick derives from the battacchio - 'slap stick' in English. It consists of double paddles used by circus clowns to beat one another. Two wooden slats - one with a handle - were connected with a spring hinge, and the loud, smacking crack of the two slats could easily make an audience laugh. And the devise caused little physical damage.

Theatre historians tell that slapstick comedy has been at least somewhat present in almost all comedic genres since the theatre was rejuvenated in church liturgical dramas in the Middle Ages. Some think slapstick also was used in Greek and Roman theatre.

In America the style was explored extensively in silent movies starring such as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy. Slapstick is also common in animated cartoons, for example about Daffy Duck.

Charlie Chaplin came out of the tradition of the British music hall, and developed his tramp character and costumed that character with baggy pants and oversized shoes not unlike the circus clown costume. Chaplin also "was consciously modeling himself on the American tramp".

In recent times, slapstick continues, and has been used by for example Jerry Lewis who said, "The premise of all comedy is a man in trouble", and also Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, and Rowan Atkinson, among others.

Alternatively

We could try to cultivate more common sense. To get really handly and meticulous can be half of the battle.

The nix in the brook and near the mill is a fabulous artist. However, some who get taught by a nix may find that their deft, practical knowledge is met with opposition, laughter and derision in many tight quarters. To be self-taught is not always easy, if the worth and fame allotted fails, and the self-taught one fails to get independent enough on his or her own.

If you get informal instructions or very good practical skills as an artist - whatever - your future may suggest that the Law of Jante is alive today too.

The moment you're in a sort of danger in some way or other, you may prefer ridicule and irony instead of helping offenders - such well faceted clowning, although to be a clown is hardly the best. Granted that good clowning is hardly enough, you may do better if you refrain from clowning and casting pearls swine. You have to judge things like that and go for the best on your own behalf among what are likely to be good outlets to get proficient in.


Slapstick and anecdotes, Literature  

Dale, Alan S. Comedy Is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick in American Movies. Ill reprint ed. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

Palmer, Jerry. Taking Humour Seriously. London: Routledge / Taylor and Francis, 2004.

Trahair, Lisa. The Comedy of Philosophy: Sense and Nonsense in Early Cinematic Slapstick. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007.

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