A Conversation for The Seven Tenets of Comedy and their Application Today

Alternate "Slapstick" history

Post 1


You say that the slap stick was a stick used to make an off-stage sound effect. I've run across this before, and won't dispute it, but I've also been taught an alternate explanation for the name.

According to my Theater History professor, the name of the slapstick may also have come from a stick used ON stage by the harlequin character in Italy's Comedia del'Arte to actually slap other characters. The stick was set up as two sticks connected at one end by a hinge and mounted on a handle, so when swung the two sticks would fly apart and then slap back together, making what was undoubtedly an incredibly hilarious sound.

Alternate "Slapstick" history

Post 2

Steve K.

My wife & I are fans of percussion ensembles, who use a wide variety of "instruments" (e.g. chains dropped on a wooden box). The "slapstick" is definitely a part of the repertoire:


Alternate "Slapstick" history

Post 3


Hi LectureDitch,

I had heard the same thing when I was doing a course in Theatre History.

Alternate "Slapstick" history

Post 4

Mu Beta

The slapstick (one item - two sticks) has been used in the theatre both on and off stage - Shakespearian playwrights were very fond of its use. Other uses, as you say, are in the Comedia del'Arte, and even Japanese Nobu.

However, you cannot expect me for one minute to believe that the Japanese or Italians called it a 'slapstick', so I'll stick to the British definition, thankyou.smiley - tongueout


Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more