Thursday, July 16, 2009

17th Century Comedians

It’s Theme Thursday again and it’s STAGE. I’ve got a post for today and it doesn’t specifically focus on “stage” but it does weave it in so I’ll run with it..

I think it would have been tough to be a comedian back in the 17th century. You’re only opportunity was on a stage. You could work for the local king but you’d better be consistently funny. “Boy…his last standup routine was so funny. Too bad about this one! Off with his head.”

And even if you were funny; try going global! First of all, there weren’t any TVs, records, CDs, radio or internets back then. Heck, most places you’d be lucky to even find a stage!

Now if you were good, you’d have to be happy with just being a local celebrity or you’d have to travel and settle with this:

Villager One: “Who in the hell is that?”

Villager Two: “He says that apparently down in York he is quite funny.”

Villager One: “Where in the hell is York?”

Yes, it would have been rough trying to become a comedy celebrity when going on a world tour might take you 15 years! “Hey, you liked my show? Come back when I’m in town again next decade. I hope to have some new material by then too.”

Of course you would have run the risk of your brand of humor not being funny in different locales. It’s probably not wise to do Napoleon short jokes when in France.

I’m thinking there weren’t a lot of funny situations at all that were globally funny. Sure, you could make fun of the Catholics or the Christians while being burned at the stake. But it’s so hard to do an encore and then sign autographs when you’ve been burned alive.

Yes, most comedians don’t make squat today up on stage but things would have been much tougher back then.

45 comments:

Marianna said...

Hmmmm good point. I guess that is why all the great artists from the past are so famous today...to make up for them not being acknowledged back then :)

xoxo

Baino said...

Yeh but they had weird ass dudes with hats with three pointy bits and bells on the end and nobody complained about all the comedians being the same cos they didn't know that there was another stupid ass dude with a three pointed hat with bells on telling jokes in the next county. . now they were funny . . I am joking.

Hit 40 said...

Are you having a residual acid trip?

Brian Miller said...

oh you could have made fun of the clothes...lots of tight jokes. the plague of course. world domination. it might now have been too bad. smiles.

willow said...

Thanks for the TT giggles.

subtorp77 said...

For some reason, I keep seeing Mel Brooks, ala Komicus, in this set-up...but alas, wrong century! HA! MAkes me wonder how those troubadors actually made any money, back then, wot?

Betsy said...

Oh my!

The Incredible Woody said...

Plague jokes are always good. As are sanitation jokes. Oh yeah, and make fun of the knights - guys dressed up in metal, just what inadequacy were they making up for!

VE said...

marianna - If we remembered them for this long, they must be good, right?

baino - Three pointed hats were all the rage back then! Probably a union requirement of the trade...

hit 40 - A RAT? No, I never have rat on Thursdays...

brian - Ha! Good ones. Yes, I'm sure jokes about the plague would have gone over well...

willow - You're welcome

subtorp77 - I'm sure Mel could have pulled it off...

betsy - Oh, my post? Yeah...but I'm always weird.

incredible woody - Yeah, and the king. Boy, one could rant on the king the entire show...and then get beheaded...

ReformingGeek said...

I don't think it took much back then to get your head chopped off. You HAVE seen Blackadder 2, haven't you?

VE said...

reforminggeek - I haven't even seen blackadder 1! What am I missing?

lifeshighway said...

Blackadder II the only time in his life that Rowan Atkinson was good looking.

VE said...

lifeshighway - Sounds like I need to get out more...I'm definitely missing something here...

Gladys said...

Why is it all I can picture in my head is Monty Python?

Bring out your dead...

Wings said...

All I can think is: And now for something completely different!

hahaha

Great post!

Quirkyloon said...

Aw VE, surely you jester!

Get it court jester, jest?

heh heh?

Your posts always catch me BEFORE the DDP kicks in.

VE said...

gladys - Cause that's about the only funny medieval kind of humor out there. Good stuff, that is

wings - What a great motto to have. I hate that Monty Python thought of it before me...

quirkyloon - Ha! I'm glad your DDP hasn't kicked in...keeps us on the same playing field so-to-speak.

Roy Scribner said...

I'm not sure things have changed so much. Oh sure, we don't show our disdain with beheadings anymore, but I can think of several comedians who are strong candidates for the reintroduction of the practice.

Kurt said...

Come back when I’m in town again next decade, indeed.

VE said...

roy - Ha! True, so true!

kurt - Nice...you pulled out my favorite bit of this post for your "indeed" comment.

Tiggy said...

You would have been all right with fart jokes. Even Shakespeare used them. It's a universal comedy standard.

Gabby said...

Dude, you're funny, but only three laughs funny. I guess your head is safe for now. :)

Happy TT!

Jeff said...

I guess that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "that joke killed!"

btw... stop on over and see who won the contest about your ghost-post.

Ronda Laveen said...

I'm trying to imagine VE as a 17th century comedian. What would his parodies be? Would he have a head or no head? Certainly no picture of the day...maybe an etching.

Dakota Bear said...

The court jester always had to be funny, I wonder what the turnover was in that position.

Elizabeth said...

I wonder how one got into that line of work? Did they come from a long line of jesters in their family? Were their open mic auditions? I think I'd rather be a goat herder.

VE said...

tiggy - You're probably right. I'll bet cavemen that just grunted used them for jokes...

gabby - True...It's hard to break the three laugh barrier...

jeff - Oooh, oohh, I'll be right over

ronda - I'm certain I'd be headless...which might improve my humor!

dakota - I once posted on the profession of jester...well, of course I did!

elizabeth - I think goat herder was probably safer...

Serena said...

They'd probably have had to stick to bawdy humor, which I believe they had quite a taste for back then. And no wonder -- everything else was off limits and would have meant a trip to the rack or the stake. I'll bet a lot of 17th century comedians ended up share cropping. It was an easier living.:)

VE said...

serena - I'd like a nice steak...oh, I guess you mean a different kind.

Maureen said...

I keep thinking about Shrek for some reason:

"Thank you, thank you very much. I'm here 'til Thursday. Try the veal. "

Janna said...

Any king who doesn't love fart jokes shouldn't be allowed to be king.

If you look through history, that was the reason for the majority of peasant uprisings.

The Silver Fox said...

Made me think of George Carlin's "Occupation: Foole," which is not to say that I found it to be derivative.

VE said...

maureen - I guess that means Shrek wasn't a vegan...

janna - So it was all due to farting? I knew there had to be more to farting...

silver fox - Hey...I had that album years ago. I forgot all about it.

Megan said...

When I'm Queen of the World, you can be my Fool. I'll give you plenty umbrella drinks and an entire wing of the castle to yourself.

And you'll only have to wear the tights on alternate Tuesdays.

Deal?

Mrsupole said...

Well this is one job I would not have wanted. But you might have been great in it. Have you looked up your family history to see if you are a decendent from one of them.

God bless.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

At least they could recycle their jokes.

VE said...

megan - You strike a hard bargain! I think the fruity rum drinks might be the persuasion I need...plus I like the job title "Fool"...

mrsupole - I tried looking up my family history...but they're all dead! Hah!

perpetual - And steal them. You could probably walk over to the next county and listen to their comedian and steal it all and nobody would know.

Wow said...

I could see you with your head off in the 17th century.

VE said...

wow - That would make me light headed...

lime said...

the court jester uniform was not too appealing either.

VE said...

lime - True. I'd rather wear the pauper rags...

Jaime said...

it must have been tough for the comedians back then...instead of getting the hook or getting boo'ed off the stage, they probably got put in the stocks or were drawn and quartered or something.

VE said...

jaime - Drawn and quartered isn't that common anymore. It's all CAD now...

subtorp77 said...

VE, I think the British stopped that form of punishment in mid-19th century( drawn & quartered ). I'd rather be beheaded...much, much quicker!

VE said...

subtorp77 - All the really fun punishments are illegal now!