Just You and The Audience: a brief history of stand-up comedy

August 22, 2016

They say that the hardest job on the planet is being a stand-up comic. It’s just you and audience for an hour or more, and you’ve got to be funny the whole time. Without support from the audience your act is done. Luckily, Pop! Events is connected to the funniest comedy shows in the local area to brighten up your next upcoming event.

 

With the internet and instant access to television and other media, we sometimes take just how many great comedians there are these days for granted. The history of this profession is long and storied, stretching back with ancient roots. Let’s look at a brief history of stand-up comedy.

 

Ancient roots

 

Comedy is an ancient form of drama. The Ancient Greeks referred to something as a comedy if it were a drama with a happy ending, as opposed to a tragedy. The fact that the happy ending put smiles on people’s faces and made them laugh as a sigh of relief eventually translated into stories that provided something lighter in tone that evoked laughter. This is where our modern conception of comedy comes from. Although comedy became popular in the theatres of the ancient world, it didn’t reach the real mainstream until much later.

 

The rise of comics before television

 

Increasing numbers of people in cities due to industrialization lead to more and more diverse entertainment options. This lead to a rise in comedy being offered as entertainment. The places where it really saw a rise in popularity were in Great Britain at the nation’s famous music halls, and throughout North America in music halls, vaudeville acts, and early variety shows. A distinctive moment was when audiences began to seek out these shows as an escape from the hardships of daily life in the early industrial cities. This raised the bar for comedy’s standards and content in the modern era.

 

The modern era

The rise in popularity of comedy shows in bars, clubs, and other venues is something that became financially viable in the modern era. It wasn’t until the 1960’s, that social satire became incredibly popular in comedy, paving the way for acts like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and Woody Allen. The genre was forever transformed by mass media. Television, movies, and eventually the internet have changed the way that we view comedy as a whole Today’s comedians are edgier than ever, as a reaction to the explosion of competition.

 

Pop! Events loves to make people laugh, and we also love loving ourselves too. That’s why we offer some of the area’s funniest comics as entertainment at your next Toronto Event. Want to spend a night overcome with gut-wrenching laughter? Just let us know you’re looking for some cutting edge entertainment and we’ll make it happen.