Part One

What makes you laugh?

  • People acting stupid
  • Serious vs Stupid
  • Mistakes
  • Falling over
  • Language/ Jokes

What makes us laugh is also the way the actors act because if it is funny then it will make us laugh.

Comedy definition

Cringe comedy: It uses inappropriate actions or words to describe the humor; usually popular in television shows and film, but occasionally in stand-up as well.

Prop comedy: Relies on ridiculous props, casual jackets or everyday objects used in humorous ways.

Character comedy: Derives humor from a person invented by a performer; often from sterotypes.

Part two

What is commedia dell' Arte?

Commedia dell' Arte an improvised kind of popular comedy in Italian theatres in the 16th–18th centuries, based on stock characters. Actors adapted their comic dialogue and action according to a few basic plots (commonly love intrigues) and to topical issues

Where did it originate?

Commedia dell'arte is a form of theatre characterized by masked "types" which began in Italy in the 16th century and was responsible for the advent of the actresses and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios.

Where was it performed?

Commedia dell'arte translates as “comedy of skills”: an improvisational style of theater which began in sixteenth-century Italy and flourished in Europe for 200 years. Traveling companies of professional actors performed outdoors in public squares, using simple backdrops and props.

How did the actors perform?

The actors would have to perform really well because it took a lot of improvisation and the performers played on outside, temporary stages, and relied on various props in place of extensive scenery key to the success of the Commedia was the ability of the performers to travel to achieve fame and financial success. The most successful troupes performed before kings and nobility allowing individual actors.

What makes Commedia dell' Arte so funny?

It's funny because of the way that they act which is funny so it will make us laugh and the way that they organise every thing to make it fit in with the act by using props and all.

4 Stock Characters

Pantalone - Top of pecking order. Money. Controls finance in the character world of Commedia is therefore his orders are usually obeyed. Employer, Father, Godfather.

Colombina- The Maid of one of the Old Men or the wife of Arlecchino.

Arlechinno- Servant, usually to Pantalone, but also frequently Il’Capitano, or Il’ Dottore. Second zanni if Brighella or Pasquariello are in the company, otherwise first. The later the piece, the more major the role: he has a minor function in Flaminio Scala’s collection of scenarios, Il teatro delle favole rappresentative (1611), but is a central figure in Goldoni’s Commedia-based plays written in the first half of the eighteenth century.

Isabella- Prima donna, Inamorata. Usually Pantalone’s daughter.


It's a joke or witticism is an improvised comic dialogue or action commonly used in the Commedia dell'arte.


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By: Jessica Vu