The Great Variety Shows

By Grayson Bain and Rick Chakraborty

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Vaudeville was a type of variety show consisting of many different individual act. These acts could include literary recitations, juggling, magic, short plays, stand up comedy, songs and dance, to name a few.


Vaudeville was a style of entertainment that consisted of variety shows. Back in the day, people went to the theater for entertainment. One type of entertainment popular among citizens was the variety show. Initially, they would watch things like minstrel shows, freak shows, concert saloons, and burlesques.

(not ONE of which was offensive in any way)

Vaudeville was essentially the brilliant idea of combining all these shows into a beautiful mess of one, and it basically brought the end to most of the shows that inspired vaudeville in the first place.

Interesting facts

Vaudeville led to the careers of Al Jolson, W. C. Fields, Mae West, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Edgar Bergen, Fanny Brice, Burns and Allen, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny,Abbott and Costello, Kate Smith, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, Rose Marie, Sammy Davis, Jr., Red Skelton, and The Three Stooges.

Vaudeville unlike the predecessors which ranged from risqué(burlesque) to unsettling(freak show) to downright horrifying(minstrel shows), vaudeville was actually more safe and (occasionally) child-friendly but never truly G rated.( however, it was still much less terrifyingly racist)

In the UK, vaudeville was used to refer to burlesque.


Vaudeville was essentially the predecessor to the modern variety show, with its unique blend of music and comedy, it set the precedent to shows like Saturday Night Live.

It also was a major influence in the slapstick scene as many of the famous stars of that era were originally performers in vaudeville.

vaudeville was absorbed into the mediums that replaced it for entertainment

(radio, movies) and many of the shows and programs in either were directly influenced by the vaudeville era.