Physical comedy originated as part of the Commedia dell'arte. It is now sometimes incorporated into sitcoms; for example, in the sitcom Three's Company, actor John Ritter frequently performed pratfalls (landing on the buttocks). Cartoons, particularly film shorts, also commonly depict an exaggerated form of physical comedy (incorporating cartoon physics), such as in Tom and Jerry and Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
Charlie Chaplin started his film career as a physical comedian; although he developed additional means of comic expression, Chaplin's mature works continued to contain elements of slapstick.
Other comedians to employ physical comedy as a medium for their characters include Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, Martin Short, Marilyn Monroe, the Keystone Kops, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges.
In the movies, physical comedy is used by, for example,
- Jacques Tati as Monsieur Hulot,
- Peter Sellers as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series,
- Jackie Chan in many of his Hong Kong action comedy films,
- Zero Mostel's character Max Bialystock in The Producers,
- Bette Midler's, Goldie Hawn's and Diane Keaton's characters in The First Wives Club,
- Arnold Schwarzenegger's and Danny DeVito's characters in Twins,
- Will Ferrell's and John C. Reilly's characters in Step Brothers,
- Zac Efron's and Adam DeVine's characters in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
- Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters Borat Sagdiyev and Brüno Gehard in Borat (and its sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) and Brüno.
In sitcoms, the use of physical comedy was seen in, for example,
- Dick van Dyke's character Rob Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show,
- Lucille Ball's character Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy,
- Martin Lawrence’s character Martin Payne in Martin,
- Larry Hagman's character Major Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie,
- John Ritter's character Jack Tripper in Three's Company,
- The two main characters of Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot in Perfect Strangers,
- Michael Richards's character Cosmo Kramer in Seinfeld,
- Penny Marshall's character Laverne DeFazio and Cindy Williams' character Shirley Feeney in Laverne & Shirley,
- Jennifer Saunders' character Edina Monsoon and Joanna Lumley's character Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous,
- Nicholas Lyndhurst's character Rodney Trotter in Only Fools and Horses,
- Neil Morrissey's character Tony in Men Behaving Badly,
- Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel Green in Friends,
- Rowan Atkinson's character Mr. Bean,
- Jaleel White's character Steve Urkel in Family Matters,
- Rik Mayall's and Adrian Edmondson's characters Richard Richard and Eddie Hitler in Bottom,
- James Corden's character Neil Smith in Gavin & Stacey
- Jim Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell's characters Jim and Andy in According to Jim.
See also edit
- "Get Funny! Tips on Directing Physical Comedy". Videomaker.com. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- "History of Physical Comedy - Roundabout Theatre Company Official Blog". blog.roundabouttheatre.org. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- "What is Physical Comedy? (with pictures)". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- Meyers, Chris (29 February 1996). "Jackie Chan Rumbles in the U.S.A.". The Daily Utah Chronicle. p. 14. Retrieved 18 April 2022 – via Newspapers.com.