Double act essay.doc - Double act A double act(also known...

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Double act A double act (also known as a comedy duo) is a form of comedy originating in the British music hall tradition[1], and American vaudeville, in which two comedians perform together as a single act. Pairings are typically long-term, in some cases for the artists' entire careers.[2] Double acts perform on the stage, television and film. The format is particularly popular in the United Kingdom where successful acts have included Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies[3] but the tradition is also present in the United States with acts like Abbott and Costello and Gallagher and Shean. Laurel and Hardy was a British-American comedy double act that has been described as the most popular in the world[4]. ====Format==== Humor is often derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession but drastically different in terms of personality or behavior. One member of the duo — the "straight man", "feed", "dead wood", or stooge — is often portrayed as reasonable and serious, while the other one — the funny man, "banana man" or comic — is portrayed as funny, less educated or less intelligent, silly, or unorthodox.[citation needed] When the audience identifies primarily with one character, the other is often referred to as a comic foil. The term "feed" comes from the way a straight man sets up jokes and then "feeds" them to his partner.[citation needed] Despite the names often given to the roles, the straight man is not always humorless, nor is it always the comic who provides the act's humor. Sometimes the straight man gets laughs through sarcastic reactions to the comic's antics, such as Stewart Lee's deadpan, reasoned reactions to Richard Herring's ridiculous antics in their pairing. When the straight man serves no specific comic purpose, but acts as a device to make the comic look good, he is known as a stooge. Sometimes considered a derogatory term, "stooge" began to fall out of use by the 1930s with The Three Stooges. Most often, however, the humor in a double act comes from the way the two personalities play off each other, rather than from the individual players. In many successful acts the roles are interchangeable. ====History==== The model for the modern double act began in the British music halls and the American vaudeville scene of the late nineteenth century. Here, the straight man was needed to repeat the lines of the comic because audiences were noisy. A dynamic soon developed in which the straight man was a more integral part of the act, setting up jokes for the comic to deliver a punch line. Popular draws included acts like George Burns and Gracie Allen (who initially operated with Burns as the comic but quickly switched roles when Gracie's greater appeal was recognized), Abbott and Costello, Flanagan and Allen, Gallagher and Shean, and Smith and Dale.
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The dynamic continued to evolve, with Abbott and Costello using a modern and recognizable formula in routines such as Who's On First? in the 1930s and Flanagan and Allen using "cross talking".
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  • Fall '18
  • david beach
  • Double act, Eric Morecambe

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