Books

Wayne Federman on The History of Stand-up

Artemus Ward.
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by J. F. Ryder, Cleveland/Harvard Theatre Collection/Wikipedia


Stand-up existed earlier than the time period “stand-up” did. As early because the nineteenth century, folks carried out stand-up-comedy-like routines, however they have been elements of different sorts of exhibits, and nobody thought it was its personal factor — till they did. That, plus comedy’s potential to adapt to new venues, cultural moments, and technology, makes the historical past of stand-up so fascinating.

Wayne Federman — a stand-up, actor, USC professor, and contributor to “The 100 Jokes that Shaped Modern Comedy” — has taken on the duty of laying all of it out in his new guide, appropriately titled The History of Stand-up. The guide begins by discussing Artemus Ward, a stand-up pioneer who really had no thought he was such a factor, and chronicles stand-up’s evolution via vaudeville, nightclubs, Village espresso homes, comedy golf equipment, various venues, and all the best way as much as right now and pandemic Zoom exhibits.

On Vulture’s Good One podcast, Federman talks about The History of Stand-up, a very powerful venues for comedy over time, and the comics who outlined their eras. You can learn an excerpt from the transcript or hearken to the total episode under. Tune in to Good One each Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Good One

A Podcast About Jokes

Around the late mid-1800s, there was one of the extra peculiar kinds of early stand-up — lectures. Lectures turned all the craze.
It was referred to as the lyceum motion. It was like TED Talks. And there was a man named Artemus Ward, who was already well-known from writing humorous issues in newspapers. His actual title, imagine it or not, was Charles Brown. Charlie Brown. And Charlie Brown works for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and has to cover the leisure scene, which implies he’s going to see the minstrel present. Guess what occurs within the center of the minstrel present? The emcee or one of the fellows begins quoting his bits that he wrote. He’s like, Oh, that’s loopy. He’s stealing it. But what’s bizarre, too, is it’s working. My stuff can work onstage. 

So Artemus re-created himself and determined to make enjoyable of these lectures. That’s how that began. There’s extra to the story, however that’s mainly it. But why he’s key to the entire thing is that for 2 weeks within the late ’60s, Samuel Clemens, who was a reporter in Nevada, sees Ward on one of these excursions. Ward is making a lot money it evokes Clemens to later do that unbelievable worldwide tour, when he turned well-known as Mark Twain.

Which is why Twain will get the prize named after him.
Yes, precisely. There’s no Artemus Ward Prize given to Tina Fey.

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