The 1900s, the era where entertainment was changing and so was the art of comedy. Being a comedian in the 1900s was no easy feat, it was a profession that demanded resilience, wit, and adaptability.
One of the biggest challenges that comedians in the 1900s faced was navigating the world of vaudeville. This was the pre-television era and vaudeville was the main platform for comedians to showcase their talents.
They had to come up with fresh material for each show and ensure they kept their audience entertained.
With no YouTube or social media, they had to rely solely on their wit and stage presence to make a name for themselves.
Comedians of the 1900s had a lot to work with, from silent films to music-hall comedy.
Charlie Chaplin was one of the greatest silent film comedians of the 1900s, his facial expressions and impeccable timing left audiences in stitches.
Similarly, the Marx Brothers revolutionized music-hall comedy with their wit, puns, and slapstick humor.
The comedic landscape of the 1900s was a male-dominated industry, and female comedians had a difficult time getting the recognition they deserved. Women like Gracie Allen and Lucille Ball challenged this status quo with their innovative comedic performances, proving that humor wasn’t limited to a particular gender.
We can not forget about our very own female music hall artist and comedian, Dorothea Gertrude Willats nee Davies, aka Cora Craven.
Being a comedian in the 1900s meant dealing with a lot of censorship. The Hayes Code, introduced in the early 1900s, made it difficult for comedians to use risqué humor and required them to uphold strict moral values. This made it challenging for comedians who relied on political satire and darker humor to be creative.
Being a comedian in the early 1900s was definitely no laughing matter. This profession was still in its infancy and comedians had to navigate a rapidly changing landscape that was unforgiving and tough.
Hours worked for comedians varied greatly depending on the job they had. Many comedians were touring performers, which meant they would be traveling all over the country to perform. This often meant they had to endure long hours on trains, boats, and buses.
One of the major pros of being a comedian during this time was the opportunity to travel the country and make people laugh. Comedians could earn a living performing in theaters, vaudeville shows, and comedy clubs.
But the job also had its drawbacks, such as struggling to find steady work, dealing with harsh critics, and struggling to make ends meet financially.
The most successful comedians of the time, like Charlie Chaplin (mentioned above) and Buster Keaton, rose to fame by making audiences laugh through their witty, intelligent and inventive performances.
They had to constantly adapt their humor to suit the changing times, while still remaining true to themselves.
Being a comedian in the early 1900s was a tough gig, but those who had a passion for making people laugh and the determination to succeed found a way to make a living doing what they loved.
Comedians just like our very own, Dick Montague, my Great Granduncle, paved the way for future generations.
Their resilience, creativity, and ability to make people laugh in trying times will always be remembered and cherished.
Today’s comedians can learn a lot from the challenges that comedians of the 1900s faced and can appreciate the evolution of comedy as an art form.
You can read all about our very own comedian, Harry Richard Thomas Willats, aka Dick Montague, here, here and here. He gave his life and soul to entertainy, performing from the age of 3, right up until his death in 1965.
Until next time,
Too-da-loo for now.
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2 thoughts on “The 1900’s Comedian.”
Excellent reading sweatheart x
Thank you ♥️