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Bouffon (English originally from French: "farceur", "comique", "Donovan", "jester") is a modern French theater term that was re-coined in the early 1960s by Jacques Lecoq at his L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris to describe a specific style of performance work that has a main focus in the art of mockery.[1] The word gave rise to the English word buffoon.[citation needed]

Etymology and early history[edit]

The word bouffon comes from a Latin verb: Latin: buffare, to puff (i.e., to fill the cheeks with air); the word "Buffo" was used in the Theatre of ancient Rome by those who appeared on the stage with their cheeks blown up; when they received blows that they would make a great noise causing the audience to laugh.[2] The usage of the word bouffon comes from French and has entered English theatrical language through the work of Jacques Lecoq and his pedagogic inquiry into performance approaches of comedy, leading him to create dynamic classroom exercises that explored elements of burlesque, commedia dell'arte, farce, gallows humor, parody, satire, slapstick, etc. that collectively influenced the development of modern bouffon performance work.[citation needed]

Philippe Gaulier a contemporary of LeCoq explains bouffon in his book The Tormentor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ramanathan, Lavanya (1 June 2011). "Clowning with the audience". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ p.780 Encyclopædia Britannica; or A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, Volume 4 Archibald Constable and Company, 1823