Physical comedy is a form of comedy focused on manipulation of the body for a humorous effect. It can include slapstick, clowning, mime, physical stunts, or making funny faces.
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.
Slapstick elements include the trip, the slip, the double take, the collide, the fall (or faint), and the roar.[clarification needed]
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 Mark Twins, Keystone Kops Laurel and Hardy Abbott and Costello Marx Brothers ,The Three Stooges
In sitcoms, the use of physical comedy was seen in, for example,
- 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
- Dick van Dyke's character Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show,
- Martin Lawrence’s character Martin Payne on Martin
- Larry Hagman's character Major Anthony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie,
- John Ritter's character Jack Tripper on Three's Company,
- The two main characters of Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot on Perfect Strangers,
- Michael Richards's character Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld,
- Penny Marshall's character Laverne DeFazio and Cindy Williams' character Shirley Feeney on Laverne & Shirley,
- Jennifer Saunders' character Edina Monsoon and Joanna Lumley's character Patsy Stone on Absolutely Fabulous,
- Nicholas Lyndhurst's character Rodney Trotter on Only Fools and Horses,
- Neil Morrissey's character Tony on Men Behaving Badly,
- Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel Green on Friends,
- Rowan Atkinson's character Mr. Bean,
- Jaleel White's character Steve Urkel on Family Matters
- Rik Mayall's and Adrian Edmondson's characters Richard Richard and Eddie Hitler on Bottom.
Jim Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell's characters Jim and Andy on According to Jim.
- ^ "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.