Physical comedy

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Physical comedy, whether conveyed by a pratfall (landing on the buttocks), a silly face, or the action of walking into walls, is a common and rarely subtle form of comedy. It is a clownish exploitation of movement, the most primordial human medium of expression, which predates language and the introduction of verbal humour[citation needed] such as cultural tradition, erudition and word puns. Often sitcoms will incorporate such movements into the scenes but may not rely on it exclusively to forward the story. Often it will be used as comic relief especially during more serious or intimate scenes.

Buster Keaton, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Lucille Ball, Martin Short, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Ken Berry, Chevy Chase, Dick van Dyke's character Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ensign Charles "Chuck" Parker (Tim Conway) on McHale's Navy, John Ritter's character Jack Tripper on Three's Company, Jim Carrey's titular character in The Mask, Michael Richards's character Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, Dustin Diamond's character Samuel "Screech" Powers on Saved by the Bell, Bernadette Withers' character Ginger Farrell on Bachelor Father, Jim Varney's character Ernest P. Worrell, Chris Farley, Martin Lawrence, Rowan Atkinson's character Mr. Bean, Johnny Lever, Jaleel White's character Steve Urkel on Family Matters, and Benny Hill are all examples of comedians who employ physical comedy as a medium for their characters. 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. Slapstick elements include the trip, the slip, the double take, the collide, the fall (faint) and the roar.

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