Funny person

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Figures of folk theater with a fixed characteristic are referred to as funny person , also funny person , funny figure or funny figure .


The funny person is recognizable as a type, but flexible enough to perform in different roles on their part. For example: Harlequin as a sailor, Harlequin as a nobleman, Harlequin as a child. So it is not a theater role , but rather a role subject or a " standing role " as the basis for numerous more concrete characters in a wide variety of actions. In addition to the memorable costume, character traits and a specific movement repertoire belong to a funny person. Particularly popular funny people have been passed on from actor to actor.


With their accentuated stupidity, ignorance of conception, cunning, self-importance, bravery , cowardice, cunning, the funny people developed from late medieval comic figures of mysteries , miracle games and allegories of vice or the fool, for example in the carnival game . They brought metabolic processes and elementary expressions of life onto the stage, such as excessive and improper eating and drinking, flatulence, and sexual matters. Since the 18th century, the positive effect of these vanitas motifs from what was originally despicable to a "healthy" kind of joie de vivre had a modern effect .

The spectrum of funny people in the Commedia dell'arte , such as Arlecchino and Pantalone , has been the most widespread and lasted the longest . In addition, the figure of the pickled herring was widely known on the English traveling stages since the end of the 16th century, there was also the Spanish Gracioso and the French Tabarin .

Funny characters with a “national” characteristic were presumably overemphasized in the history of theater in the 19th and early 20th centuries: There was the Hanswurst (Austria, Salzburg / Vienna), Paprika Jancsi (Hungary), Jean Potage (France), Jack Pudding (England), macaroni (Italy) - they all have an obvious closeness to food. On the other hand, they differ according to their costume, their origin legend and their type comedy.

Under the influence of Johann Christoph Gottsched , who rejected the funny person, the celebratory banishment of the Hanswurst from the stage took place in 1737 in an allegorical play by Friederike Caroline Neuber in Leipzig . The influence on theater practice was, however, small. The comedy of types continued to exist, but in the development of the increasingly literary farce , it dissolves into more individual characters.

18th century

Since the beginning of the 18th century, traveling troops could settle down with the support of the court, such as the theater troupe Teutsche Comoedianten by Joseph Anton Stranitzky , author of numerous main and state actions , who was able to take over the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna , built in 1709 in 1712 . In the city of Vienna , which until the 19th century was the largest city in the German-speaking area and therefore also had a wide range of entertainment, there were a number of funny people in the Old Vienna Volkstheater :

Since the 19th century

When the theater became literary in the 19th century, not least because of the increased censorship since the French Revolution , which did not appreciate improvised jokes, the funny characters shifted to ballet and pantomime . Clown or Pierrot appeared as new inventions in London and Paris . - With the establishment of the Königsstädtisches Theater in 1824, Berlin also had a suitable stage, where Nante , the corner-star, developed.

Funny people who were no longer relevant on the stage often moved to the puppet theater . The best known are Hanswurst and Kasperle.

In US vaudeville and variety theater , the tradition continued beyond 1900. Even Charlie Chaplin did with his timid " Tramp invented" with a mustache, stick, melon and big shoes a fun person. - Even today there are always new funny people in TV series , sometimes women, such as B. Fran Fine and her mother Sylvia in The Nanny series .

See also


  • Peter Csobadi (ed.): The funny person on the stage. Collected lectures of the Salzburg Symposium 1993. Salzburg: Mueller-Speiser 1994. ISBN 385145023X .
  • Eduard Eckhard, The Funny Person in the Older English Drama (until 1642). , Berlin: Mayer & Müller 1902.


  1. Eduard Eckhard, The Funny Person in the Older English Drama . P. 27 ff