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Slapstick (from the English slapstick comedy [ ˈslæpstɪkˌkɒmədi ]) is a film genre and a special form of film comedy . Characteristic for slapstick are body-related, wordless, visual forms of comedy ( sight gags ) in contrast to dialog jokes and situation comedy in screwball comedy and romantic comedy or playing with genre elements such as in the film parody .

Slapstick already emerged in the early cinema of attractions and has been one of the most important genres of comedy since the silent film era . Standard situations such as brawls, chases, cake battles and explosions can sometimes degenerate into destruction, which gives the physical comedy anarchic features.


The term slapstick derives from the bed of fools ago that generates large noise, but the defeated inflicting any serious pain. The slapstick is thus in a tradition that is ultimately derived from the Commedia dell'arte .

Typical slapstick comedies

Slapstick played mainly in the silent movie time a major role with actors such as Charlie Chaplin , Buster Keaton , Harold Lloyd , the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy or Karl Valentin . Later representatives include slapstick greats such as Jacques Tati , Jerry Lewis , Peter Sellers and Louis de Funes . Also, Leslie Nielsen and Rowan Atkinson are known for an appropriate role selection. Typical slapstick comedies include:

See also


  • Kristine Brunovska Karnick and Henry Jenkins: Classical Hollywood Comedy . New York / London 1995
  • Alan Dale: Comedy is a Man in Trouble. Slapstick in American Movies. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis MN et al. 2000, ISBN 0-8166-3658-3 . asd
  • Dirk Gerbode: Comedy and depictions of violence. Distancing and dissonant offers of meanings and feelings in film texts . University library, Potsdam-Babelsberg 2004 ( - Potsdam, University of Film and Television Konrad Wolf, diploma thesis, 2004).
  • Lisa Gotto: Comedy. Film genre analysis. An introduction. Berlin / Boston 2013, pp. 67–85.
  • Gerald Mast: The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies . University of Chicago Press. Chicago 1979.
  • Glenn Mitchell: AZ of Silent Film Comedy: An Illustrated Companion. London 1998.
  • Tom Paulus and Rob King: Slapstick Comedy. New York 2010.
  • Sönke Roterberg: Philosophical Film Theory. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8260-3763-4 .
  • Lisa Trahair: The Comedy of Philosophy. Sense and Nonsense in Early Cinematic Slapstick. State University of New York Press, Albany NY 2007, ISBN 978-0-7914-7247-7 .
  • Sonja Ilonka Wagner: Comedy Lexicon. Lexikon Imprint Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-200-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Slapstick  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Noël Carroll: Notes on the Sight Gag . In: Andrew Horton (ed.): Comedy / Cinema / Theory . University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles / Oxford 1991, p. 25 - 42 .
  2. a b Slapstick - Lexicon of film terms. Retrieved December 1, 2017 .
  3. Liz-Anne Bawden (ed.): Buchers Enzyklopädie des Films. Volume 2 (1983)