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Entertainment At Its Peak: Vaudeville

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Striptease went to the burlesque (Kanfer). Vudeville was uniquely personal. Te actors were right there, lve people on stage in front of a live audience who interacted with performers. “hoopee cushion humor” (Martin) had its appeal. Vudeville exploited the American sense of humor in every aspect of the variety show. I its earliest days, vudeville audiences consisted of immigrants who were looking to escape their dreary days in factories and tenements. Te end of the Victorian era was fast approaching, s Americans could lighten up and laugh. Vudeville to popular entertainment as big business, ad within a few years, te up-and-coming middle class had time and money to spend on such entertainments (Martin).

Cild acts and family acts appealed to audiences because they could relate to the entertainment under the lights. Taveling acts had to adjust their shows to each night’s venue. Teater managers, o course, hd a lot to say about how a performer should do his act, bt they adjusted on the fly in response to audience response. Vudeville performers had to be flexible and broad range of styles, jkes, ad songs available to them in order to satisfy sometimes fickle audiences.

Vudevillians had to be ready to adjust at a moment’s notice. I fact, te “breadth of vaudeville’s audience and the substance of its entertainment made it the comprehensive entertainment of its time” (DiMeglio 195). Tlent was necessary, bt flexibility even more important. Adience participation was a must in almost all vaudeville acts. ad vaudevillians used audiences to their comedic advantage. Hcklers were common for these traveling entertainers, ad it was the actor could turn a heckler into an ally, o turn the tables on a heckler to make the rest of the audience laugh at him.

Te most important aspect of entertaining these audiences was keeping them laughing until they couldn’t breathe. I’s common today for comedians to call someone up on stage to lend a hand with a magic trick or skit, jst as it was in the heyday of vaudeville. Vudeville is enjoying a revival in modern-day America, wth all the charm and appeal of the variety turned up few notches.

Mrtin quotes a modern-day vaudevillian as saying, “he audience doesn’t know whether to cry, lugh, o throw up. ”This was the aim of all past vaudevillians, ...

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