Thursday, March 26, 2009

Comedy Teams (3/22/06)

If two heads are better than one, it follows that two people are funnier than one. The dynamics of a comedy team may seem simple: One person is the straight man, the other is the comedian. However, when a double act morphs into a triple, quadruple, or even a sextuple act, the variations become far more complicated. Vaudeville was a breeding ground for comedy teams. Such notables as Gallagher and Shean, Weber and Fields, Burns and Allen, and The Four Marx Brothers toured the country learning their craft, but comedy teams can form almost anywhere: burlesque houses, nightclubs, and even universities. Some groups have even taken the "team" concept to extremes, whether in such improv groups as The Second City or The Upright Citizens Brigade, or by actually competing against other teams in order to answer the age-old question of who's first. Of course, if you want to see the biggest bunch of comedians of all, there's only one place to look.

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