Stand-up comedy

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An act of stand-up comedy is a comic performance in front of an audience that is addressed straight from stage. A comic, comedian, or just a stand-up performer are all terms used to describe the performer.

Stand-up as a western art form has its origins in the traditions of vaudeville, burlesque, and English music hall that flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Stand-up comedy as a term was first recorded in 1911 in The Stage, which described a Miss Nellie Perrier performing "'stand up' comic ditties in a chic and charming manner." The term was used to describe a performance of comedy songs rather than true stand-up comedy in true terms, rather than a performance of comedy songs.

On the 10th of November 1917, the "Stage Gossip" feature in the Yorkshire Evening Post recounted the career of Finlay Dunn, a stage actor. According to the report, Dunn performed "as what he refers to as a stand-up comedian." As opposed to the 1911 review of Nellie Perrier, this usage is more convincing because, despite performing as a comedy piano act for the majority of his career, one of his favourite strands included joking about his large physical size, which was described as "good buffoonery in evening dress, with no accessories whatever," although the story was published in 1917, it refers to an earlier phase of his career. Dunn may have performed as a stand-up comedian in the late nineteenth century or the twentieth century, depending on the source. It is also likely that Dunn used the word retroactively while reminiscing about his previous life; however, it is not known when his stand-up act was first performed on stage.