When Is Shakespeare Hilarious?

http://ask.metafilter.com/122577/Hilarious-Shakespeare This thread on Metafilter came up back in May, but we missed it the first time around.  If somebody asked you which of Shakespeare’s scenes is the most hilarious, so that it could be acted out as part of a birthday present to a fan, what would you go with? Hard not to pick out the ending of Dream, but then again I tend to study the tragedies more than every last comedy so I don’t know if there’s some gems hiding in, say, Merry Wives of Windsor. The thread shows a wide variety – several votes for Shrew, Much Ado, and even Romeo and Juliet.  Macbeth’s porter shows up, as do the Hamlet gravediggers.  Falstaff doesn’t get as much love as you might hope, but at least one person does stand up for the jolly fat bastard. Having just seen Comedy of Errors this summer I’m glad somebody mentions Dromio’s encounter with his twin’s wife.  That’s surely one that is best acted out. Believe it or not, Pericles, All’s Well and even Henry V are mentioned as well.

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3 thoughts on “When Is Shakespeare Hilarious?

  1. I once saw a production of Twelfth Night with an actor named Cameron Folmar in the role of Sir Andrew. It was, by far, the funniest performance I have ever seen in any play, Shakespeare or otherwise. He got not just the kind of chuckles you usually hear from people who know the jokes and have studied the innuendo, but deep genuine belly laughs from everybody, including those who had been "dragged along' by their Shakespeare geeks (my girlfriend included). What really struck me was that there were young children in the audience (I mean *really* young, maybe 4-5 years old) and they were laughing just as hard as the rest of us. He was a clown of the highest caliber. It was extremely inspiring to see.

  2. Merry Wives is a sunshiney play, especially if the wives and Master Ford are well cast. There are many hilarious scenes – when the two women realize that Falstaff has written them identical mash notes, when Master Ford disguised as Brooks tries to plot with Falstaff, all the scenes when the wives trick Falstaff. It works out the problem of the jealous husband from Othello, and finds a happy ending.

    There are others, but you'd mentioned Wives.

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