chapter  2
Slapstick Comedy
Pages 16

Slapstick comedy, with its chases, pratfalls, and pies in the face, reminds one of the common denominator of human beings. Although made in the image of God, both male and female, we are made from earth, from the humus that gives rise to humor and humanity and humility. Slapstick comedy offers broad physical mayhem, boisterous pranks, and exaggerated farce, mostly derived from commedia dell'arte. It involves a bit of clownish violence of slipping or tripping or colliding. Harking back at least to the commedia dell'arte, slapstick devices create maximum noise with minimal striking force: "Two slats of wood are hinged at one end so that when its trajectory is halted on or near the victim's body, the back slat strikes the front slat, creating a loud smacking sound. Comedy is produced whenever a man acts like a machine, French philosopher Henri Bergson noted. Chaplin's relationship to religion was complex and ambiguous.