ABSTRACT

Comic texts often present a skewed world of 'improbable fiction' in which the mechanisms of superiority, incongruity and release are at the forefront of the play. Western comic text's foundations were laid in the structure and archetypal characterisations evident in the work of classical Greek and Roman comic authors and, particularly, in the 'new comedy' formulae of Plautus and Terence. While non-comic theatre forms might be seen to emanate more directly from the dramatic unities and conventions found in Aristotle's theories, models of comic text reveal such constituent elements as 'plot', 'lexis' and the rhythmic 'melos' which are 'found in all comedies'. Drunken comedy is a keystone of the British tradition. The comic drunk acts of, say, Frank Randle, Freddie Frinton or Dickie Henderson follow a tradition that can be traced back throughout the history of United Kingdom (UK) comedy. The Restoration comedy that followed the Elizabethan period similarly demanded interplay between the comic performer and the spectators.