As the preceding chapters have shown, Slapstick has a long established performance history across a range of periods and locations. This multiplicity of ways in which we may encounter slapstick suggests that it becomes embedded in our psyches from an early age. As children, we laugh instinctively at Tom and Jerry, an animated example of nature red in tooth and claw which has no moral context but whose premise is a battle for survival. Such a broad range of slapstick is performed on children’s television — from the Chuckle Brothers to a whole range of animation — that we become accustomed whilst very young to laughing at trips, falls and hits of all kinds. Once this pattern of behaviour has been learnt or at the very least rehearsed we are likely to continue to laugh at slapstick as we grow older. Unlike many of the simple things that make us laugh as children and that are left behind as we reach adulthood, slapstick retains its appeal and is a form of entertainment that is equally accessible to all ages. As adults, watching slapstick may remind us of our childhood so that the adult reception of slapstick is tinged with nostalgia; in watching it we laugh in the moment but also remember the laughter of our younger selves. That our response to slapstick begins so young might encourage us to believe that slapstick is a simple form both in performance and reception.
KeywordsDomestic Violence Performance Frame Preceding Chapter Moral Context Skilled Performer
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