The History of Stand-Up Comedy

Posted on December 11, 2016

The History of Stand-Up Comedy

There's a difference between general comedy and stand-up comedy. As you most likely know, stand-up comedy is when a comedic performs a comedic routine in front of an audience. But, how did this beloved form of comedy become what it is today? Three places and cultures helped shape stand-up comedy, they are; the United Kingdom, the United States, and India. So, continue reading, to learn about the history of stand-up comedy.

United Kingdom

First, we are going to start in the area where the idea of stand-up comedy arose in the late 18th century. Around this time, in the United Kingdom, comedians would perform their routines in music halls. From the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, comedians learned how to create and perfect their stand-up craft. Although stand-up comedy had been around, in the United Kingdom, since the 18th century, it didn't become popular until around the end of World War II.

Once World War II ended, many people, especially those who were members of the Armed Forces, began to take an interest in stand-up comedy. Members of the Armed Forces were intrigued by wartime concert parties, which led them to becoming a professional stand-up comedian. Luckily, the rise of stand-up comedy happened the same time as the rise of television and radio. Thus, there was a consistent demand for new comedic material, instead of theater.

The first American-style stand-up comedy club, the Comedy Store, was founded in 1979. This new comedy club helped develop the alternative stand-up comedy scene, and is the place where many infamous comedians began their careers.

United States

Stand-up comedy began in the United States almost a century after it originated in the United Kingdom. When stand-up comedy arose in the United States, it was popular among people who had an ethnic persona. These people would use popular stereotypes as the basis for their jokes. But, modern American stand-up comedy began with the members of the Chitlin' Circuit. This comedic group introduced the idea of interacting with the audience.

Then, in the 1970s, stand-up comedy began to help performers land their big break in Hollywood. Two comedians that used stand-up as a way to gain attention in Hollywood are Steve Martin and Bill Cosby. Also, starting in the 1970s, different styles of stand-up comedy began to emerge.


The last area that helped shape modern stand-up comedy is India. Stand-up comedy came to India in 1986 when Johnny Lever performed a comedic routine at a charity show. After the charity show's success, he began to tour with musical shows, stage shows, as well as doing other various performances. Shortly after Johnny Lever became successful, Raju Srivastav appeared on the talent show, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Although Srivastav was second runner-up, the show gave him exposure, and he became extremely successful. Other Indian comedians have gained exposure and success from performing at concerts and guest starring on television shows. Also, Indian comedians have mastered the craft of using social media to market and showcase their talent.

4 Comedians from the West Coast

Posted on February 3, 2015

4 Comedians from the West Coast

Everyone knows that many great comedians originate in the East Coast. But, what about the Golden Coast? The Golden Coast, also known as the West Coast is a place that many fantastic comedians call home. So, to give you an idea of some of the comedic powerhouses that originate in the West Coast, we have created a list of four fantastic comedians from the West Coast. .... read more