Buster Keaton.

Buster Keaton

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Praise of the pratfall: why slapstick can be high art

Any surprise at Buster Keaton's painstaking preparation hints, I think, at a widespread misconception. Namely, that physical comedy - despite having its roots in the 16th-century Commedia dell'arte and being, at its best, the finest and funniest kind of comedy full stop - is somehow inherently inferior to the more obviously "clever" verbal kind; that it is, as the Edinburgh Fringe favourite Adam Riches suggests, someone "just pratting about and being a fool".

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 7th June 2020

When Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel came to Elstree Studios

Borehamwood has been no stranger to the biggest comedy stars of all time and from the 1930s they have all been driven along Shenley Road, the high street, albeit at a faster speed than nowadays.

Paul Welsh, Barnet Borough Times, 9th June 2019

John Cleese 'unexcited' by new TV comedy

Monty Python star John Cleese has said new television comedy pales into insignificance compared with the greats, such as Buster Keaton.

BBC News, 12th October 2014

There's a certain kind of comedy snob who, if you admit to loving slapstick, looks pityingly at you as if you'd said lollipops were your favourite food. But think of the great sitcom moments and they're physical: Del Boy falling through that bar, Basil Fawlty thrashing his car with a branch, David Brent's dance... And that's before you get to the surrealism of, say, Monty Python's fish-slapping. So a big ker-tish on the cymbals to this one-off doc devoted to "the universal language of comedy". DVDs weren't available as we went to press, but we're promised a feast of clips, from Buster Keaton's collapsing house onwards, as well as sage comments from the likes of Vic Reeves, Ben Miller and Gavin & Stacey's Mathew Horne. And a great, clanging frying pan in the face for anyone who says it's childish.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 26th December 2009