[Ads-l] Quotation: Any fool can play tragedy, but comedy is serious business

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 17 13:37:21 UTC 2020

The saying in the subject line has been attributed to
eighteenth-century English actor David Garrick. The second part is
sometimes called a show business adage. Here are three versions:

Comedy is a serious business.
Comedy is a serious matter.
Comedy is a serious thing.

The Quote Investigator website now has an article on this topic titled:
You May Humbug the Town for Some Time Longer as a Tragedian; But
Comedy Is a Serious Thing

In 1834 the expression immediately above was attributed to  David Garrick.

In 1775 the dramatist and essayist George Colman said, "To write a
Comedy is a serious matter".

In 1938 Garrick received credit for "Any fool can play tragedy, but
comedy is serious business".

Barry Popik has a pertinent webpage with citations beginning in 1894.

Nigel Rees has a pertinent entry in "Cassell's Humorous Quotations"
(2001) with citations beginning in 1906.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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