A farce is a comedy written for the stage or film which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humour, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances.

Many farces move at a frantic pace toward the climax, in which the initial problem is resolved one way or another, often through a "deus ex machina" twist of the plot. Generally, there is a happy ending. The convention of poetic justice is not always observed: The protagonist may get away with what he or she has been trying to hide at all costs, even if it is a criminal act.

Farce in general is highly tolerant of transgressive behavior, and tends to depict human beings as vain, irrational, venal, infantile, and prone to automatic behavior. In that respect, farce is a natural companion of satire. Farce is, in fact, not merely a genre but a highly flexible dramatic mode that often occurs in combination with other forms, including romantic comedy. Farce is considered a theatre tradition.

As far as ridiculous, far-fetched situations, quick and witty repartee, and broad physical humor are concerned, farce is widely employed in TV sitcoms, in silent film comedy, and in screwball comedy. See also bedroom farce.

Japan has a centuries-old tradition of farce plays called Kyogen. These plays are performed as comic relief during the long, serious Noh plays.

Representative examples: A chronology


* Anonymus: "The Second Shepherds' Play" (14th century)
* Christopher Marlowe: "The Jew of Malta" (ca. 1589)
* William Shakespeare: "The Comedy of Errors" (ca.1592)
* Arthur Wing Pinero: "The Magistrate" (1885)
* Brandon Thomas: "Charley's Aunt" (1892)
* Oscar Wilde: "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1895)
* Ben Travers: "Thark" (1927)
* Noel Coward: "Hay Fever" (1925); "Present Laughter" (1939)
* Philip King: "See How They Run" (1945) "Big Bad Mouse" (1957)
* Joe Orton: "Loot" (1967) "What the Butler Saw" (1969)
* Michael Pertwee: "Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!" (1971)
* Anthony Marriott & Alistair Foot: "No Sex Please, We're British" (1975)
* John Cleese: "Fawlty Towers" (1975)
* John Chapman & Anthony Marriott: "Shut Your Eyes and Think of England" (1977)
* Derek Benfield: "Touch and Go" (1982)
* Michael Frayn: "Noises Off" (1982)
* Nigel Williams: "W.C.P.C." (1982)
* Miles Tredinnick: "Laugh? I Nearly Went To Miami!" (1986)
* Alan Ayckbourn: "A Small Family Business" (1987)
* Miles Tredinnick: "It’s Now Or Never!" (1991)
* Tom Kempinski: "Sex Please, We're Italian!" (1991)
* Ray Cooney: "Funny Money" (1994)
* Steven Moffat: "Coupling" (2001)


* "The Boy and the Blind Man", 13th century, oldest written French farce.
* Molière: "Tartuffe" (1664)
* Labiche: "La Cagnotte" (1864)and other plays.
* Georges Feydeau: "Le Dindon" (1896) (aka "Sauce for the Goose")
* Octave Mirbeau : [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farces_et_moralit%C3%A9s "Farces et moralités"] (1904).
* Georges Feydeau: "A Flea in Her Ear" (1907)
* Marc Camoletti: "Boeing Boeing" (1960) and "Pyjama pour Six" (1985) (aka "Don't Dress for Dinner") [http://www.theatresprives.com/francais/auteurs/biocamoletti.html]
* Jean Poiret: "La Cage aux Folles" (1973)


* Carl Laufs & Wilhelm Jacoby: "Pension Schöller" (1890)
* Franz Arnold & Ernst Bach: "Weekend im Paradies" (1928) [http://www.felix-bloch-erben.de/play.php/nav/kata/iPlayId/1556/fbe/101]
* Miles Tredinnick with Ursula Lyn and Adolf Opel: "...Und Morgen Fliegen Wir Nach Miami" (1987)


* Dario Fo: "Morte accidentale di un anarchico" also known as "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" was first played on December 5, 1970 in Varese, Italy



*Nikolai Gogol "The Government Inspector" (also translated as "The Inspector General")
*Anton Chekhov "A Marriage Proposal"

United States

*"Mighty Like a Moose" (1926)
* Avery Hopwood [http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/MT/98/Spr98/mt19s98.html] & Wilson Collison: "Getting Gertie's Garter" (1927) [http://www.apolloguide.com/mov_fullrev.asp?CID=3077]
* Bringing Up Baby (1938)
* My Favorite Wife (1940)
* Joseph Kesselring: "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1941)
* Preston Sturges: The Palm Beach Story (1942)
* The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)
* Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
* Fancy Pants (1950)
* The Mating Season (1951)
* Monkey Business (1952)
* I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
* Some Like It Hot (1959)
* The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)cite web |url=http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/05/35/charles_b_griffith.html |title=Little Shop of Genres: An interview with Charles B. Griffith |accessdate=2007-10-07 |author=Graham, Aaron W. |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=Senses of Cinema |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=I wrote "Bucket" as a satire, and then "Little Shop" as a farce. Different characters, different names and gags, but it was absolutely scene by scene the same structure. ]
* It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
* The Producers (1968)
* The Ritz (1975)
* Three's Company (TV show) (1977-1984)
* Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore: "Love Sex and the I.R.S." (1979)
* Bosom Buddies (TV show) (1980-1982)
* Tootsie (1982)
* Victor/Victoria (1982)
* (2008)
* Micki And Maude (1984)
* Ken Ludwig: "Lend Me a Tenor" (1986)
* Marblehead Manor (1987)
* Neil Simon: "Rumors" (1988)
* Funny Farm (1988)
* Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
* Weekend at Bernie's series (1989, 1993)
* Noises Off... (1992)
* Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
* Frasier (TV series) (1993-2004)
* Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore: "Confessions of a Dirty Blonde" (1996)
* 3rd Rock From the Sun (TV show) (1996-2001)
* Bowfinger
* Steve Martin: Adaptation of a 1911 Sternheim play "The Underpants" (2002) (Originally titled "Die Hose")
* "The Party's Over" a play by Jay Parker (2007)

Performing teams who have appeared in farces:
* The Marx Brothers
* Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis
* Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant
* Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy
* Bing Crosby & Bob Hope
* The Three Stooges
* Bud Abbott & Lou Costello
* Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau

Actors and actresses who have appeared in farces
* Dan Aykroyd
* Lucille Ball
* John Candy
* Charley Chase
* Chevy Chase
* John Cleese
* Tom Hanks
* Danny Kaye
* Harvey Korman
* Christopher Lloyd
* Bill Murray
* Steve Martin
* Richard Pryor
* John Ritter
* Brian Rix
* Peter Sellers
* Martin Short
* Paxton Whitehead
* Gene Wilder
* Will Ferrell
* Jim Carrey


External links

* [http://us.imdb.com/keyword/farce/?start=1&sort=date IMDB list of film and television farces]
* [http://wc05.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=24:D|||530 Farce] films at Allmovie

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