Stand-up tragedy

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Stand-up tragedy is a style of tragic performance where a performer performs in front of a live audience, speaking directly to them. The goal of Stand-up tragedy is to make the audience members cry.[1]


Stand-up tragedy performances are usually long and employ the use of various media such as video, audio, highly emotional monologues and rants where the performer recites a fast-paced succession of tragic and disturbing stories. Stand-up tragedy is often performed in bars, nightclubs, private homes, art museums, galleries and universities.[2]


The origin of the term Stand up tragedy is unknown.[citation needed] The comedian Brother Theodore (1906–2001) used the term to describe his comedic act which was dark, and had an absurdist edge.[3] The Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021) often referred to himself as a "stand-up tragedian", [4] and performance artist Bryan Lewis Saunders uses it to describe his own act in a more literal sense of the term.[5]


  1. ^ Thacker, Johnathan. "Bryan Lewis Saunders Offers Original Material to the Area." East Tennessean 14 May 2010. Print.
  2. ^ Mueller, Jon. "Interview: Bryan Lewis Saunders." Rhythmplex April 2009. Web. 26 April 2009. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Theodore Gottlieb, Dark Comic, Dies at 96." The New York Times. 6 April 2001. Print.
  4. ^ W W Norton & Co Inc. Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. "Far Rockaway of the Heart." New Directions Publishing Corporation, Sept. 1998. Print. ISBN 0-8112-1398-6
  5. ^ Pratt, Geoff & Gorman, Ty. "The Tragic Liberation of Bryan Lewis Saunders." Vision [Johnson City, TN] 15 November 2007: 4. Print.