Gross Comedy and the Origin of Slapstick

I was watching a few of my favorite episodes from Ren and Stimpy on DVD last night and I started thinking about comedy and taste. Commedia dell’Arte is a form of improvisational comedy theater which flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century. It consisted of stock plots, and characters, which were often adapted to fit the local audience. I was reading up on this subject for last Tuesday’s book club, The Innamorati by Midori Snyder.