I've wondered the same. Perhaps "Lighthearted?" Nora Bayes is a good example of that kind of performer. I don't have her records in front of me to see if "comedienne" was used but I suspect the word reflects an undrearry approach.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Rob Bamberger
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2021 1:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] What was meant by the use of the words...
I must not have been clear in my initial posting. I do understand the gender distinction. The question is why those terms were used to describe performers who were not comics, per se.
On Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 1:40 PM Roy Baugher <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I think “comedian” is/was used as a male variant of the word, and
> “comedienne” is/was used as the female variant of the word.
> Similar to “actor” and “actress”.
> Etymologists would know better about this subject than me.
> Roy Baugher
> On Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 1:13 PM Rob Bamberger <[log in to unmask]>
> > "Comedian" and "Comedienne" as artist designations on record labels
> > into the 1920s? It's a use of these words in a broader context than
> > the conventional sense. Was it meant simply to identify someone as a
> > rather than classical or "serious" artist? Is it meant to be
> > associated with performers who might be seen in vaudeville or
> > theater who had acts that combined some comic patter or exchange, followed by song (or dance).
> > Is there a precise intention that has been written about, or
> > discovered
> > primary materials?
> > Thanks for your comments.
> > Rob
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