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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.

Steve

-----Original Message-----
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]>
> wrote:
>
> >  "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
> "popular"
> > 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
> in
> > primary materials?
> >
> > Thanks for your comments.
> >
> > Rob
> >
> --
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>