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Because that was how they were billed in the music halls - so the same (stereotyped) tags or labels were used by record companies. These people were famous in “Genre X” and labeled themselves as such to increase the likelihood of success elsewhere, on new media, etc. 

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> On Jan 28, 2021, at 11:31 AM, Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> As I recall, Miss Patricola  was similarly identified.  Rob, who else prompted this question?
> 
> Steve
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[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
>>> 
>> --
>> Sent from Gmail Mobile
>>