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I'm not a professional philologist, but it seems possible that
comedienne/comedian may have some distant roots in the division of opera
into *Opera buffa* (commedia per musica) and *Opera seria* (dramma per
musica). Though it did not, to my knowledge, get much, if any, use in the
78 era, there was also the term tragedian/tragedienne, which was used for
writers of tragedies or those performing in them. Even more to the point,
think of the plays in ancient Greece. If everyone didn't end up dead, it
was a comedy (not necessarily ha-ha comedy. Did the Greeks have a word for
it (that is, those acting)? I do not know.

Peter Hirsch

(still wondering why I never seem to get any postings on ARSCLIST until
someone else has responded to it - can anyone explain?)

On Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 2:51 PM Ron Roscoe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Quoting:  Similar to “actor” and “actress”.
> Have you noticed that all the actresses want to be called actors now?
Except when it's time for the "Best Actress" award at the Oscars!!!!
>
> Ron
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steve Smolian
> Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2021 1:55 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] What was meant by the use of the words...
>
> 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
> > >
> > --
> > Sent from Gmail Mobile
> >