By Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

Originally presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Blake Robison Artistic Director, Buzz Ward General Manager)

The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) answers the fundamental questions:

  • Which is the least funny nationality? Which is the funniest? Why did the former try to exterminate the latter?
  • How do critics describe everything in a way to make it sound unfunny? (“First of all, the premise is weak. No one would ever believe that a baseball team would actually have a first baseman named “Who.”)
  • Why, in fact, did the chicken cross the road?

Tickets to The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) are far more affordable than tickets to an amusement park, but you’ll come away with the same feeling of nausea and motion sickness. From cavemen telling “Rock Rock” jokes to Will Smith upset at Chris Rock’s jokes and everything in-between, the bad boys of abridgement leave no joke untold as they deconstruct the entire history of comedy in 90 rollicking minutes.

They’ve skewered history, the Bible and the world’s most celebrated playwright. Now, the Reduced Shakespeare Company tackles the subject it was born to reduce. From the high-brow to the low, The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) covers comedy through the ages, from Aristophanes and Shakespeare and Moliere (Is Moliere funny? Why not?) to Vaudeville and Charlie Chaplin to The Daily Show and Anthony Weiner.

WARNING! Side-effects may include uncontrollable milking and painful running gags.

“Critic’s Pick! Fast and furious…fresh and funny…a great piece of political satire.” 

Cincinnati City Beat

“I don’t want to get too philosophical here. Just know that you’ll laugh. Not at everything, mind you. Some of the material may make you uncomfortable. It’s supposed to. Mostly, though, you will laugh. Really hard. And smile so hard that – yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s true – your cheeks will hurt. When was the last time you went to the theater and had that sensation?”

Cincinnati Enquirer

“Easily one of the troupe’s funniest, most inspired shows in years!”  

Pacific Sun

“It’s a show about wit. About quick minds. About what makes us laugh. And what’s fair game for laughter.” 

Cincinnati Enquirer

“Spectacular! (A) terrific rapid-fire, laugh-out-loud performance!  A laugh-riot!”   

Nashua Telegraph

“These guys are truly adept jokesters, physical shtick, wordplay, music, improv — they can do it all.” 

Cincinnati City Beat

“The Bad Boys of Abridgment are back and better than ever! A non-stop, two-hour laugh fest!”   

Lowell Sun

“A wild, wild ride! It’s funny. Really, really funny…And most of all, it’s really, really smart.” 

Cincinnati Enquirer

“A dizzying night’s entertainment…the work of some serious minds exploring the art of comedy.” 

Cincinnati City Beat

“You knew they’d get this one right. “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” — is a madcap, breakneck-speed two hours. Audacious, often outrageous and bawdy, the frantic pacing of “Comedy” reminds you of an old-time burlesque or vaudeville revue.”  

Boston Stages

“The Reduced Shakespeare Company are exhaustingly hilarious. And the scope of their humor knows no bounds.” 

Cincinnati Enquirer

“My cheeks still hurt from laughing so much. Way too funny.” 

Napa Valley Register

“The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) is a master class in the art form. 

Broadway World

“Wonderful, whimsical. The wit, verve and creativity they manage to squeeze into (the show) are a winning formula that is anything but formulaic.” 

Fairfield Daily Republic

“It’s always laugh out-loud funny.” 

Napa Valley Register
Read the full Cincinnati Enquirer review here
Read the full Cincinnati City Beat review here

CONTENT ADVISORY: In the spirit of Shakespeare’s comedies, RSC shows contain comic depictions of violence, mild innuendo, bawdy language, and the occasional rude word. All children (and parents) are different, so we’ve chosen to rate our shows PG-13: Pretty Good If You’re Thirteen.

Complete History of Comedy (abridged)

Upcoming Tour Dates

We look forward to announcing more performance dates soon.