Lazzi  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Lazzi (from the Italian lazzo, a joke or witticism) is a piece of well-rehearsed comic action commonly used in the Commedia dell'arte. Most English-speaking troupes use the Italian plural "lazzi" as the singular and "lazzis" for the plural.

During improvised performances a lazzi may be used to fill time or to ensure a certain frequency of laughs in a show. For practical purposes a lazzi may be any bit of business that may be easily recalled and performed in another situation, somewhat like a catch phrase. In any given troupe, the senior player could have well over one hundred lazzi at his/her disposal. The performer would not only have these well rehearsed but would also pass them on to future generations within the troupe. As soon as a lazzi is initiated by one player, all of the other players must fall in, thus performing a lazzi requires every member of the troupe to know the routine as well as great teamwork. In Commedia dell' Arte, the Harlequin or Zanni would most likely have these lazzi at their disposal.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lazzi" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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