Shakespeare LOL

Want more? Browse our full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. Listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, and NPR One.

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 7

"I was born to speak all mirth and no matter."
Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.323)

Let's face it: Modern audiences sometimes go from roaring with laughter to scratching their heads when it comes to enjoying Shakespeare's jokes four hundred years later. How (and why) has "what's funny" changed over the years—and what's still a guaranteed belly laugh?

Theater artists and scholars, along with narrator Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, take an amusing, sometimes surprising, look at things that were funny in Shakespeare's time, but not so much now—as well as gems of Shakespearean comedy that still sparkle today.

Among those featured in this podcast episode:

  • Michael Green is the author of The Art of Coarse Acting.
  • Robert Hornback is associate professor of English, comparative literatures, and theatre and chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literatures at Oglethorpe University.
  • Austin Tichenor is a writer, performer, and managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. He also produces and hosts the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast.
  • Adam Zucker is an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of The Places of Wit in Early Modern English Comedy.

Listen in iTunes

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © July 30, 2014. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.

Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul, an author and documentary producer who is also a long-time member of Washington's own Capitol Steps singing comedy troupe. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.

We had help gathering material for this podcast from Esther French.

We also had help from Candice Ludlow, Jane Degenhardt, Ian Briggs, and Andrea Bath.

Original music composed and arranged by Lenny Williams.

Previous: Shakespeare in Translation | Next: Why Shakespeare's Stories Still Resonate

Want more? Browse our full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. Listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, and NPR One.