Where does the word “comedy” come from and What does comedy mean?

Comedy among the early Greeks was for men only.

In fact there were but few occasions when women were permitted to attend any of the public festivals or to appear outside of their homes.

But the early comedy, or komodia, derived from komos, revel, and oide, song or ode, was a type of drunken revelry alongside of which the modern burlesque would be rather tame.

The jokes and witticism were of the coarsest nature. Persons of important position were caricatured and lampooned freely.

The utmost license prevailed, and the participants, who might include anyone, were careful only that their faces were concealed by masks or stained with wine to avoid discovery of their identities. In later periods much of the license and vulgarity disappeared from the Greek comedy.

The term was retained, but the earlier festivities were replaced by well-written plays which were light and amusing and by eminent writers.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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