The Craft of Pantomime Humour

News 30 November 2023

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The roots of pantomime came to use from the Italian traditions of Commedia dell ‘Arte but of course, we’ve put our own spin on things. The classic British pantomime is of course a celebration of comedy and the kinds of comedy you’ll find in a panto will be the same in any show you see. Here we’re exploring the types of humour you’ll find in any pantomime show.

Slapstick Comedy

We all love a bit of slapstick and it’s at the heart of the fun of any pantomime. The term slapstick also comes from the commedia dell’arte tradition as there genuinely was a “slapstick” used as a prop. The slapstick was a comedic prop made from two slats of wood which made a funny slap sound without causing too much damage or pain when striking another actor. Slapstick now has come to encompass all those physical and overexaggerated moments and scenes where props come into their own. The fun of slapstick is the over-the-top nature of the actions and characters falling all over the place. Younger audience members will quickly become hooked on panto with so much fun mayhem to enjoy.


Sitting alongside slapstick and just as important the slosh comedy of panto. Most pantos have a dedicated slosh scene but there are usually plenty of sloshy moments throughout the show too. Slosh refers to those messy and splashy moments, from custard and cream pies being thrown at each other to water being sprayed into the audience and explosions of flour right on stage. Slosh is messy, mad and hilarious for people of all ages.

Innuendo and Double Entendre

The main jokes worked into any pantomime are a little risqué and rely heavily on innuendo and double-entendre. While innuendo is often of a slightly saucy nature, it doesn’t have to be the case and of course, innuendo and double entendre are juvenile and not particularly sophisticated, but panto humour is about fun for everyone of all ages.

Most innuendo is based upon puns and simple humour that people of all ages can enjoy, when it gets a little risqué the older audience members can enjoy it on one level and the kids can laugh along on another, that’s what makes it so enjoyable and something for everyone to get involved with.

A little local flavour

Another way of making sure a pantomime hits the spot for an audience is to make it current and throw in some local flavour and jokes. Simply bringing up local football rivalries or making fun of a local celeb can be enough to get the audience properly riled up. This is also the case if you poke gentle fun at the current government and give the show a current feel. Pantomimes take place in almost every town and city around the country, and this gives writers and producers the opportunity to ensure their show is locally angled and satisfies every audience member.

Humour and comedy for all

Pantomime is written to appeal to a wide audience and the comedy elements are fun and family friendly. Everyone loves to see the mess and madness that comes with panto and all these forms of humour are blended together to create a riotous show for everyone to enjoy.

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