Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Inventing Entertainment
The little train robbery / Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1905.

[Detail] The little train robbery / Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1905

Comic Dialogues

A search on the term, humor, yields audio recordings of comedy sketches in a variety of situations. For example, The Band Festival at Plum Center (1918) features citizens around a bandstand, while A Police Court Scene (1919) presents a judge assigning comic ruling such as giving a felon twelve months for stealing a calendar. The Shop Girl (1925), depicts the travails of a department store clerk fielding questions from customers.

Customer: Where can I get a silver tea pot?
Shop Girl: Do you want it solid?
Customer: No, I want to put tea in it.

  • Do these sketches tell a specific story or present a string of jokes?
  • How do these situations and characters generate the humor of each sketch?
  • What are the similarities in the situations and characters of these comic sketches? What are the differences between the scenarios in each sketch?
  • How are comic elements such as puns, exaggerations, and misunderstandings used in these sketches?
  • Choose a situation in which a character is required to interact with many people. Develop a comic dialogue by brainstorming about the various characters that the protagonist might have to encounter.