Updated on September 20, 2009 by Matthew
While a complete and better researched history of vaudeville can be found elsewhere, its importance in the history of stand-up comedy is paramount. The idea of a variety show had been around in America since before the Civil War. Traveling circuses, minstrel shows, wild west shows, etc. all provided a cheap form of entertainment to America at a time before recorded or broadcast mediums; and just as the Industrial Revolution was creating a middle class with expendable money and time.