Revealing What Burlesque Is: Meaning, History, Types & More

Hey, curious minds! So you’re probably wondering, what is humor?

Well, buckle up, because we’re about to take you on a sassy and seductive journey into the world of burlesque!

It’s all about glitz, glamor and lots of geeky fun. From sexy dance moves to dazzling costumes, burlesque is the art of teasing and stimulating. Get ready to learn the ins and outs of this fascinating and often misunderstood form of entertainment.

Let’s learn together and discover the secrets of humor!

What is Burlesque? Simple definition

Simple definition of what humor is

Burlesque, derived from the Italian words burla and burlesco, essentially means to mock, mock, or humour. It is a form of entertainment that seeks to provoke laughter through caricatures of serious works or by presenting themes in a ludicrous manner.

Although it is often associated with provocative dance and comedy, burlesque encompasses a wide range of creative expressions, from literature to theater and music.

Early History of Burlesque

Burlesque has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 16th century when it first appeared in Francesco Berni’s play Opere burlesque. Over time, it found its way into the works of literary giants such as Chaucer and Shakespeare.

In literature, burlesque mocks its subject through comic exaggeration and imitation, often using parody and parody.

Kinds of humor

Burlesque comes in many different forms, each with its own characteristics:

High humor

Description: High Burlesque presents seemingly trivial or mundane topics in a dignified and serious manner, often using exaggeration for humor.

For example, Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock is a classic example of High Burlesque. In this epic poem, Pope humorously exaggerates the significance of a woman’s missing lock of hair, treating it as if it were a great heroic quest.

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Comedy stage

Theater is a form of entertainment that combines comedy, short skits, and sometimes striptease. It is known for its broad and earthy humor.

For example, Lydia Thompson’s British Blondes introduced Theater Burlesque to the United States in 1868.

Their show featured beautiful women, provocative dancing, crude comic sketches, and musical numbers. This type of humor often parodies popular culture and social norms.

Humorous music

Musical Burlesque is characterized by the use of music to create a joyful and captivating atmosphere. It often includes provocative movements and is accompanied by jazz-inspired songs.

For example, Richard Strauss’s Burleske for piano and orchestra is a musical work that captures the essence of Musical Burlesque. It combines lively and sensual melodies with a playful musical style.

Read more: What is comedy music: A journey of gentle melodies, types, examples

Humorous variety show

Variety Show Burlesque was popular from the 1860s to the 1940s and featured a combination of bawdy comedy and female striptease. These performances were part of variety shows in pubs, clubs and theaters.

For example, the Hollywood film Cabaret (1972) embodies the spirit of Variety Show Burlesque. While not a direct example of live performance, the film still demonstrates the energy, sensuality, and humor associated with this type of burlesque performance.

Modern and humorous

Modern Burlesque is a contemporary art form that blends classical burlesque elements with modern touches. It often features a variety of performers and themes.

For example: The rise of modern burlesque has brought many unique performances and troupes.

Performers like Dita Von Teese and events like the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas represent the evolution of burlesque into a thriving and inclusive art form.

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Some elements that characterize humor:

  • Exaggeration: Burlesque relies on exaggeration to create humor. It takes ordinary subjects and amplifies their characteristics to the point of absurdity.
  • Parody: It often parodies serious works or genres, poking fun at their conventions and expressions.
  • Caricature: Burlesque uses caricature to depict characters or situations in an exaggerated and humorous manner.

Characteristics of Burlesque

  • Entertainment: Burlesque is primarily a form of entertainment designed to amuse and entertain an audience.
  • Satire: It often has a satirical tone, using humor to critique or comment on social norms or trends.
  • Provocation: In its theatrical form, burlesque can be provocative, but it is essential to approach it with respect and civility, as it is not like strip clubs.

Frequently asked questions about what is Burlesque

What does a burlesque dancer do?

Is burlesque the same as stripping?

No, burlesque is a form of entertainment that combines humour, irony and sensuality. Although it may include provocative elements, it is not synonymous with stripping.

How has humor evolved over time?

Burlesque has evolved from its roots in literature to encompass a variety of art forms, including theater, music, and modern performances that blend classic burlesque with elements of burlesque. nowadays.

Is humor suitable for all audiences?

Burlesque shows vary in content, so it’s essential to research and choose shows that suit your interests and comfort level.

Is humor still popular today?

Yes, burlesque has enjoyed a resurgence of interest since the 1990s, with modern performances attracting a wide range of audiences.

What are the main elements of burlesque?

Burlesque is characterized by exaggeration, parody and caricature. It uses these elements to provoke laughter and often includes a satirical tone.

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What does a burlesque dancer do?

Burlesque is an epic drama that revolves around dance.

In burlesque dance, the performer playfully and humorously exaggerates elements, often copying them in an exaggerated manner. This art form teases audiences with risky acts and over-the-top performances, often interwoven with cabaret-style entertainment.

Basically, this is a variety show that combines provocative and humorous elements, bringing a unique and interesting experience to the audience.


Burlesque is a versatile form of entertainment that includes literature, theater, music and variety shows. It thrives on humor, satire and exaggeration, delivering a unique and captivating experience to audiences around the world.

Whether you’re exploring literary parodies of Jane Austen or enjoying a modern comedy show, this art form continues to evolve and entertain. For more comedy insights, visit for a deeper dive into this captivating world.

Want to explore more in the field of comedy? Let’s take a look at the list below.

What is anti-humor? What is Deadpan Comedy? Inside Joke Comedy

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