April 23, 2024

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variety

A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts (hence the name), especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and is normally introduced by a compère (master of ceremonies) or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling and ventriloquism. The variety format made its way from Victorian era stage to radio to television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from its early days (late 1940’s) into the 1980s. While still widespread in some parts of the world, the proliferation of multichannel television and evolving viewer tastes affected the popularity of variety shows in the United States. Despite this, their influence has still had a major effect on late night television—where late night talk shows and NBC’s comedy series Saturday Night Live (which originally premiered in 1975) have remained popular fixtures of North American television.

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