Why do we call a bad actor a “ham” and silly comedy “slapstick”?

In the late nineteenth century, second-rate actors couldn’t afford cold cream to remove their stage makeup, so they used ham fat and were called hamfatters until early in the twentieth century when these bad actors were simply called “hams.” Physical comedy became known as “slapstick” because of its regular use of crude sound effects: two sticks were slapped together off-stage to accentuate a comic’s onstage pratfall (prat being an Old English term for buttocks).

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