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Half Hour Comedy

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Likely to be a Sitcom today, the half-hour comedy has been a staple since the very first days of television. The original half-hour comedies were influenced by the formats of Vaudeville shows, as artists began learning what would work in the new medium. Half-hour shows built on the variety model didn't play well, as they "felt short", due to the reduced time each player had to work with.

A single comedy skit was eventually expanded to fill the entire half hour, and what remained of the variety format was moved to an hourlong format.


Of course advertising means this is rarely a full 30 minutes today: even The BBC, with its lack of advertising, reserves one minute for continuity announcements and previews — in British comedy writing circles the "BBC Half Hour" is 29 minutes.


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