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Retread a path through the centuries back to the age of the Mediaeval Jester and Fool – into a time when humour was a serious business and the very best in the land were found in the court of Kings or Barons who ruled vast tracts of land and controlled massive armies. The Middle Ages was a time when the job of entertaining Royalty was considered a position of much importance and the competition for this all important role was very keen. Many of these characters, who could be considered as the mediaeval stand-up comic, were intent on playing before the King and would often inflict cruel injuries on themselves in order to make themselves as laughable as possible.
The only thing that seemed to matter was to keep the audience entertained. After all, keeping the King amused was a “heady business” where failure could literally mean losing your own head!
Thus, the much coveted position as Court Jester or Kings Fool, was quite precarious. Never really knowing what to expect next, the most successful of these mediaeval fools learned to carefully watch and read their audiences. Their quick witted responses and fooling around would keep everyone amused, often keeping them from the wrath of the King when something was said or done which gave great and possibly lethal displeasure. History provides us with much information on Mediaeval Northern Europe and the period was in many respects, “a golden age” for our Fool or Jester. Today we see many of our favourite comics and comedians fooling about, jesting and joking, and in so many ways, they are really the modern day Jester, where the only things that have changed are the media and the size of the audience. Many jokes and comedy acts have been passed through the centuries, and are still used today. Of course, today one would hardly expect to lose one’s head for failing to entertain a crowd, but the same sense of anxiousness is ever present and as a comedian or stand-up comic you have to learn to “live through” every performance.
The characters created by Lilliput Lane Land of Legend are a reflection of the great comedy act of the Middle Ages in Europe and form another chapter of our story of “History that Was and Never Was”.
The picture below was on the front of one of the early catalogues, note Hap himself on the jesters stick