History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.
Often disabled and mistreated, these men and women relied on fortune and their ability to amuse to survive. And while some did quite well, others suffered fates from banishment to execution for failing to please their kings. This hour we look back on jesters and fools throughout history and ask who exactly were these entertainers of old.
- Beatrice K Otto - Writer and historian from Geneva Switzerland; author of Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World
- Troy Depue - Historian and Medieval Studies expert and educator
- Magda Romanska - Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Theater at Emerson College in Boston; co-editor of the forthcoming Anthology of Theory of Comedy this summer
- Pamela Allen Brown - Associate Professor of English at UConn; author of Better a Shrew Than a Sheep: Women, Drama, and the Culture of Jest in Early Modern England
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.