It just occurred to me...

I don’t know if it’s been pointed out before, but Puck’s final speech at the very end of the play come down to this:

If you were upset by anything you saw during the play, it’s okay. Pretend it was all a dream. It doesn’t matter. Forget it and move on. It’s all in good fun. Have a good night, and let’s part as friends.

In other words: Repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show; I should really just relax.”

Except, you know, in fancier language.


AND he calls the players “shadows”… as in, Shadowrama!


And let’s not forget that Hamlet features the title character riffing on “The Murder of Gonzago”!

(Interestingly enough, the play in The Taming of the Shrew is actually a play within the play. It opens with a framing device where the play is put on for a drunk Christopher Sly, but just before Act I, Scene II begins, he calls the play “a very excellent piece of work” rather than riff on it, alas.)


Maybe the Bard was visited by a certain Strange Financier From the Future™ before composing A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Actually, that would explain a lot.


I suppose Munchie’s going to take credit for that AND Gizmonic Arts, too.


“White” Dot Warner:
“I’m not touchin’ THAT one.”


Don’t the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream riff on the Pyramus and Thisbe play in-universe, too?


[Pyramus and Thisbe are on stage, with a wall between them. Theseus, Demetrius and Hippolyta are watching the play.]

Exit Pyramus and Thisbe

Wall: Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so; and, being done, thus Wall away doth go. Exit.

Theseus: Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

Demetrius: No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning.

Hippolyta: This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

Theseus: The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Hippolyta: It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

The play-within-a-play, The Most Lamentable Comedy, and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe is basically The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet only not good.


It’s fun imagining Shakespeare being joined by Richard Burbage, Henry Condell, and William Kempe as they riff a performance of Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay.


Thanks to that short every time I read quotes from Puck I hear Yakko’s voice. I have no desire to change that.

Also this topic makes me wonder if we have any records of things said by groundlings. I’ve only ever heard vague descriptions of people yapping during the play, throwing stuff, selling fruit, etc.


Keep circulating the folios


It all proves that we’ve been riffing for as long as there have been things to riff.


Pontius Pilate: [Pilate is going to release a prisoner to the crowd] People of Jewusalum,

[Everybody laughs at his speech impairment]

Pontius Pilate: Wome… is your fwiend!

[They laugh more]

Pontius Pilate: To pwove our fwiendship, we will welease one of our wong-doers! Who shall I welease?

Man in crowd: Welease Woger!

[Everybody laughs, and begin to chant, “Welease Woger”]

Pontius Pilate: Vewy well, I shall… Welease… Woger!

[Everybody laughs]

Centurion: Uh, we haven’t got a “Woger”, sir.

Pontius Pilate: Oh, okay. We have no "Woger’!

[They all laugh]

Man in crowd: Well what about “Wodewick” then?

[They laugh and chant “Welease Wodewick!”]

Pontius Pilate: Vewy well! I shall welease… Wodewick!

[the crowd laughs some more]

Centurion: Sir, there’s no “Wodewick”.

Pontius Pilate: Who is this “Wodewick” you speak of?

Man in crowd: He’s a wobber!

[they laugh]

Man in crowd: And a wapist!

[more laughter]

Girl In Crowd: And a pick-pocket!

[Everybody shakes their heads at her and say no]

Pontius Pilate: He sounds a notowious cwiminal

I grew up with a lisp, but this still makes me laugh.

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