Variety show

A variety show is a show with a variety of acts, often including music and comedy skits, especially on television.

The format is basically television's version of the Music Hall format. Variety in the UK evolved in theatres and Music Halls, and later in Working Men's Clubs. Most of the early top performers on television and radio did an apprenticeship either in stage variety, or during World War II in ENSA. In the UK, the ultimate accolade for a variety artiste for decades was to be asked to do the annual Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium theatre, in front of the monarch. In the 1960s, even the Beatles undertook this ritual. In the US, shows featuring Milton Berle, Bob Hope and Dean Martin also helped to make the Golden Age of Television successful.

From 1948 to 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show was one of CBS's most popular series. Using his no-nonsense approach, Ed Sullivan allowed every known act possible from every known medium to get their "fifteen minutes of fame." Sullivan was also partially responsible for bringing Elvis Presley and The Beatles to US prominence, while in the UK The Good Old Days, which ran from 1953 to 1983, featured modern artistes performing dressed in late Victorian-early Edwardian costume, either doing their own act or performing as a Music Hall artiste of that period. The audience was also encouraged to dress in a similar fashion.

On television, variety reached its peak during the period of the 1960s and 1970s. With a turn of the television dial, viewers in the US and UK could variously have seen shows featuring Andy Williams, Julie Andrews, Sonny and Cher, Bob Monkhouse, Carol Burnett, Rod Hull and Emu, Flip Wilson, Leslie Crowther, Lawrence Welk, Don Estelle, Glen Campbell, Max Wall, Donny & Marie, Danny La Rue, or The Muppets.

A contemporary version of the variety show format, NBC's Saturday Night Live, which made its debut in 1975, is still airing today, with its combination of comedy sketches and musical performances.

In 2004, ABC's The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour attempted to revive the prime-time variety hour as a special for today's generation. The first show was a ratings success, and it was followed by Nick & Jessica's Family Christmas in early December of that year.eo:varieteo ja:バラエティ番組


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