Have you ever slipped on a banana peel? Or any fruit peelings? Even if it hasn’t happened to you in real, you must have seen this happening on television or in the movies. Everyone knows about that classic slapstick gag that comes shortly after there’s a banana peel on the floor. But you might be wondering how did slipping on a banana peel became a comedy staple? Is banana peel actually slippery?
How did slipping on a banana peel become a comedy gag?
Before learning how slipping on a banana became a classic comedy gag, let’s first understand why we humans think that slipping on a banana peel is something funny.
Things like falling overs and other misfortunes have been considered funny since 2,500 BC. Well, we can thank schadenfreude for this. Wondering what schadenfreude is? Schadenfreude is what describes us when we think someone getting humiliated or hurt is funny. Or at least, we don’t feel bad about what happened to them.
One of the first documented instances of banana peels used as a comic device goes back to Billy Watson, a performer. He was known for literally sliding onto the stage from the wings- as if banana peel were really slippery.
The first time this gag appeared in a movie was back in 1915 in Charlie Chaplin’s by the Sea movie.
The truth is that we aren’t sure about where the whole sliding on banana peel thing originated. But we know that Americans didn’t have access to the yellow fruit until 1866 when they began to import banana.
It’s safe to assume that the joke of slipping on a peel existed before 1866, but slipping on banana peel must have entered the mainstream American consciousness after 1866.
We do know that Americans back in the 19th-century were different, and littering was very common. It was common to find such things, rotting on the streets of large urban centers, and by the end of the century, banana peel became a public hazard.
Bananas were the new, famous street fruit, after all, and people were throwing their peels everywhere.
But there’s more to add to this story. The primary mode of travel in the 19th century was horses. People used horses a lot, and horses poop on the streets were common. And it was common for banana peels to mix with horse poop and then people to slip on this.
Can people slip-on banana peel?
We must say that this gag is based on truth. Yes, people can slip on a banana peel.