Comparison of Chaplin and Keaton

A look at the differences between the type of comedy of Keaton and Chaplin.

This paper explores the different techniques and worldviews of the silent era’s two favorite comedians, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Examining three of each of the comedians’ films, the paper explains the differing worlds created by Keaton and Chaplin.
“Great comedic actors of today owe a great deal to the silent comedians who came before them, most notably Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton. While the two comics geniuses of the silent era have totally dissimilar styles, both revolutionized humor as it made the transition from vaudeville stage to the projector screen in a cinema. As moviemakers found new ways of showing comedy in the new era of silent films, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin emerged as the comedians of their era and left a lasting impression on cinematic comedy that lives on today. Whether it be Johnny Depp paying homage to Chaplin’s The Gold Rush in Benny and Joon or the Keaton-esque physical humor of Jackie Chan, Hollywood remembers the two film greats and consistently borrows from their comedic technique in movie after movie. These two very different actors left two very distinguishable styles behind : Keaton relied on the chaos of life and his surroundings to bring comedy, while Chaplin struck an emotional chord by evoking humor from the plight of modern life and misery of dire situations.”