Here’s how stand-up comedy has evolved through the last century

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This feature was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and NBC Universal Television. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

The origins of the term "stand-up" are murky, but the word most likely rose to prominence in the 1940s, when comedians working the stages of summer resorts in the Catskills — also known as the Borscht Belt — introduced the format with which we are now intimately familiar. Still, the art form didn’t really take hold in the national consciousness until it found a national stage. Here’s how stand-up comedy started and how it became what we know and love today.

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