I'm looking for examples of jokes poking fun at fat people in ancient Greek comedies. So far from my research I have been unable to find anything.

Were there any such jokes or was being overweight not considered a source of humour?

  • Aren't any in Philogelos?
    – OON
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 13:42
  • 2
    Hm, interesting. I quickly went through Philogelos and it seems that there are jokes about gluttons but it seems no jokes poking fun at obesity.
    – OON
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:19
  • 2
    Kinda bummed about all the downvotes on this. I'd love to see more legit questions on the history of comedy. (where "legit" = "not actually racial jabs disguised as questions").
    – T.E.D.
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 15:06
  • 1
    @T.E.D. I'm quite used to downvotes on my questions but in this case I don't understand why. I did a lot of research that showed up nothing but I thought that given the prevalence of athleticism in Greece there would be something in their plays somewhere
    – Charlie
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 15:50
  • 1
    Heck, I'll give you an upvote. I enjoy odd and highly specific questions. This article (thenakedscientists.com/articles/interviews/…) claims the greeks (and romans) did indeed sometimes view fatness as comedic (but says very little else). So what you're looking for ought to be out there somewhere at least in some form.
    – Random
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


In "old comedy," aka 5th century Aristophanic comedy, there are a lot of visual gags that fit your description. Much of the Greek comic male costume often included prosthetics that gave the actor a large belly, big butt, and (often) outsized phallus. See here and here for examples from vase painting. So, when, for example, Dionysus is spanked in Frogs, the audience is seeing his (probably) bare, big butt get hit over and over while he pees himself.

There's also a lot of fart jokes that would probably be accentuated by the actor showing off their large posterior, and so forth...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.