Jul 202005
 

The peanut gallery has long been a source of unsolicited commentary. Once upon a time performers played to it (instead of telling it to hush up). Times change, but one thing remains the same — the audience in the cheap seats may feel little compunction about keeping their opinions to themselves.

The phrase “peanut gallery” dates back to 1888 in American theaters. The least costly tickets for the show were seats in the back and at the top. Being in the rear didn’t keep the less-affluent patrons from being heard — especially not in the intimate settings of Victorian theater. Oh, and did we mention a snack often eaten in these seats? Yep, peanuts. When this section of the audience didn’t like the scene on stage, they would heckle the actors and throw peanuts.

in American theaters. The least costly tickets for the show were seats in the back and at the top. Being in the rear didn’t keep the less-affluent patrons from being heard — especially not in the intimate settings of Victorian theater. Oh, and did we mention a snack often eaten in these seats? Yep, . When this section of the audience didn’t like the scene on stage, they would heckle the actors and throw peanuts. in American theaters. The least costly tickets for the show were seats in the back and at the top. Being in the rear didn’t keep the less-affluent patrons from being heard — especially not in the intimate settings of Victorian theater. Oh, and did we mention a snack often eaten in these seats? Yep, . When this section of the audience didn’t like the scene on stage, they would heckle the actors and throw peanuts.

So “peanut gallery” came to mean, not just the cheap seats, but the rowdy, obnoxious folks who couldn’t keep their mouths shut during a performance. In earlier days, those on stage tried to appease the peanut gallery so as to avoid the salty missiles. Over time, performers have gotten a bit less accommodating.

In the 1950s, the children’s TV show Howdy Doody had its own peanut gallery composed of small children.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.