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Scaramuccia in 1860
Scaramuccia, also known as Scaramouche, is a roguish clown character who wears a black mask and black trousers, shirt and hat. He is usually portrayed as a buffoon or boastful clown; in this latter capacity, he can be considered a smaller derivative of Il Capitano. The character was invented by a 17th century Italian actor, Tiberio Fiorelli.

He sometimes wears glasses. He entertains the audience by his "grimaces and affected language." Salvator Rosa says that Coviello, (like Scaramouch) is "sly, adroit, supple, and conceited." In Molière's "The Bourgeois Gentleman" Coviello disguises his master as a Turk and pretends to speak Turkish. Both Scaramouch and Coviello can be clever or stupid --as the actor sees fit to portray him.

The name was that of a stock character in 17th-century Italian farce, Scaramuccia (literally "skirmish"), who, attired usually in a black Spanishmarker dress, burlesquing a don, was beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

Scaramouche is one of the iconic characters in the Punch and Judy puppet shows (a performative art with roots in commedia dell'arte). In some scenarios, he is the owner of The Dog, another stock character. During performances, Punch frequently strikes Scaramouche, causing his head to come off of his shoulders. Because of this, the term scaramouche has become associated with a class of puppets with extendable necks.

Scaramouche in popular culture

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening me ...

Inspired by this song, Scaramouche is the name of the lead female role in the Queen musical We Will Rock You.

  • The poet Wallace Stevens uses the name Scaramouche in the poem "The Weeping Burgher":
  • The character of Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory's sitcom can be considered similar to Scaramouche in the use of affected words (highly intellectual), and boastful mannerisms.
And ah! that Scaramouche
Should have a black barouche.
  • Scaramouche is the name of a suite for Saxophone and Cabaret orchestra or, in a transcription, for two pianos by the Frenchmarker composer Darius Milhaud. Milhaud first composed the piece for saxophone and cabaret orchestra as music for a theatre piece.
  • In the opening chapter of the book Phule's Company by Robert Asprin, the main character Willard Phule uses Scaramouche as his alias.
  • The name of Toronto's well known, top restaurant, Scaramouche [38358]
  • In Tom Stoppard's On the Razzle, Scaramouche is the nom de plume used by sales clerk Weinberl in his letters while answering "lonely hearts advertisements."
  • In an issue of Sergio Aragonés's Groo the Wanderer, Groo becomes violently angry when he is called a "scaramouche" even though he doesn't know what the word means.

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