The Theatre: Hokum

Its Genesis and Meaning— An Eternal Property

Assiduous readers of metropolitan theatrical intelligence have found the word "hokum" firmly embedded in the critical vocabulary. Those unfamiliar with theatrical esoterics may be mystified by its repeated reappearance. It obviously contains an uncomplimentary flavor; its meaning may be a trifle vague. It is so often used that it seems to become a generic condemnation of a multitude of theatrical sins.

"Hokum" is defined by general consent of the show world as any aged but infallible situation, action or remark which will reduce an audience to laughter,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!