Slapstick is comedy derived from exaggerated physical harm.
Its name comes from the slapstick of times long past, a clublike object which actors would hit each other with very loudly but in reality causing very little actual harm, thus letting the actors hit each other for a lot longer than as if they were really hitting each other with a heavy object.
Many Warner Brothers cartoons incorporate slapstick into their shows.
Slapstick in Animaniacs is mostly composed of mallets, anvils, explosives and to a lesser extent belligerent characters who like to beat up other characters for no important reason.
Slapstick is most common in two segments: the Yakko, Wakko and Dot segments and the Slappy Squirrel segments. Many of these cartoons rely on a characters getting hurt a lot (Slappy Squirrel we're looking at you). However, in Bumbie's Mom, Slappy demonstrates a key characteristic of slapstick: No one really gets hurt. If the victim of slapstick dies, the employer of the slapstick is portrayed as a sadist, which Warner Brothers probably didn't want in Animaniacs.
Tiny Toon Adventures
For the most part, Tiny Toonatic comedy is made up of psychology, a lot of which comes from Babs Bunny. There HAS been slapstick in some episode segments: Optical Intrusion , Home Wrecker, The Anvil Chorus, You Asked for It (all segments), The Wacko World of Sports (intro and Tennis the Menace segment), Elmyra's Spring Cleaning, That's Incredibly Stupid, Piece of Mind, Rear Window Pain, The Wide World of Elmyra (all segments), Bat's All Folks, Hero Hamton, Venison, Anyone?, Fairy Tales for the 90's (intro), Particle Man, and Teddy Bear's Picnic (among others), but this is a very minor part of all the Tiny Toon cartoons, so one could consider it to be a minor genre of the series.
Unlike Animaniacs, nearly no slapstick in Looney Tunes consists of mallets and anvils. Instead, the main focus is on explosions in Looney Tunes. This includes mostly guns and bombs. Falling down heights is also important part of Looney Tunes slapstick. This is mostly done to antagonists, such as Yosemite Sam and Wile E Coyote, unlike Animaniacs, which has a whole segment type devoted to slapstick targeted at a protagonist.
Slapstick is a common prominent theme, but since the reviser of this page was too lazy to cover them all, let us move on!
Oh, this is sad. Someone shoot me.
Nearly all of the slapstick on Slappy Squirrel segments consists of the most harmful type of physical harm: burns from explosions. Normally this results in the target looking charred. She never ever employs any violence that does not consist of an explosion or a blunt object directly harming the object. Violence is so common on this segment however that even Skippy adopts her violent tendencies by his fifth appearance.
Buttons and Mindy
Mindy never goes through any harm throughout her little excursions in pursuit of the most trivial things, which causes Buttons to go through great amounts of slapstick comedy. In every cartoon where Buttons appeared, he has gotten hurt in some way (mostly via blunt force trauma)
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot.
Mallets are frequent sights in these cartoons as Wakko has a supply of them in his gaggy bag. Anvils are less common but also are seen in certain cartoons, such as the ones containing Baloney the DInosaur. If it weren't for the mallet, though, the Warner Brothers would be grouped down there with the two segments that really don't focus on slapstick, because Wakko is, of course, the violent one, and the mallet is his weapon of choice.
Rita and Runt/Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain is more about the Brain using his smarty smarts to try to take over the world, and in the spinoff he would have succeeded if not for Pinky's sentimental letter. Most of the slapstick here is Brain trying to beat Pinky's stupidity into him, and make him realize what he's said wrong, which of course has no real permanent effects on Pinky. Only in segments like Where Rodents Dare and Opportunity Knox does actual slapstick that people could perceive as being able to cause harm happen.
Rita and Runt are the most moral of all segments, thus nearly eliminating all slapstick from their episodes, until a violent guest star like Pesto comes in.