Where did the pie int he face gag originate?

I tried to find out, but while I found references to pies int he face and how funny they are, and implications that it’s from vaudeville or further back, I don’t have a definitive answer.

So, do any of you have possible answers, or sites I missed, regarding who threw/received the first pie int he face/

I even have these images of some Middle Ages court jester pulling the trick, receiving one for laughs.

There’s some speculation that sections of Gilgamesh refer to a pie fight, but they have been lost in translation over the centuries. The earliest record I could find was from part two of Beowulf, describing the attacks of Grendel:

Mack Sennett reinvented the slapstick and other techniques for his comedies. This included pie-throwing; the first pie thrown has been attributed to Mabel Normand.


The old “really big rock in the face” joke suffered from some drawbacks, since remedied by the substitution of pie, but can be found quite far back in human history.

The 1913 movie “A Noise from the Deep” (1913) was filmed on the site and included a scene where Mabel Normand tossed a pie into the face of Fatty Arbuckle. The pie toss later became a standard routine in slap stick movie comedies for years to come.


I was bringing home a cake tonight and asked myself this exact question. As Keanu Reeves would say…whoa.