Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who the heck IS on first, anyways?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

"Who's on First" is still, in my opinion, the funniest comedy routine in the history of the universe.

Abbott and Costello were veterans of vaudeville. Gee whiz, I miss vaudeville. I'm not old enough to actually remember it--but I miss it. It was an extraordinary training ground for comedians. Aside from Bud and Lou, guys like Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope learned their trade by playing a zillion small-time theaters in a zillian towns and cities. When they brought what they learned to radio and the movies (and eventually television), they all regularly brought the house down.

Comedian Fred Allen wrote an autobiography about his years in vaudeville called Much Ado About Me. It is informative and hilarous and not a little bit heartbreaking in its portrayal of a bygone era. In fact, there's a chapter late in the book in which he breaks away from his narrative to compose what is basically a love letter to vaudeville, filled with priceless anecdotes about his fellow performers. It's one of the reasons I miss vaudeville so much--even though it died away before I was born.

By the way, I've got the above clips and 50 or so others posted in one convenient location HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...