Last night de vind came unt blew down de shutter outside mine house, and I vant you to send a car-pen-ter — a carp. Oh, never mind, I'll have it fixed myself. Developed in England by Joe Hayman, the definitive Jewish vaudeville monologue became bigger than any one comedian as it grew into a sensation stateside when American comedians like Barney Bernard, George L. Thompson, and most notably Monroe Silver took on the character of Cohen and recorded covers of the routine.
Built on a classic misunderstanding-an-accent premise, it popularized the comedic device of hearing one half of a phone conversation. It was an undeniable influence on comedy legends Shelley Berman and Bob Newhart. This bit was something different for comedy at the time. Because this scene was so joyful, it makes reality all the more depressing when the Tramp gets stood up for his dinner date.
By being among the first on the silver screen to add a little tragedy to his comedy, Chaplin raised the bar for the art of jokes. Whereas Chaplin made intimate poetic miniatures that are admirable but can sometimes cloy, Keaton made broad, bright murals that do not require much adjustment of your mind-set. Lambchops Burns and Allen Burns: Do you like to love? Allen: No. Burns: Like to kiss? Burns: What do you like?
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Allen: Lamb chops. Burns: Lamb chops. Could you eat two big lamb chops alone? Allen: Alone? Oh, no, not alone. With potatoes I could. Many earlyth-century vaudeville stars left the stage to help power the burgeoning media of radio and TV, but few were bigger or brighter than George Burns and Gracie Allen. They give us three good years and one bad one — no, three bad ones and one good one. That was what Will Rogers pioneered in the s.
With a down-home, backwoods charm, Rogers became a national figure by discussing the government and his humorous, logical approach to what was wrong with it. In the midst of the Great Depression, Hoover introduced a plan designed to encourage local groups to help with unemployment, and he asked Rogers to appear on the radio to help promote this plan. What he got were these jokes. Every generation needs a Colbert to present the truth in an entertaining way, and Will Rogers was one of the first we had.
Laurel and Hardy vs. Right on top of the stoop. Laurel and Hardy are hired to deliver a piano to a house in Los Angeles, and discover on their arrival that the door is at the top of a very steep, very narrow flight of steps.
The Marx Brothers used insanity. The Marx Brothers may not have been able to do anything about the coming war, but they certainly gave us something to laugh about. At once a renegade, a box-office sensation, and an unlikely sex symbol, she reshaped the very rules of comedy. When she was good she was very good, but when she was bad, she was an absolute badass.
Peter: What are you going to do?
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Ellie: A system all my own …. Creating a fake rivalry to get attention was nothing new when the wry, clever Allen started taking shots at his longtime friend Benny on the air, but their commitment to the gag was. The pair kept the sideshow going for a decade. The format is one that is still mimicked to this day: using a familiar phrase to draw people in, then taking a sharp left turn.
And though the joke is seen as shticky and hacky at this point, structurally it is deceptively elegant, as the setup is hiding inside what seems like a transition. Abbott: Yes. The sketch itself endures for a number of reasons: Its simple premise delivering myriad laugh lines, the clear schlemiel-schlimazel dynamic between performers, the room it provides for embellishment, and the rat-a-tat delivery make it feel like a ramshackle Ford Model T gathering speed as it barrels toward the edge of a cliff.
Fields in Love W. Fields, Edward F. She drove me to drink. The portly, hard-drinking comic spoke that line in his last starring role in a career marred by alcoholism. Off-screen problems aside, Fields found a way to make audiences laugh at and root for a character who hated children as much as he loved liquor and thumbing his red nose at societal norms. I said your money or your life. This joke is reputed to have had the longest sustained laughs in radio history.
Jack Benny had a lot of recurring jokes associated with his character: no matter how old he got, he always insisted he was 39; he was terrible at the violin; and he was very cheap.
A joke that is perfect for the character, but is still surprising to an audience — nobody nailed it like Benny. It was , a year into commercial-television broadcasting, and literally nobody had figured out what TV comedy would or could be. Berle had worked a million stages, starting in vaudeville, and had a clue: The ten-inch, black-and-white screen meant that almost nothing could overwhelm, and the broader the performance the better. Unsubtle shtick, ridiculous costumes, patter, a frantic, frenetic pace — it all turned out to be right for the smudgy image on a ten-inch, black-and-white screen.
While there were other female comedy performers — in TV and movies, or as a part of double acts — Jean Carroll was the first to break through by standing alone onstage. Her rapid-fire delivery that sneaks in punch lines as she blitzes her way through a monologue, like in the joke above, feels arrestingly contemporary, and might remind you of Amy Schumer or the way Jim Gaffigan delivers his punch lines in falsetto under his breath.
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She moved so quickly and was so ahead of her time, she literally tells the audience to catch up. Ed Sullivan got it, though, asking her to appear on the show over 20 times. A Streetcar Named??? And there I met a very wealthy gentleman who wants to marry me … [Stanley eats chicken as she continues to speak.
His second show was so popular that it was cancelled so the network could break it into two different shows. Puts hat on her head. It's like an Eisenhower jacket, only it's got an extra flap that fits over the mouth. In s San Francisco, when audiences expected performers to grace the stage in jacket and tie, Mort Sahl shuffled into the spotlight in a disarming bright-red sweater and freshly pressed khakis, ever-present newspaper in hand.
He was often mistaken for a student at the trendy hungry i club, and that unassuming appearance came in handy, as his biting topical humor was known to split the room. No topic was off-limits, no target was taboo, not even the communist witch hunts of McCarthy-era America. But Sahl made it palatable by speaking to his audiences in their own language, with unprecedented conversationalism and intellectualism. Pickpockets vs. A pickpocket snatches watches. The pickpocket joke is certainly just one of thousands Foxx had in his pocket, but it represents two things he loved most in a joke: wordplay and sex.
Its density influenced, and will continue to influence, all cartoons that came after it. Two jazz musicians accidentally witness a gang murder and go on the run, disguised as women.
He was more, much more. Nichols: Much more. May: Much more. Nichols: Much more Can you move over a little? May: I'm sorry. Nichols: A great deal more. There is just so much in this joke. There is the natural banter and subtle heightening of improvised dialogue; the duo met earlier in the decade as members of the Compass Players, the seminal improv group that also included Alan Alda, Ed Asner, Shelley Berman, and Del Close, whose members, in the same year as this record came out, founded the Second City.
Beyond that, the joke is remarkable for how well it captured how mid-century, high-brow people talked. Nichols and May affectionately parodied beat trends and intellectual pretensions, in which pillow talk becomes a game of who-can-drop-the-impressively-most-obscure-literary-reference. After Nichols and May, and some of their peers, comedy would no longer be primarily defined by a man in a tuxedo telling jokes in a nightclub. The idea of making comedy for yourself, your friends, and people who think and experience the world the way you do was uncommon before Nichols and May, and fundamental to comedy after.
You see I meant the next street. Bob Newhart always sounded like he was making up his act as he went along, which not only made him relatable, but exciting. You also get a good sense of his expert timing; not many people could live inside a befuddled pause like Bob Newhart, and he went on to become one of the most-beloved comics of all time, influencing every understated comic who came after. Early in his career, it was much more clear which side of the fence he was on.
After getting out of the military, Gregory told jokes in black and white rooms, got a leg up from admirer Hugh Hefner, and worked on TV appearances to provoke thought and motivate action through comedy. Though his early shows had punchy one-liners about everything from space travel to drinking booze, his clear-eyed look at black life in the segregated South will be his legacy. This restaurant joke was one of the first to undercut segregation and discrimination in a public setting with bold intelligence and humility.
This contemporary of Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce, who still performs occasionally at the age of 84, has touched thinkers irascible, e. Paul Mooney, and genial, e. Bill Maher. The idea of white guilt as a punch line feels like nothing new today, when publicly calling out people and organizations for racial microaggressions using the most up-to-date social-justice buzzwords is a viable path to online celebrity.
The speaker in this bit clearly has the best intentions, yet still manages to speak almost exclusively in stereotypes or compliments steeped in unconfirmed generalizations. Though his comedy is of-a-time, this is ultimately why he continues to be held in such high regard. People nationwide were quoting the above joke.
Letterman paid homage to Allen and credited him often and openly: His Alka-Seltzer suit explicitly mimics the teabag stunt, and he, too, drew on the endless comedy fountain that comes from watching street weirdos.