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Who's on First

Started by Barry Admin, May 13, 2022, 12:13:47 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Sonny_Jim

Kids in the hall doing 'What if the straight man was too straight'


Petey Pate

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 13, 2022, 01:27:36 PMAbbott & Costello's films were on TV a lot in the '80s and early '90s. They were regulars in BBC Two's 6pm classic comedy slot (alongside the likes of Laurel & Hardy, Jerry Lewis, Norman Wisdom and Will Hay). Also, Channel 4 aired The Abbott & Costello Show in a similar early evening slot. The Paramount Comedy Channel showed it in the mid-'90s too, albeit in a late-night slot (which made it feel more special). Thanks to those broadcasts, I built up quite a collection of their stuff on VHS!

Ah I wasn't aware that Abbott and Costello were shown regularly on British TV as late as the 90s. I definitely recall seeing Laurel and Hardy shorts on the BBC, even in the noughties, and from my experience they seem to be household names in a way that A&C aren't.

My first exposure to Abbott and Costello was via them being caricatured in old Warner Bros cartoons, there were even recurring characters based on them, either depicted as cats or mice. This short also has the distinction of being the first appearance of Tweety.


Famous Mortimer

I have a very vague memory of some show (hosted by Rolf Harris?) which showed the routine alongside other old clips, probably 80s or 90s.

letsgobrian

Talking of Seinfeld and Who's on First, this version of the sketch from The Tonight Show would be great if Jimmy Fallon could memorise lines and not have to be transfixed to his cue cards like a rabbit in headlights.


retsuza

This take on it from Chris and Jack is pretty good


Worth checking out their old videos if you want some very funny and sometimes just somewhat funny comedy sketches,

Glebe


Barry Admin

Quote from: letsgobrian on May 13, 2022, 03:37:07 PMTalking of Seinfeld and Who's on First, this version of the sketch from The Tonight Show would be great if Jimmy Fallon could memorise lines and not have to be transfixed to his cue cards like a rabbit in headlights.

Watched that earlier - it's linked at the end of the article Ingatius_S posted, alone with a sadly now-removed Steve Allen video.

Anyway yeah, the whole thing is fucking awful, and serves only to highlight the exceptional pacing and rhythm that A&C had spent so long perfecting. As much as I love Seinfeld, the applause for Jerry turning up goes on much, much too long, which again is to the detriment of the bit in terms of pacing.

Ferris

Seinfeld not bothering to take off his massive Rolex either.

Captain Z

So who or what is the best version of this?

wrec

Quote from: David Pielingtonburygrot on May 13, 2022, 12:45:28 PMFox News unintentional twattishness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uhbAWNpcaI&ab_channel=MovieClipsandMashups

Nah this is definitely a deliberate attempt that kind of routine, just done really badly.

EOLAN

Quote from: Captain Z on May 13, 2022, 04:30:33 PMSo who or what is the best version of this?

I don't know.



JaDanketies

Quote from: Captain Z on May 13, 2022, 04:30:33 PMSo who or what is the best version of this?

that's right.

Ferris


Barry Admin

Quote from: Captain Z on May 13, 2022, 04:30:33 PMSo who or what is the best version of this?

Enjoyed the responses to this :-)

The 8 minute version in the OP is super as you hear the audience reaction and they really rip the arse out of the whole conceit.

The article @Ignatius_S linked to recommends this as the definitive version though, and it is very, very good. Costello's mounting frustration is particularly great in this one:



Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Can't remember which episode of Seinfeld this occurs in, but there's a nice, knowing moment where an exasperated Jerry says to George, "What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?!"

Seinfeld has always said that he and Alexander modelled their crosstalk rhythms and cadences on Abbott & Costello. They've come closer than most in capturing that dynamic.

Here's Seinfeld, Larry Charles and Larry Miller talking about how much of an influence they've had on their work.


De Niro and Keitel were also directly influenced by Bud and Lou during some of their semi-improvised scenes in Mean Streets, and they do a pretty good job. Two performers with natural chemistry bouncing off each other.

But Pesci is the true Scorsese repertory company heir to Lou Costello, isn't he? They're both from Newark, New Jersey. They sound almost exactly alike. That rapid delivery, the sheer explosive energy of it all.

Long post, sorry. But I love Abbott & Costello, hence my uncurbed enthusiasm for this thread.

letsgobrian

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 13, 2022, 07:02:05 PMCan't remember which episode of Seinfeld this occurs in, but there's a nice, knowing moment where an exasperated Jerry says to George, "What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?!"

Season 3's "The Tape".

Jerry: Does she know?
George: No!
Jerry: How did it happen?
George: I can't say.
Jerry: Well, why can't you say it?
George: Because I promised her.
Jerry: I thought you just said she doesn't know?
George: She doesn't.
Jerry: So how can you promise her?
George: Because she asked me to.
Jerry: What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?

bakabaka

Quote from: Barry Admin on May 13, 2022, 01:17:49 PMI'm dying to know more about burlesque comedy now, this has been fascinating.
Archive.org has quite a few recordings of early Vaudeville/burlesque acts from as far back as the 1880s. I did a show on them back in the day but found it hard work as a sizeable proportion were basically just racism as comedy. If you find punching an Irish or Chinese person in the face funny, then you're in for a treat. The only other problem is that the wordplay ones suffer from being 100 year old recordings - hopefully they've updated them with better quality recordings in the last 10 years.

notjosh

Starting to think I should watch some more Abbott and Costello. Which of their films is the best showcase of their act?

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: notjosh on May 14, 2022, 06:53:54 AMStarting to think I should watch some more Abbott and Costello. Which of their films is the best showcase of their act?

Who Done It?, In Society and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Also, The Abbott & Costello Show is a fantastic compendium of all their greatest routines.

A mini version of this joke unintentionally occured with my kid and her mate only half an hour ago:

"Are you watching Eurovision tonight?"

"What do you mean - am i watching my revision tonight?!"

Actually went back and forth like that for quite a while, but disappointingly lacked Abbot and Costello's structure and timing.

lauraxsynthesis

I liked A&C as a child but that sketch probably wouldn't have made an impression on me but for the fact that when it came on my dad mentioned it was a classic.

My fave update is Rob Newman noting in 2005 that the President of China was called Hu Jintao and the  Prime Minister was called Wen Jiabao.

34 minutes in:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DCwafIntj0

ABBOTT: Hu is Prime minister of China?

COSTELLO: No, Wen is Prime Minister

ABBOTT: Who's President that's what I'm asking?

COSTELLO: That's what I told you.

ABBOTT: Wen

COSTELLO: No that's the Prime Minister

ABBOTT: I know that, I wanna know who's the President?

COSTELLO: He's the guy.

ABBOTT: Who's the guy?

COSTELLO: That's the guy I'm telling you  about.

ABBOTT: Don't start that again.


gilbertharding

The reason the bit never caught on here has nothing to do with how often A&C films were shown on TV, and loads to do with the fact it's about baseball. Of course it could have been rewritten to suit some other national past time, and probably was, but 'who's on first' just wouldn't have meant anything.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

You don't need to know a single thing about baseball to enjoy that routine. They could be talking about any team sport, the specific rules of the game itself are irrelevant.

non capisco

Nothing to add but have loved the fuck out of this thread. The comedy obsessive side of CaB at its down a specific rabbit hole best.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: letsgobrian on May 13, 2022, 11:43:47 PMSeason 3's "The Tape".

Jerry: Does she know?
George: No!
Jerry: How did it happen?
George: I can't say.
Jerry: Well, why can't you say it?
George: Because I promised her.
Jerry: I thought you just said she doesn't know?
George: She doesn't.
Jerry: So how can you promise her?
George: Because she asked me to.
Jerry: What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?

Ah yes, thank you!

wrec

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 13, 2022, 07:02:05 PMHere's Seinfeld, Larry Charles and Larry Miller talking about how much of an influence they've had on their work.


This is excellent. Very easy to find the sketches they refer to on YouTube also.

Blumf

Here's a recent version of the idea, involving The Three Stooges and spoilers for the current Doctor Strange film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dNlxNuABtA

Vonscharpling

There was a version I saw on the comedy central website probably more than ten years ago and I just can't seem to find it anywhere.

It was a clip that was presumably taken from a live to a theatre audience sketch show featuring two American guys that I don't *think* were that famous. And they performed the routine but with the real names of baseball players "I'm asking YOU emiliano Rodriguez is on first"

Does anyone have any idea what I might be thinking of?

Brundle-Fly

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 14, 2022, 08:07:08 AMAbbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Funny, and surprisingly scary. As a kid, I also liked Abbott & Costello Go To Mars (1953) from what I remember. It is of specific interest for the comedy enthusiast, because it features Harry Shearer, no less!