Addendum—Humor

This addendum is a further supplement to my chapter on humor. I added it because there was a need to recognize many special comics that often provided a smile and sometimes a raucous laugh. When I was much younger, there were a large number of comics that came primarily from the old Jewish Catskill and Vaudeville days. They often appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, which was one of the very few shows available in the early black-and-white TV days. They included the following:

 

Shecky Greene

Red Buttons

Totie Fields

Joey Bishop

Milton Berle

Danny Kaye

Henny Youngman

Buddy Hackett

Sid Caesar

Groucho Marx

Woody Allen

Lenny Bruce

George Burns

Allan Sherman

Jerry Lewis 

Carl Reiner

Shelley Berman

George Jessel

Alan King

Mel Brooks

Phil Silvers

Rodney Dangerfield

Don Rickles

Jack Benny, and so many more.

 

The strange thing was that there was not a single profanity word in any of their comedy. Below are a few examples of their humor; enjoyed the rare nuggets of simple but divine humor.

 

“I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.”

 

“I’ve been in love with the same woman for 49 years! If my wife ever finds out, she’ll kill me!”

 

“What are three words a woman never wants to hear when she’s making love? “Honey, I’m home!”

 

“Someone stole all my credit cards, but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.”

 

“We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.”

 

“My wife and I went back to the hotel where we spent our wedding night; only this time I stayed in the bathroom and cried.”

 

“My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a water bed. My wife called it the Dead Sea.”

 

“She was at the beauty shop for two hours! That was for the estimate. She got a mudpack and look great for two days. Then the mud fell off.”
 

“The doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bills, so the doctor gave him another six months!”

 

“The doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, “Mrs. Cohen, your check came back.” Mrs. Cohen answered, “So did my arthritis!”

 

Doctor: “You’ll live to be 60!”

Patient: “I am 60!”

Doctor: “See! What did I tell you?”

Patient: “I have a ringing in my ears.”

Doctor: “Don’t answer!”


“A drunk was in front of the judge. The judge says, “You been brought here for drinking.”

The drunk says, “Okay, let’s get started.”

 

“Why do Jewish divorces cost so much? They’re worth it!”

 

“The Harvard Medical School did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that this is due to the fact that Won Ton spelled backward is NOT NOW!”

 

“There’s a big controversy in the Jewish view of when life begins. In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school.”

 

Q: “Why don’t Jewish mothers drink?” A: Alcohol interferes with their suffering!

 

Q: “Why do Jewish mothers make great parole officers?” A: “They never let anyone finish a sentence!”

 

“A man called his mother in Florida, “Mom, how are you?” “Not too good,” said the mother. “I’ve been very weak.” The son said, “Why are you so weak?” She said, “Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.” The son said, “That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?” The mother answered, “Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call.”

 

A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has a part in the play. She asked, “What part is it?” The boy says, “I play the part of the Jewish husband.” The mother says, “Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part.”

 

“Here’s a short summary of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.”

 

“Did you hear about the bum who walked up to a Jewish mother on the street and said, “Lady, I haven’t eaten in three days!” “Force yourself!” she replied

 

Q: “What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother?

A: Eventually, the Rottweiler, let’s go!

 

If you would like to save and collect additional jokes, you can Google any of the above comedians. Select those you find funniest and pull them out when stressed have a gift of time in a friendly distraction.

 

ABBOTT & COSTELLO

 As mentioned in the chapter on humor, as a boy, my favorite of all comedians were the dynamic duo of Abbott and Costello. As vaudevillians they teamed up in 1936 and had their first major break by appearing on the Kate Smith’s show in 1938. To digress for a moment, “My Aunt Kate” had the identical name of the famous singer Kate Smith. She lived next door and was a kind and sweet elderly lady who frequently invited me for high tea and ginger molasses cookies. She tolerated my mischievous behavior, and we became fast friends. I loved Aunt Kate and remembered being dismayed and crying at her wake. It was my very first experience seeing someone laid out in a coffin at their home. I still remember it vividly. At age nine, it was my very first experience with a human death and a special loved one at that.

 

Regarding Abbott and Costello, I belly laughed many Saturdays and evenings watching either their movies or  TV shows. After their appearance on Kate Smith’s radio show, they were propelled to phenomenal fame. They went on to become the most prolific comedians of the 1940s and mid-50s. Both had serious health problems, had personal tragedies, drank and gambled recklessly, yet they remained hilarious for many years. Their popularity waned during the mid-50s with the arrival of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, my second favorite comedy duo. Apparently, their overexposure to radio, film, TV, and cartoon series caused their eventual demise. Years later, Jerry Seinfeld, another iconic comedian of recent fame, said that the duet had a very strong influence on his work and included their influence on several of his episodes.

 

In the chapter on humor, I shared one of their two most iconic classics, “Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody”. Their other signature routine was about baseball. It was based on a very creative burlesque routine. It was so popular that they developed at least 20 different versions, some short, others lengthy. The infielders’ names were “WHO” on first base, “WHAT” on second base, and “I DON’T KNOW” on third base. Costello’s confusion over the pronouns and his naïveté and unwavering confusion were absolutely hilarious!  I strongly urge you to find it on the Internet. It is readily available and far more humorous than the two-dimensional transcript below. It should also be noted that Abbott and Costello, since 1956, are one of the very few non-baseball dignitaries memorialized in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The site repeats an endless video loop of their routine. Here tis: 

 

Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.

Costello: Funny names?

 

Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team, we have WHO’S on first, WHAT’S on second, I DON’T KNOW is on third—

Costello: that’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.

 

Abbott: I’m telling you. WHO’S on first, WHAT’S on second, I DON’T KNOW is on third

Costello: You know the fellows names?

 

Abbott: Yes! 

Costello: Well, then WHO’S playing first?

 

Abbott: Yes,

Costello: I mean the fellows name on first base!

 

Abbott: WHO

Costello: The fellow playing in first space.

 

Abbott: WHO

Costello: The guy on first base.

 

Abbott: Who is on first?

Costello Well, what are you asking me for?

 

Abbott: I’m not asking you--- I’m telling you! Who is on first?

Costello: Well, what are you asking me for?

 

Abbott: That’s the man’s name.

Costello: That’s Who’s name?

 

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

 

Abbott: Every dollar of it. And why not? The man’s entitled to it.

Costello: Who is?

 

Abbott: Yes!

Costello: So who gets it?

 

Abbott: Why shouldn’t he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Whose wife?

 

Abbott: Yes. After all, the man earns it.

Costello Who does?

 

Abbott: Absolutely.

Costello: Well, all I’m trying to find out is what’s the guys name on first base?

 

Abbott: Oh, no-no. What is on second base?

Costello: I’m not asking you who is on second.

 

Abbott: Who’s on first!

 

ANOTHER CONTINUED VERSION

Costello: St. Louis has a good outfield?

Abbott: Oh, absolutely.


Costello: The left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why.


Costello: I don’t know, I just thought I’d ask.

Abbott: Well, I just thought I’d tell you.


Costello: Then tell me who’s playing left field?

Abbott: Who’s playing first?


Costello: Stay out of the infield! The left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why.


Costello: Because.

Abbott: Oh, he’s center field.


Costello: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team?

Abbott: Wouldn’t this be a fine team without a pitcher?


Costello Tell me the pitcher name.

Abbott: Tomorrow

 

PHYLLIS DILLER

Below are some examples of Phyllis Diller’s wonderful humor. I’ve selected a number of hers because she had some real chutzpah, particularly since she was one of the very first female comedians to make it big.  As a matter of fact, at one point in time, she was America’s very first and funniest female standup comedian.

 

“Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age. As your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.”

 

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

 

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the sidewalk before it has stopped snowing.”

 

“The reason women don’t play American football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit twice in public.”

 

“The best way to get rid of kitchen odors: Eat out!”

 

“A bachelor is a guy who never made the same mistake once.”

 

“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”

 

“Most children have threatened at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.”

 

“Any time three New Yorkers get into a cab without an argument, a bank has just been robbed.”

 

“We spend the first 12 months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 years telling them to sit down and shut up.”

 

“Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.”

“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”

 

“The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was a day I actually got gin in the steam iron.”

 

“Old age is when the liver spots show through your gloves.”

 

“I admit, I have a tremendous sex drive. My boyfriend lives 40 miles away.”

 

“Tranquilizers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle--- keep away from children.”

 

“I asked the waiter, “is this milk fresh?” He said, “Lady, three hours ago, it was grass.”

 

“The reason the golf pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can’t see him laughing.”

 

“You know you’re old if they have discontinued your blood type.”

 

Finally, I’d like to leave with some of my favorite pastimes, fun PUNS. Here are a few:

I tried to catch some Fog. I mist.


Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.


I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop at any time.


I stayed up all night to see where this Sun went. Then it dawned on me.


This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met an herbivore.


I’m reading a book about antigravity. I can’t put it down!


I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.


Energizer Bunny arrested: Charged with battery.


I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.


How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it!


What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus! 


What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

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