[78-L] Live Comedy.

Elizabeth McLeod lizmcl at midcoast.com
Wed Apr 13 06:12:11 PDT 2011

on 4/13/11 2:03 AM Michael Biel wrote:

>On 4/12/2011 9:56 AM, Elizabeth McLeod wrote:
>> Standup comedians in the form of vaudeville/Broadway monologists were
>> commonly featured on Rudy Vallee's radio program during the thirties --
>> with many surviving recordings of their performances. Maybe the most
>> definitive is a performance by Richy Craig Jr. from November 1933 -- he
>> was the performer who inspired Bob Hope's style and manner, reacting to
>> the audience in a very casual, offhand way rather than simply reciting
>> jokes.
>Did Hope ever acknowledge this?  

I don't know if Hope himself ever did, but it was common knowledge in 
comedy circles at the time -- Craig actually wrote most of Hope's 
material during his last years in vaudeville, and the LOC's Bob Hope 
Collection includes a notebook from this era containing gags in Craig's 

Craig is also pretty much single-handedly responsible for Milton Berle's 
"Thief of Badgags" reputation, having conducted a comedy "feud" with him 
in the early thirties after Berle helped himself to one too  many of his 

When Craig died in late 1933 -- just a couple weeks after the Vallee 
performance referenced abov, which was his final public appearance -- 
Hope and Berle organized a benefit for his widow as a way of 
acknowledging their debt to him. 


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