[78-L] Live Comedy.

Steven C. Barr stevenc at interlinks.net
Wed Apr 13 19:14:04 PDT 2011

From: "Michael Biel" <mbiel at mbiel.com>
> 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?  Actually, I find Hope's style very much > 
> just reciting joke after joke after joke.  Especially in the television
> studio programs his "reactions" to the audience seem to be just smug "I
> got 'em" smirks, and often they don't really match how the REAL audience > 
> reacted.  I've mentioned in the past how a joke with a punchline about
> an Egg McMuffin completely DIED in the NYC Central Park program I
> attended since McDonalds breakfasts had not yet come to the east coast
> -- but in the show it was greeted with riotous applause!  His monologues
> were all cut-and-paste, with jokes moved around,  edited out, and
> reactions sweetened in.
> As for his shows for the troops, I don't think he was so much reacting
> to them than PANDERING to them.  He was fed local situations and names
> and his writers inserted them into the boilerplate universal military
> routines.
> His political humor was very much like what Will Rogers had done and
> Johnny Carson was doing in the same era as Hooe and Saul.
>> There are some Frank Fay performances on the Vallee program from a
>> few years later that show the same self-aware approach, and are very
>> clearly pointing the way to modern standup style.
> What is "modern stand-up style"???  Does it have to be in a comedy club
> or a small nightclub to be modern style?  What makes Mort Saul on the Ed
> Sullivan Show any different from Sam Levenson on the Ed Sullivan Show?
> What is the difference between Mort Saul in a dinner club any different
> from Sam Levenson in a Brooklyn dinner club?  What is the difference
> between Mort Saul at a stadium or large theater like Radio City Music
> Hall and Will Rogers at the Follies?
> We've mentioned the Rogers Victors in this thread, but let me also bring
> up Eddie Cantor's Tips On the Stock Market, recorded within days of the > 
> stock market crash.  No audience but VERY, VERY current and topical.  We
> also need to look into other cultures.  Has anybody mentioned Moms
> Mabley?  She did 78s, I think.  Pigmeat Markham.  When did Red Fozz
> start recording?  Minnie Pearl?  Senator Ford?  And there are loads of
> other country comic routines on record back in the 20s and 30s.  And the
> foreign languate records are filled with comedy monologues, dialogues,
> and skits.
There was a LOT of hilarious "race humour" that is often ignored by us...?!
Occasionally (if you are lucky!!) you can find the LP's (dunno if this
ever appeared on 78?!)...and prepare yourself for 1/2 hour or so of
MAJOR laughter...! If you are lucky enough to find any of these
records...(1) BUY them!...and (2) prepare to spend a LOT of time

Steven C. Barr 

More information about the 78-L mailing list