Showing posts with the label Jack Benny

The Great Gildersleeve and the Evolution-Revolution of Comedy

There is a revolution, of sorts, going on amongst professional comedians. Comics have always been at the heart of revolution and political discourse. Some of the earliest professional comedians, court jesters or "Royal Fool" were the only voices allowed to make fun of the King. Of course, that meant that the King would be the only one allowed to laugh (out loud) at the jokes, but that did not make them any less funny. A few scholars have pointed out that joke telling is becoming a lost art because we are getting more and more of our laughs from internet memes. A proper joke takes time, it is a small story which needs characters introduced, a situation and often conflicts developed, and then the punchline delivered. The explosion of social media means that everyone is on the same page. Rather than developing the involved story a joke requires, a simple meme with a picture and a few words will have to do. Since we are already on the same page, we all get it. During the Gol

Fred Allen and his Friendly Feud with Jack Benny

It is impossible to chronicle the birth of the Fred Allen-Jack Benny radio feud without going into the life and background of Fred Allen . At the age of fourteen, Fred Allen opened a book that would forever change the course of his life . Working as a stock clerk at the Boston Public Library, he picked up a book on the subject of humor. Not only did this literary work put him on the path of comedy, it also sparked a passion that culminated in a book collection. By the time of his death, Fred Allen’s personal library contained thousands of volumes written on the subject of comedy. Beginning his career in vaudeville, Allen soon learned that his comedic skills greatly outweighed his juggling ability and he decided to use the juggling act as an anchor for his comedy. He also appeared in a few short films, before getting his break on radio. At the age of thirty-eight, Fred Allen landed a job, as host of  The Linit Bath Club Revue . The show premiered on October 23, 1932 on the Co