Bud Abbott (l) & Lou Costello
Most of you are too young to remember the team of Abbott & Costello, the comedy icons of the 40's & 40's, but I'm willing to bet the line, "Who's on First?" is familiar. It's from one of their funniest routines:
Some facts from mentalfloss.com:
As a young competitor, Lou Cristillo fought in t under the alias “Lou King". With 11 victories and one draw, his boxing career was off to an impressive start—until his father abruptly forced him into an early retirement. A multi-sport athlete, he could also light up a basketball court, despite his below-average height of 5’ 5”. In fact, he was once reportedly crowned Paterson, New Jersey’s champion of foul shots.
William Alexander “Bud” Abbott dropped out of school in the fourth grade to work at Coney Island. At age 16, Abbott was hired to work the box office at the famed Casino Theater, where he’d brush shoulders with such legends as Fanny Brice and W.C. Fields. One fateful day in 1936, Lou Costello’s usual straight man—a performer by the name of Joe Lyons—had to back out of an appearance that they’d booked together at The Eltinge theater, so Abbott was brought in as a last-minute replacement.
In 1938, Abbott and Costello made their national radio debut on fixed this by adopting the slight falsetto that became his vocal trademark.." For a year and a half, the pair were among the program’s most popular recurring guest stars. Though they were a hit with listeners, many complained that the two men sounded indistinguishably alike. Costello
During WWII, on their own dime, they toured 78 cities in 34 days, with the proceeds funding Uncle Sam’s war bonds and stamps. En route, they were treated like national heroes.
The museum added a golden record of the routine to its collection in 1956—an honor that Costello called “better than getting an Oscar.” Today, visitors can watch it playing on a continuous loop.
Costello never forgot his roots. During almost every single episode of (which ran from 1952 to 1954), he would mention Paterson by name, with his usual sign-off being “Good night to everybody, and good night Paterson, New Jersey.” The city returned the favor and honored its native son in 1992 with a Costello statue that now proudly stands downtown—right in the middle of “Lou Costello Memorial Park.”
Some of their other routines:
From jokes.cc.com here's a routine about computers that they would probably have done if they had lived to see computers:
Costello: Hey, Abbottt!
Abbott: Yes, Lou?
Costello: I just got my first computer.
Abbott: That's great Lou. What did you get?
Costello: A Pentium II-266, with 40 Megs of RAM, a 2.1 Gig hard drive, and a 24X CD-ROM.
Abbott: That's terrific, Lou.
Costello: But I don't know what any of it means!!
Abbott: You will in time.
Costello: That's exactly why I am here to see you.
Costello: I heard that you are a real computer expert.
Abbott: Well, I don't know-
Costello: Yes-sir-ee. You know your stuff. And you're going to train me.
Costello: Uh huh. And I am here for my first lesson.
Abbott: O.K. Lou. What do want to know?
Costello: I am having no problem turning it on, but I heard that you should be very careful how you turn it off.
Abbott: That's true.
Costello: So, here I am working on my new computer and I want to turn it off. What do I do?
Abbott: Well, first you press the Start button, and then-
Costello: No, I told you, I want to turn it off.
Abbott: I know, you press the Start button-
Costello: Wait a second. I want to turn it off. Off. I know how to start it. So tell me what to do.
Abbott: I did.
Abbott: When I told you to press the Start button.
Costello: Why should I press the Start button?
Abbott: To shut off the computer.
Costello: I press Start to stop.
Abbott: Well, start doesn't actually stop the computer.
Costello: I knew it! So what do I press.
Costello: Start what?
Abbott: Start button.
Costello: Start button to do what?
Abbott: Shut down.
Costello: You don't have to get rude!
Abbott: No, no, no! That's not what I meant.
Costello: Then say what you mean
Abbott: To shut down the computer, press-
Costello: Don't say, "Start!"
Abbott: Then what do you want me to say?
Costello: Look, if I want to turn off the computer, I am willing to press the Stop button, the End button and Cease and Desist button, but no one in their right mind presses the Start to Stop.
Abbott: But that's what you do.
Costello: And you probably go at stop signs, and stop at green lights.
Abbott: Don't be ridiculous.
Costello: I am being ridiculous? Well. I think it's about time we started this conversation.
Abbott: What are you talking about?
Costello: I am starting this conversation right now. Good-bye.