Who's on first?

Published June 18, 2009

Since I watched Rain Man, and learnt about this Abbott and Costello phenomenon, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I keep bugging Mr C by saying “Who’s on First?” and then getting annoyed when he doesn’t know what to say. Not that either of us know any of the sketch to carry on with, but it’s fun catching him off guard.

It is amazing to me that a sketch can continue to be timeless and supremely popular after 70 years. Wikipedia says it became a big hit in 1937, and has continued to get awards and top best comedy lists ever since.

Thanks to Kara, for finding a YouTube clip for me, as I had no clue when I first posted the Film Watch entry.

I also found a weird typography version, which is baffling to watch, but fun all the same.

A little Googling uncovered a transcript of the sketch as well, so that Mr C and I can get some practice in. My favourite bit, that just sums up the entire thing:

Costello: What’s the guy’s name on first base?

Abbott: No. What is on second.

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

Abbott: Who’s on first.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott: He’s on third, we’re not talking about him.

I wonder if there are any sketches done in more recent times that will last for 70 years or more.

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