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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Entertainment Funnies: Stage, Screen, TV and Radio

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One area of comedy that I have meant to write about is entertainment comedy. While I have my own stories from being in a number of plays and a little television and more radio, most of this lot is from professional stories I have picked up along the way, except for the last one.

Since I haven't gotten around to my own gaffs yet, this will have to do for the nonce. So here are some entertainment funnies.


After a difficult day a struggling actor returns to his neighborhood and is shocked to find a cadre of police and fire trucks surrounding the smoldering remains of his house.

Explaining who he was he asks "What happened?"

"Well," one of the officer's says, "It seems that your agent came by your house earlier today and while he was here he attacked your wife, assaulted your children, beat your dog and burned your house to the ground."

The actor is struck speechless, his jaw hanging open in disbelief... "My agent came to my house?"


The Devil tells a Hollywood Agent, "Look, I can make you richer, more famous, and more successful than any agent alive. In fact, I can make you the greatest agent that ever lived."

"Well," says the agent, "what do I have to do in return?"

The Devil smiles, "Well, of course you have to give me your soul," he says, "but you also have to give me the souls of your children, the souls of your children's children and, as a matter of fact, you have to give me the souls of all your descendants throughout eternity."

"Wait a minute," the agent says cautiously, "What's the catch?"


If brains were lard, Jethro couldn't grease a pan.
- Buddy Ebsen


Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.

Television has brought back murder into the home - where it belongs.

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.

Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn't change people's habits. It just kept them inside the house.
- Alfred Hitchcock


They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now.
- Bob Monkhouse


After a venerable career of endless, stellar successes the greatest director who ever lived is in his prime and preparing for his most ambitious project ever when he unexpectedly dies and is called home to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the gate.

"So sorry about your untimely death," he tells the director. "But God himself has called you home. You see, God wants you to direct a movie for Him."

The great man is humbled, "God wants ME to direct a film?"

"Yes," St. Peter tells him. "And we've arranged to have the best of everything made available to you. For example, the script is by William Shakespeare."

The director is stunned, "An original screenplay by William Shakespeare?"

"Yes," St. Peter assures him, "And it's his greatest work ever."

"Wow!" says the Director, awe struck.

"Your Production Designer will be Michaelangelo. We've got Leonardo Da Vinci doing the sets, your musical score will be an original work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and your cast includes a young Laurence Olivier and the greatest actors of all time in supporting roles."

The Director can't believe it. "This is incredible," he says. "This will be the greatest movie ever?"

St. Peter kind of shuffles his feet. "Well," he says, "we do have one tiny little problem."

"Problem?" says the director. "What kind of a problem?"

St. Peter puts his arm around the director's shoulder, "Ya see," he whispers, "God's got this girlfriend..."


Q: How many absurdist/surrealist comedians does it take to stage a play?
A: November.


The producer of a low budget film is trying to convince the newly hired director of the quality of the work by telling him the big names they've gotten for the cast.

"First of all," he tells him, "We've got Gibson in the lead."

The director is surprised, "You got Mel Gibson?"

"Well, no," the Producer responds, "we got Marvin Gibson, he's a distant cousin who lives in Queens, but he's very up and coming. And besides, we've also got Redford."

"You got Robert Redford?" the director asks.

"No, we got Jeremy Redford, but he's very talented and has lots of acting experience from years of dinner theater. But," he says enthusiastically, " we've got Streisand and in a singing role."

"Barbara Streisand?" he asks.

"No, Elizabeth Streisand." The Producer responds. "But she's got a great voice. AND we've got Goulet."

"You got Robert Goulet?" the director asks.

"Yeah," the producer replies glumly, "we got Robert Goulet."


One agent stops by another agent's table to tell him the big news: "Elvis just died!"

The second agent says nothing, then starts nodding. "Good career move."


A producer is lying by the pool at the Beverly Hilton. His partner arrives in a great state of excitement. "How'd the meeting go?" asks the first guy.

"It went great," says his buddy. "Tarentino will write and direct for six million, Mel Gibson will star for eight, and we can bring in the whole picture for under fifty million."

"Fabulous," says the guy by the pool.

"There's just one catch," his partner warns.

"What's the catch?"

"We have to put up ten thousand in cash," his partner replies.



Sir Laurence Olivier played the villian in the thriller Marathon Man and was teamed up with Dustin Hoffman.

In a particularly gruesome scene, Olivier (playing a Nazi) tortured Hoffman by going at his teeth with dentist's tools. The scene called for Hoffman to be exhausted and sweaty.

Hoffman, famous for his method acting, went several days without bathing or very much sleep. When he came to the set in this condition Olivier said, "Dear boy, you look awful. Why don't you try acting?"


While John Ford was directing a film for Sam Goldwyn, he fell one day behind the shooting schedule.

Goldwyn came to the set and wondered what Ford was going to do to get back on schedule.

Ford asked, "Sam, how many pages a day do you expect me to shoot?"

"About five, I suppose," answered Goldwyn.

John Ford picked up the script, ripped five pages out and said, "Okay. Now we're back on schedule.


Q: How many screenwriters did they need to make "Ishtar" a good movie?
A: One more than they had.


Q: How many grips does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two: One to hold it, one to hammer it in.


Q: How many Superstar Actor's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One: They just hold it and the whole world revolves around them.


You're not famous until my mother has heard of you.
- Jay Leno


Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to get insulted.
- Sammy Davis, Jr.


Milton Berle is an inspiration to every young person that wants to get into show business. Hard work, perseverance, and discipline: all the things you need...when you have no talent.
- Dean Martin


I'm going to stay in show business until I'm the last one left.
- George Burns


That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
- Garrison Keillor


I think in twenty years I'll be looked at like Bob Hope. Doing those president jokes and golf stuff. It scares me.
- Eddie Murphy


I am amazed at radio DJs today. I am firmly convinced that AM on my radio stands for Absolute Moron. I will not begin to tell you what FM stands for.
- Jasper Carrott


Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself.
- James Stewart


Come to work on time, know your lines, and don't bump into the furniture.
- Spencer Tracy


A Director arrives below and is met by Satan who shows him around. Turns out that Hell is a gigantic movie studio with the latest and best equipment, stages, great actors, etc. Director thinks its great and asks Satan what heaven is like if hell is this good. Satan says heaven is exactly like this, a movie studio. The Director is confused. "Then what's the difference," he asks.

Satan smiles. "Well, in heaven they actually *make* movies."


A producer is lying by the pool at the Beverly Hilton. His partner arrives in a great state of excitement. "How'd the meeting go?" asks the first guy.

"It went great," says his buddy. "Tarentino will write and direct for six million, Mel Gibson will star for eight, and we can bring in the whole picture for under fifty million."

"Fabulous," says the guy by the pool.

"There's just one catch," his partner warns.

"What's the catch?"

"We have to put up ten thousand in cash," his partner replies.


Morty the producer dies and goes to purgatory. The agent behind the counter says "So Morty, what's it gonna be Heaven or Hell?" Morty asks, "What's the difference?" Sid says "Take a look at the monitor over here."

Morty goes to the monitor and sees scenes of heaven where people are quietly floating on clouds and playing harps in serene bliss. Morty turns to Sid and says "Well that's nice. Pretty boring but nice. What's Hell like?"

Sid tells him to look at the other monitor. Morty does and sees scenes of young people having sex and dancing and smoking and drinking and laughing and singing and generally having a great time.

"This is great!" says Morty. "I think I'll try Hell." Sid directs him to the elevator and instructs him to push the down arrow. Morty does so and waits for the elevator to take him to hell.

When the car stops at hell the doors spring open. Morty looks around from the elevator doorway and is shocked at what he sees. Everywhere are people burning in agony, screaming in pain, drowning and suffering. There are laughing demons with pitchforks piercing their skin. Its horrible, disgusting. Morty presses the up button and goes right back to Sid."

"What is this!? Hell is nothing like you showed me on the monitor! It was awful down there!"

Sid says, "You mean that monitor?"

"Yes," says Morty.

"Oh, well, that was just the pilot."


Q: How many Studio Executives does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: We don't know. Light bulbs last longer than studio executives.


Q: How many Screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The bulbs IN and it's staying IN!


In a Suburban Chicago Community Theater Production of Fiddler on the Roof Tevye had perhaps let his character go a little to much to his head unaware that Dennis the light board technician was capable of profoundly devious practicle jokes.

This came to fruition when Tevye was singing Sunrise, Sunset where he was blocked to sit on the permanent stairs downright. These stairs had open slats so that Dennis could see the whole stage while operating the lights.

So moving was Tevye's singing that he did not hear the quiet tap, tap, tap, of some small penny nails affixing the "skirt" of his costume to the stairs, so that when Tevye began to rise at the climax of the song, he had a little problem. Acknowledge that his costume had been nailed, very bad form. Find away to get untangled without letting the audience know what was happening, or ignore it and hope that just the nailed section tore off and not his whole nether garment.

Tevye chose to finish the song in place, rather than crossing back to where he was supposed to be and used the audience applause to cover the ripping sound as he tore his costume free.

Somehow, later in the show, a number of items in his cart, including a small apple colored water balloon, perfume scented, happened to roll between the same slats though away from the lighting board.



Hope you liked these,

Peter




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