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The 3 Most Influential Comedians In The 1900s
Transcript of The 3 Most Influential Comedians In The 1900s
2. Lenny Bruce
3. Lucille Ball
1. George Carlin
WARNING: Minor explicit language
1. George Carlin
2. Lenny Bruce
3. Lucille Ball
About The Comedians
The Comedians' Work
Born: May 12, 1937 in Bronx, New York
Popular stand-up comedian, author, and film and television actor that helped redefine an art form and opened up a new audience for stand-up comedy
Started doing stand-up comedy in the early 60s
-During this time he grew long hair and a beard and began doing different types of material to draw in a larger, youthful audience
New material revolved around drugs and the Vietnam war and America's uptight attitude toward explicit language and sex
Carlin got thrown out of many locations such as Las Vegas, the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, WS, and was banned from the Tonight Show for material that would seem tamed today
He saw the stand-up comic as a social commentator, rebel, and truth teller
70s: Challenged conventional wisdom, tweaked the hypocrisies of middle class America, and made fun of society's outrage over drugs
-Other explored topics of Carlin: politics, religion, American culture, the demise of humanity, oxymorons, social uses of euphemism, and the right to free speech
He was the first guest host of Saturday Night Live in 1975
His influence can be seen everywhere from the observational comedy of Jerry Seinfield to the political rants of Lewis Black
He has helped bring stand-up comedy to the very center of American culture by crossing lines most comedians weren't willing to take with his risque material
"Swimming is not a sport. Swimming is a way to keep from drowning. That’s just common sense!"
"If the Cincinnati Reds were really the first major league baseball team, who did they play?"
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"Seven words you can never say on television"
Carlin was most famous for the "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." In July of 1972, Carlin was arrested for violating obscenity laws in Milwaukee after this routine. The following year a legal case entered the court system when a man complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after listening to Carlin's "Filthy Words" on WBAI. This started the 5 year battle of FCC v. Pacifica Foundation. The case was over violations of the FCC regulations that prohibited obscene material. The Supreme Court ruled that Carlin's routine was "indecent but not obscene," and that the FCC could require that indecent broadcasting be aired during hours when children were not likely to be listening (10pm to 6am). His intention was to question our irrational fear of language. "There are no bad words," said Carlin. "Bad thoughts. Bad intentions. And wooords."
"The reason I talk to myself is that I'm the only one whose answers I accept."
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"
"I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me - they're cramming for their final exam."
"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth."
"I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it."
"It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do somethin’ different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard. That’s our history. We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free."
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
“The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is.”
“There is nothing sadder than an aging hipster.”
“Communism is like one big phone company.”
“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”
Born: October 13, 1925 in Mineola, New York
Lenny Bruce was an American stand-up comedian and satirist who became a target for prosecutors and a poster boy for freedom of speech
Began stand-up comedy at age 22 at a nightclub in Brooklyn
-With some help from his mother, Lenny began doing impressions, one-liners, and movie parodies in small nightclubs
After getting a divorce, he slowly began working his way up from performing stand-up comedy in New York City strip clubs and jazz clubs
What made him different from the other comics:
-edgier, controversial performances with harsh language
-His monologues were full of four letter curse words and Yiddish expressions
-Liked to expose racist attitudes by forcing his audience to examine their own racial prejudices
He was a dark, slender, and intense figure who spoke into a hand-held microphone and prowled around like a caged animal when onstage
Lenny became the hipster saint of the comedy world and crossed into the line of propriety where others feared to go
In 1961, he got arrested on obscenity charges in San Francisco, but the jury found him not guilty
In 1964, he was arrested again in New York City on more obscenity charges
-Even though he had support from noted writers, critics, educators, and politicians, Lenny was still found guilty
- He was sentenced to several months in prison
He became depressed and paranoid due to continual harassment by the police
His performances continued to center around his constitutional right of speech, free assembly, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure
#3 in Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Standups of All Time
"The liberals can understand everything but people who don't understand them."
“If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."
“When you’re eight years old nothing is your business.”
"Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it."
"All my humor is based upon destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, without disease and violence, I'd be standing on the breadline right in back of J. Edgar Hoover."
Born: August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York
Lucille Ball got her start as a singer, model, and film star before becoming one of America's top comedic actresses & was known for her blue eyes and red hair
Growing up, Ball was encouraged by her family to audition for shows and plays
-Her grandfather encouraging her to audition in school plays
-Her step father needing female entertainersfor the chorus line when she was 12
-At age 15, her mother gave her permission to enroll in the New York drama school
In the 1930s, Ball moved to Hollywood to seek out more acting opportunities
-Here she starts her career as an actress including her works as becoming a "Goldwyn Girl" in the film musical 'Roman Scandals', and minor parts in 'Stage Door', 'Room Service', and 'Sorrowful Jones'
On October 15, 1951, 'I Love Lucy' made its debut and to the television audience, it was apparent that this was a sitcom like no other
-This set the stage for a generation of family related sitcoms to come
-Her material on the show consisted of marital issues, women in the workplace, and suburban living
Her groundbreaking work in comedy paved the way for many future stars such as Mary Tyler Moore, Penny Marshall, Cybill Shepherd, and Robin Williams
For 4 of the 'I love Lucy' seasons, the sitcom was the #1 show in the country
She was the first woman to run a major television production studio
-During this time of owning the studio, she helped guide projects such as 'Star Trek' and 'Mission: Impossible' series
She was known as the "First Lady of Television"
Ball's impact on the world of comedy and the television industry in general is widely recognized for being one of the first woman to be in comedy and influencing many to come
Lucy Ricardo: Ever since we said "I do", there have been so many things that we don't.
Ethel Mertz: There's lots of things you're good at.
Lucy Ricardo: Like what?
Ethel Mertz: Well, you're awfully good at... uh... You've always been great at...
Lucy Ricardo: Those are the same ones Ricky came up with.
Lucy Ricardo: Hey, Ethel. Guess what Ricky got me!
Ethel Mertz: Um... let's see. A hat? A new dress?
Lucy Ricardo: Oh Ethel better! Think about what every woman wants from her husband!
Ethel Mertz: A divorce?
Lucy Ricardo: [Lucy gets caught spying on the neighbors] I was, uh... bird-watching!
Ricky Ricardo: Bird-watching?
Lucy Ricardo: Uh, yeah! Do you know that there's a yellow-bellied woodpecker on our lawn?
Ricky Ricardo: No, but I know that there's a red-headed cuckoo in the living room.
Lucy Ricardo: I want the names to be unique and euphonious.
Ricky Ricardo: Okay. Unique if it`s a boy, and Euphonious if it`s a girl.
Lucy Ricardo: If some other woman were to take Fred away from you, you`d be singing a different tune, too.
Ethel Mertz: Yeah, "Happy Days Are Here Again".