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This Day in Comedy History

December 1 - 7

December 1

 

1913 - Stage and screen actor Mary Martin is born in Weatherford, Texas. She is best remembered for her many musical roles, especially for playing Peter Pan on stage and on TV.

1923 - Dick Shawn, actor, comic and Hitler in Mel Brooks' original film version of The Producers, is born Richard Schulefand in Buffalo, New York.

1935 - Award winning stand-up, actor, writer, and filmmaker Woody Allen is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1940 - Stand-up comedy legend Richard Pryor is born in Peoria, Illinois.

1943 - TV Producer David Salzman (MADtv, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, In the House) is born in Brooklyn, NYC.

1945 - Singer and Tony Award winning, Oscar nominated comic actress from Broadway and such movies as Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Outrageous Fortune, Get Shorty, Ruthless People and The First Wives Club, "The Divine Miss M", Bette Midler, is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1953 - The first issue of Playboy magazine is published. The mag, featuring model and actor Marilyn Monroe on its cover, is at first sold out of Hugh Hefner’s office-slash-kitchen.

1957 - The Ed Sullivan Show features the national TV debuts of two future music legends, Buddy Holly and Sam Cooke.

1958 - The Rodgers and Hammerstein rom-com musical Flower Drum Song opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. It would last for 600 performances, running until May 1960, and win one Tony Award from six nominations.

1960 - In Flushing, Queens, NYC, Carol Alt is born. She can be seen in such films as My First Forty Years (1987), Bye Bye Baby (1988), Mortacci (1989), Speaking of the Devil (1991) and Howard Stern’s Private Parts (1997).

1961 - Actor Jeremy Northam is born in Cambridge, England. He is known for the films Emma, An Ideal Husband, Gosford Park and Martin and Lewis.

1966 - Kiwi filmmaker Andrew Adamson is born in Auckland. The Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit is best known for directing the Academy Award-winning animated comedies Shrek and Shrek 2.

1967 - He came to prominence for his role of Luis Rivera in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan (1996-2000). Nestor Carbonell is born in NYC.

1970 - Stand-up, film actress (A Million Ways To Die In The West, School Of Rock), and star of her own series The Sarah Silverman Program, Sarah Silverman is born in Bedford, New Hampshire.

1970 - Her film credits include Beauty Shop (2005) and Something New (2006), and she began her career by starring in Showtime’s comedy series Linc's (1998–2000), but she’s best known for her work in another comedy series, starring as Maya Wilkes in UPN/CW’s Girlfriends (2000-2008).

1976 - The sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey premieres on NBC. Don Rickles stars as the titular coarse navy officer. It would air until 1978.

1984 - Christopher Guest’s anchors SNL’s Weekend Update (at the time known as “Saturday Night News”) for the first time. He would hold the job until April, 1985.

1984 - The premiere of a film that would become a blockbuster, prompt a series of sequels, and propel Eddie Murphy to movie stardom, Beverly Hill Cop premieres in Los Angeles.

1989 - It’s a bad day for acting couples. In Santa Monica, Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden both file petitions for divorce, saying the split is amicable. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, James Woods and Sarah Marie Owen file for separation after four months of marriage.

1992 - The radio version that would precede the TV version, Steve Coogan’s Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge debuts on BBC Radio 4.

1995 - Four years after the beloved children’s author’s death, the University of California at San Diego renames their library Geisel Library in honour of Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel. He and his wife had made generous contributions to the school and were advocates of pro-literacy efforts.

2008 - Russell Peters plays the Madinat Arena in Dubai. It's the first night of a three-night engagement.

2008 - Actor Paul Benedict, who played English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom The Jeffersons, dies on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, at age 70.

2017 - Orny Adams' stand-up special Orny Adams: More Than Loud premieres on Showtime.

2018 - A 26 year old drunk driver in Lincoln, NB makes international headlines after crashing into a tree and getting arrested. The comedy part? In his official police statement, he tells the cops that the accident happened because he was driving with his head out the window, “like Ace Ventura”.

December 2

 

1933 - Dancing Lady, Fred Astaire’s first film, is released. Joan Crawford is his dance partner, but what appeals more to us here at the WWCAs is the inclusion of American vaudeville comedian Ted Healy “and His Stooges” - who gained much more fame on their own later, as The Three Stooges.

1946 - Director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World) is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1949 - Gene Autry’s novelty Christmas hit “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” first hits the pop charts.

1954 - Dan Butler is born in Huntington, Indiana. He’s best known for playing Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe on the sitcom Frasier (1993-2004), and also played Art in Roseanne (1991-1992), and voiced Mr. Simmons in Nickelodeon’s animated series Hey Arnold (1997-2002) and its film follow-up Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie (2017).

1956 - He began his career portraying Joe Peña, the son of Cuban immigrants, on PBS’s ¿Qué Pasa, USA? (1977–1980) - not only was it PBS’s first sitcom, it was the United States’ first bilingual sitcom. Cuban-American actor Steven Bauer is born Esteban Ernesto Echevarría Samson in Havana, Cuba.

1968 - Lucy Liu is born in Queens, NYC. She starred as Ling Woo in the legal comedy-drama series Ally McBeal (1998–2002), and as Alex Munday in Charlie's Angels (2000) and its sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003).

1968 - In Arcadia, CA, Rena Sofer is born. She is best known to comedy fans for her roles in two NBC series - playing Vicky on the sitcom Just Shoot Me!, and Susan in the short-lived US remake of Coupling.

1968 - American actress and improv comedian Suzy Nakamura is born in Chicago. She is known for her roles in the shows Dr. Ken and Avenue 5, and her many guest appearances on numerous sitcoms.

1970 - American actor-comedian Joe Lo Truglio is born in Queens, NYC. He’s best known for his role as Charles Boyle on the Fox/NBC sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and was also on the sketch series The State and cop comedy Reno 911! Film roles include Wet Hot American Summer, I Love You Man, Superbad, Paul, Role Models and Wanderlust.

1988 - Based on the short-lived Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker TV show, the comedy classic The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! opens in theatres. Unlike the TV series, also starring Leslie Nielsen, the film would be a box office smash and spawn two sequels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAXlWVKcGjM

1990 - Actor Katharine Hepburn makes a rare appearance, to accept the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Washington, D.C.

1996 - Actor Burt Reynolds files for bankruptcy… where the heck did all that Smokey & The Bandit money go?!

1997 - Good Will Hunting, co-starring Robin Williams, is released. Williams would go on to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role.

2006 - During a set by Canadian comedian Ian Bagg at The Improv in L.A., Andy Dick jumps onstage and uses the N-word, apparently attempting to mimic Michael Richards’ recent scandalous set at the club. He would later issue an apology.

2013 - Looking to build up Canadian box office for the upcoming release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy flies to Winnipeg to take in curling’s Roar of the Rings event and help out with the national broadcast on TSN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZxHJ1mWEGo

2019 - The podcast Artie Lange's Halfway House, with co-host Mike Bocchetti, premieres.

2020 - Stage and screen actor Pamela Tiffin passes away in Manhattan, NYC at age 78. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her supporting role in Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three (1961). Other notable comedy credits include The Hallelujah Trail (1965), The Pleasure Seekers (1964), Come Fly with Me (1963), Torture Me But Kill Me with Kisses (1968), Viva Max (1969), For Those Who Think Young (1964) and The Archangel (1969).

2020 - Character actor who played many roles in comedy films, TV shows and Broadway plays, Warren Berlinger dies of cancer in hospital in Valencia, California at the age of 83.

 

December 3

1927 - Groundbreaking Canadian-British stage and TV actress Isabelle Lucas is born in Toronto. She moved from Toronto’s theatre scene as a young adult to West End productions and then on to ITV’s The Fosters - the first British sitcom with an all-black cast.

1931 - Actor who rose to stardom in the silent era then successfully made the transition to “talkies” where she was the top box office draw in the world for 1928 and 1929 and earned the title of Hollywood’s “It Girl”, Clara Bow marries politician Rex Bell in Las Vegas.

1941 - Stage and screen actor Mary Alice is born with the full name of Mary Alice Smith in Indianola, Mississippi. The Tony Award winner is best known for playing Lettie in NBC's The Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World (1987–1989).

1943 - In Galveston, Texas, Valerie Perrine is born. She’s best known for playing Honey Bruce (a showgirl and Lenny Bruce’s real life wife) in the biopic Lenny (1984), for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, and won the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles and the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress. Her other film appearances include Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), Mr. Billion (1977), The Electric Horseman (1979), Can’t Stop the Music (1980), Water (1985) and Maid to Order (1987).

1951 - The Rice Twins - John and Greg - are born in West Palm Beach, FL. The identical twin dwarfs, who held the world record for shortest twins, were experts in the real estate and motivational speaking world but began a career in the TV and film industry when Jerry Lewis cast them in his first film in a decade, Hardly Working (1980). They are best known to comedy fans for their appearances in ad campaigns for pizza and a pest control company.

1952 - English sketch comedian Mel Smith is born in Chiswick, London. He’s best known for his work on two sketch series: Not the Nine O'Clock News, and Alas Smith and Jones, with his comedy partner Griff Rhys Jones.

1956 - Canadian actor Hart Bochner is born in Toronto. He has appeared in such films such as Breaking Away (1979), The Wild Life (1984), Making Mr. Right (1987), Mr. Destiny (1990) and Spread (2009).

1960 - Darryl Hannah - of Summer Lovers (1982), Splash (1984), Roxanne (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), Crazy People (1990), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) and Grumpy Old Men (1993) fame - is born in Chicago.

1960 - From her film debut in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) to an ensemble turn in Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993) and then starring roles in Nine Months (1995), The Kids Are All Right (2010) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), this Oscar, BAFTA, two time Emmy and three time Golden Globe winner has proven she’s got serious comedy chops. Julianne Moore is born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. And we saved her best comedy credit for last: The Big Lebowski (1998).

1961 - Irish silent film actress who made more than 80 films in her short career (1912-1920), including Upstairs and Down (1919), Mary Charleson passes away in Los Angeles at the age of 71.

1965 - Two time Emmy nominee Steve Harris is born in Chicago. He played Charles McCarter in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

1966 - Television sitcom stars slash pop group The Monkees make their live concert debut at the Honolulu International Centre Arena, in Hawaii.

1968 - Star of Encino Man (1992), George of the Jungle (1997), Bedazzled (2000), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), the under-rated Blast from the Past (1999) and pretty-much-spot-on-rated Dudly Do-Right (1999), Canadian-American actor Brendan Fraser is born in Indianapolis. And we think his The Mummy franchise has more than enough comedy to warrant being included here too, so we'll go ahead and mention that as well... The Mummy!... There.

1968 - So what if he’s only got one movie credit? It’s a doozie! The guy who played Ferris in Party Camp (1987) - Kevin Telles is born in Los Angeles.

1968 - Writer/director Herb Gardner’s dramedy The Goodbye People premieres on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Despite boasting a cast that includes Milton Berle, Brenda Vaccaro, Bob Dishy and Tony Lo Bianco, the play would close just four days later, after lasting just seven performances and 16 previews. It did make a mark however, as despite its short run Vaccaro was nominated for the 1969 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. And 16 years later is was adapted into a film starring Martin Balsam, Pamela Reed, Judd Hirsch and Michael Tucker.

1970 - Actor Malinda Williams is born in Elizabeth, NJ. Her film credits include A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), High School High (1996), and The Wood (1999).

1971 - She is best known for her role as Audrey Malone in the Showtime comedy-drama series Beggars and Choosers (1999–2000) - Keegan Connor Tracy is born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

1976 - Her film credits include the screwball comedy Easy Living (1937), the hit rom-com The Philadelphia Story (1940) and The Human Comedy (1943). Vaudeville, Broadway and screen actor Mary Nash passes away in her sleep in her Los Angeles home at the age of 92.

1976 - The classic Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor adventure comedy Silver Streak hits theatres... like a runaway train! (We're sorry, but it was right there and we just had to.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ_1MkOVnNM

1979 - Comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) is born in Los Angeles.

1980 - Anna Chlumsky, American actress known for My Girl and Veep, is born in Chicago.

1981 - Former child actor Brian Bonsall is born in Torrance, CA. He’s best known for playing the youngest Keaton child, Andy, on the hit NBC sitcom Family Ties (1986-1989).

1985 - At the 7th ACE Cable Awards, Shelley Duvall wins the Golden Cable ACE Award for her fantasy/comedy/adventure series Faerie Tale Theatre.

1985 - Actor Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia) is born in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

1987 - Actor known for his roles in the films Sky High (2005), The English Teacher (2013) and Sun Dogs (2017), as well as the crime comedy TV series Cover Me (2000-2001), Michael Angarano is born in Brooklyn, NYC.

1989 - After the death of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, the other members of the troupe stayed away from the family’s private service to prevent it from becoming a media circus. A public service finally took place at St. Bartholomew's on this date, featuring a memorable remembrance from John Cleese, words from Michael Palin, and a rousing version of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life featuring Eric Idle and ensemble.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm2XPkqENaw

1992 - Spanish-born, Mexican filmmaker Luis Alcoriza, best known for his Academy Award for Best Foreign Language nominated film Tlayucan (1962), passes away in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico at age 74.

1992 - The Simpsons reminisce about the events leading up to when Lisa spoke her first word. Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor guests to deliver the that single word in Lisa’s First Word, airing on this date on Fox.

1993 - South African actor known for Oh Shucks! Here Comes U.N.T.A.G! (1990) and Toothman and Killer (1990), Thomas Mogotlane passes away in Ga-rankuwa, Transvaal at the age of 40.

1994 - Best known for his role as Max Russo on the Disney Channel teen fantasy sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place, and as the voice of Diego on the Nickelodeon animated series Go, Diego, Go!, Jake T. Austin is born Jake Austin Szymanski in NYC.

1995 - British comedic actor Jimmy Jewel (The Avengers, Thicker Than Water), perhaps best remembered for his 32 year partnership with his cousin Ben Warriss as the comedy team Jewel and Warriss, who had their own TV series It’s a Living (1962), dies the day before his 86th birthday in London, England.

1999 – Madeline Kahn, the American actress, comedian, and singer best known for her roles in several of Mel Brooks’ movies (including Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles), dies of ovarian cancer at 57. She had been co-starring in the sitcom Cosby at the time, and an episode of that series was dedicated to her after her passing, with her castmates’ sharing their fondest remembrances of her.

2000 - Hoyt Curtin, the American composer who created many of Hanna-Barbera’s best cartoon theme songs, dies at age 78 in Thousand Oaks, CA.

2002 - Irish actor Glenn Quinn dies of a heroin overdose in North Hollywood, California at the age of 32. Quinn is best remembered for playing Becky’s not-so-bright boyfriend then husband Mark in the sitcom Roseanne.

2003 - She had roles in such films as Sing You Sinners (1938) opposite Bing Crosby, Christmas in July (1940) and the rom-com Man Alive (1945). Ellen Drew passes away from a liver ailment in Palm Desert, CA, at the age of 89.

2007 - Award winning Australian cartoonist James Kemsley, best known for succeeding Jimmy Bancks as the author of Australia’s longest running comic strip Ginger Meggs in 1984, passes away at his home in Bowral, New South Wales. He had been suffering from a motor neuron disease for two years, but continued to produce Ginger Meggs right up until his death.

2011 - Indian comedian, actor and filmmaker Dharam Devdutt "Dev" Anand passes away at age 88. With a career spanning more than six decades, he is one of the best known actors in the history of Indian cinema. Anand died in his room at The Washington Mayfair Hotel in London, England, just two months after the release of his final film, Chargesheet.

2013 - Amy Poehler receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2017 - CBS airs The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Special, featuring some of the most popular clips from the beloved variety show’s 11 year run, with dozens of celebrity guests.

2017 - Based on Mary Walsh’s short-lived 2005 CBC sitcom Hatching, Matching, and Dispatching, which co-starred Mark McKinney, Shaun Majumder, Joel Thomas Hynes, Jonny Harris and Susan Kent, the TV movie Christmas Fury premieres on the same network. Walsh and McKinney would pick up Canadian Screen Award nominations for their acting.

2018 - Actor Philip Bosco, best remembered for his Tony Award-winning performance as Saunders in the 1989 Broadway production of Lend Me a Tenor, and for his starring role in the film The Savages (2007), passes away in his home in Haworth, New Jersey, of complications related to dementia. In his long career he appeared in a very impressive list of comedy films. It's too long to name them all, so we'll just mention one of our fave Bosco credits here at the WWCAs: his small but very funny Bus Driver role in Bill Murray’s underrated gem Quick Change (1990).

2018 - 7-year old Ryan of Ryan Toysreview is announced as the year's highest-paid YouTube star earning $22 million.

December 4

 

1909 - British comedian and actor Jimmy Jewel, remembered for his many acting roles and his 32 year partnership with his cousin Ben Warriss as the comedy team Jewel and Warriss, is born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.

1921 - Star of many comedy musicals, Deanna Durbin, is born Edna Mae Durbin in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1937 - Max Baer Jr. is born in Oakland, CA. He is of course most famous for playing best known for playing Uncle Jed’s wife-seeking, dim-witted nephew Jethro Bodine on the enduring, smash hit sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.

1949 - Oscar winning actor Jeff Bridges is born in Los Angeles. Among the many notable films he has starred in are the comedies Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), The Fisher King (1991) and, of course, as The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998).

1951 - Actor Patricia Wettig is born in Milford, Ohio. Her film credits include City Slickers (1991), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994), Bongwater (1997) and Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998).

1964 - Chelsea Noble is born in Cheektowaga, NY. She is best known for her sitcom roles as Kate in Growing Pains (1989–1992) and Elizabeth in Kirk (1995-1996), with her real life boyfriend-then-husband Kirk Cameron.

1964 - Academy Award winning actress Marisa Tomei is born in NYC. She came to prominence as part of the cast of The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World before making it big in movies like Only You (1994), The Paper (1994), Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), What Women Want (2000), Anger Management (2003), Wild Hogs (2007), Cyrus (2010), Parental Guidance (2012), The Big Short (2015), The King of Staten Island (2020) and, of course, the legal comedy classic that won her the Oscar, My Cousin Vinny (1992).

1966 - In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Fred Armisen is born. A former Saturday Night Live cast member, he also co-created and co-starred in the sketch comedy series Portlandia and the mockumentary series Documentary Now! on IFC.

1970 - American actor and comedian who played Walter on the ABC comedy-drama Ugly Betty and Stuart Bloom on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Kevin Sussman is born on Staten Island in NYC.

1976 - Tony Randall sits in judgement on the cover of TV Guide.

1976 - Superstar actress Elizabeth Taylor marries Senator John Warner of Virginia. They would divorce in 1982.

1986 - SCTV legends Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas host the first-ever Gemini Awards.

1987 - Former child actor Orlando Brown is born in L.A. He’s best known for his roles in several sitcoms, playing 3J in Family Matters (1996–1998), Nelson in The Jamie Foxx Show (1996-2001), Max in Two of a Kind (1998–1999), Sticky Webb in The Proud Family (2001–2005), and Eddie in That's So Raven (2003–2007). His film roles include Major Payne (1995) and Max Keeble's Big Move (2001).

1993 - Beloved weirdo musician and actor Frank Zappa dies at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 52.

2007 - Scarlett Estevez is born. As a child actress she played Megan in Daddy's Home (2015) and Daddy's Home 2 (2017), and on TV she played Gwen in Disney Channel’s series Bunk'd (2019).

2008 - Comedy TV and film star Simon Pegg is awarded an honorary fellowship by the University of Gloucestershire.

2013 - Emerson College renames its School of Communication "The Ron Burgundy School of Communication" for a day, two weeks before the Will Ferrell film Anchorman 2 opens in theatres.

2013 - The TV Land sitcom Kirstie premieres, starring Kirstie Alley as Maddie Banks, Rhea Perlman as her secretary, Eric Petersen as Maddie’s son, and Michael Richards as her driver. Despite impressive guest stars and a Hot in Cleveland crossover event, the show would be canceled after one season of 12 episodes.

2015 - For his entertainment contributions, and for his charitable efforts that have raised billions, comedian Lenny Henry is Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.  As an aside to the man’s great accomplishments, in the coverage of the event ATV News mistakenly posts footage of celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott instead of Henry. Oops.

2020 - David L. Lander, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984, passes away from the disease at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 73. Lander is best remembered for playing Squiggy on the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley, and for serving as a Goodwill ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He was also one of the members of the "classic lineup" of LA radio's influential Credibility Gap sketch comedy troupe, with Richard Beebe, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer.

 

December 5

1952 - The Abbott & Costello Show premieres. It would run for two seasons on US TV.

1956 - Actor Brian Backer is born in NYC. He is best known for starring as “Rat” in the hit coming-of-age high school/sex comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). His other movies include Moving Violations (1985) and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987). Also a stage actor, he won the 1981 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for his role in Woody Allen's The Floating Light Bulb (1981).

1962 - With a police officer literally proclaiming “show’s over, ladies and gentlemen”, Lenny Bruce is arrested onstage during a performance at Chicago’s Gate of Horn on a count of obscenity. Also arrested, for failing to produce ID to the police, young and impressionable comic George Carlin.

1968 - Best known for her honest and challenging stand-up and her series All-American Girl, Margaret Cho is born in San Francisco.

1969 - British Comedy Award winner for Best Comedy Newcomer and Best TV Comedy Actress for her series The Catherine Tate Show, also known for Big School and the American version of The Office, Catherine Tate is born in Bloomsbury, London, England.

1969 - Actress Alex Kapp Horner is born in NYC. She’s best known for playing Lindsey in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-2010).

1971 - Best known for playing mom slash vice principal Karen Rooney in Disney Channel’s sitcom Liv and Maddie, and Marcy in the CBS sitcom Man with a Plan, Kali Rocha is born in Memphis, TN.

1974 - The final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus airs on BBC2. Sketches include Party Political Broadcast, Patient Abuse and Batsmen of the Kalahari.

1975 - Gallagher made his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he demonstrated his new prop: "The Tonight Show Home Game".

1975 - In Los Angeles, Paula Patton is born. The actor has appeared in such films as Hitch (2005), 2 Guns (2013), Baggage Claim (2013) and The Perfect Match (2016).

1981 - The TV version of the popular Goldie Hawn flick, Lorna Patterson from Private Benjamin sits in on the cover of TV Guide.

1982 - Gabriel Luna is born in Austin, TX. His film roles include Bernie (2011), Balls Out (2014) and Gravy (2015).

1984 - Joe Flaherty and Andrea Martin host the Juno Awards from Exhibition Place in Toronto, where the Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis (Bob and Doug MacKenzie) album “Strange Brew” wins the Best Comedy Recording trophy. Sadly, the category is then discontinued.

1985 - Frankie Muniz is born in Wood-Ridge, NJ. Best known for starring as the titular Malcolm in the Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2000–2006), his film roles include Big Fat Liar (2002), Agent Cody Banks (2003) and Racing Stripes (2005).

1988 - Comedian and former child actor Ross Bagley, who played Nicky Banks in Will Smith’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is born in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

2003 - Actor Gwyneth Paltrow marries Coldplay singer Chris Martin in Santa Barbara County, California. They would later split up.

2005 - Actor Valerie Bertinelli files for divorce from Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen. They were married in 1981.

December 6

 

1948 - Her film credits include Stir Crazy (1980), The Big Chill (1983) and Teachers (1984). JoBeth Williams is born in Houston, TX.

1953 - Oscar nominated, Tony Award winning actor Tom Hulce is born in Detroit, MI. He is perhaps best known for playing Larry "Pinto" Kroger in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978).

1955 - Unique in his deadpan, laconic delivery of sharp irony and one liners, stand-up Steven Wright is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1962 - In Lincoln, Nebraska, actor Janine Turner is born. She’s best known for co-starring as Maggie O'Connell in the comedy-drama series Northern Exposure.

1967 - Filmmaker responsible for such films as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Funny People (2009), This Is 40 (2012), Trainwreck (2015), and The King of Staten Island (2020), and such TV series as Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000), Undeclared (2001–2002), Funny or Die Presents (2010–2011), Girls (2012–2017), Love (2016–2018), and Crashing (2017–2019) - Judd Apatow is born in New York City.

1980 - Popeye hits the big screen, starring Robin Williams as the muscular sailor-hero.

1980 - Diff’rent Strokes stars Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman wrestle their way onto the cover of TV Guide.

1994 - The Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels comedy classic Dumb & Dumber premieres in Hollywood, CA… just in time for Oscar consideration!

2013 - It was announced that Eddie Murphy would star in the fourth film of the Beverly Hills Cop series. Brett Ratner would direct the film, and Jerry Bruckheimer would produce.

2019 - Andy Dick checks into LA county jail to serve a 14 day sentence for sexual battery after grabbing a woman’s bum twice as she was walking on the sidewalk. Dick initially was sentenced to community service, but did not complete it. However, due to overcrowding, he would be released after just one day.

December 7

 

1801 - Most of his works are German language Possen mit Gesang (“farces with singing”). He also produced a number of operatic parodies (including Cendrillion, La Cenerentola, Lohengrin, Martha, Robert le diable, Tannhäuser and Zampa) as well as works parodying popular dramas (including Karl von Holtei's Lorbeerbaum und Bettelstab and Raupach's Robert der Teufel). From Graz and Pressburg to a residency at Theater an der Wien, his more than 80 comedy works, famed for their social criticism and biting satire, live on - and continue to be produced - today. Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy is born in Vienna.

1892 - Legendary stage actress of Old Vic, West End and Broadway fame who also appeared in such films as Raising a Riot (1955), Law and Disorder (1958), The Captain's Table (1959) and Say Hello to Yesterday (1970), Nora Nicholson is born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England.

1893 - Academy Award winning Broadway and film actress Fay Bainter is born in Los Angeles. Her film credits include The Arkansas Traveler (1938), the screwball comedy Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939), Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1942), The Human Comedy (1943), Presenting Lily Mars (1943) and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946).

1910 - Canadian actor whose movie credits include The Quarterback (1940), Henry Aldrich for President (1941), Honeymoon Lodge (1943), Swing Out, Sister (1945) and Strike It Rich (1948), Rod Cameron is born in Calgary, Alberta. FUN FACT: Director William Witney dubbed Cameron “the bravest man I’ve ever seen” not because of his many cowboy and police roles, but because he had the nerve to divorce his wife and then marry her mother, in 1960.

1915 - He won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his debut movie performance in Baby Doll (1956). Other comedy credits include Kisses for My President (1964), How to Steal a Million (1966), The Tiger Makes Out (1967), How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968), Tough Guys (1986), The Associate (1996), Keeping the Faith (2000) and The Holiday (2006). Also a Tony, Emmy and Honorary Oscar winner, acting great Eli Wallach is born in Brooklyn, NYC.

1923 - Ted Knight is born with the slightly less “showbizzy” name Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka, in Terryville, Connecticut. He’s well known to film fans for playing arrogant country club co-founder Judge Smails in Caddyshack, while on TV he boasted two starring roles in sitcoms, as vain buffoon anchorman Ted Baxter in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and as Henry Rush in Too Close for Comfort.

1925 - After a premiere show two weeks earlier in New Jersey, Noel Coward’s three act rom-com Easy Virtue opens in New York, making it his first play to premiere outside of England. Coward, who wrote the play at age 25, said that his goal was to present a comedy in the structure of a tragedy "to compare the déclassée woman of to-day with the more flamboyant demi-mondaine of the 1890s". It would run for 147 performances before moving to the West End in London for another successful run, and has since been adapted twice into films.

1932 - “Triple Crown of Acting” winner (at least one Academy Award, Tony and Emmy) Ellen Burstyn is born in Detroit. She won her Academy Award for Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), her Tony Award for her role in the play Same Time, Next Year in 1975, and a Golden Globe for her performance in the film version of that play in 1978. Other comedy credits include the series That’s Life (2000-2002) and Louie (2014), the miniseries Political Animals (2012), and the movies Same Time, Next Year (1978), Walking Across Egypt (1999), Wiener-Dog (2016) and Queen Bees (2021).

1937 - Comedian and character actor Larry Hankin is born in New York City. He is known for his film roles as Ace in Running Scared (1986), Carl Alphonse in Billy Madison (1995), Doobie in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) and Sergeant Balzak in Home Alone (1990). He also played Mr. Heckles in the sitcom Friends.

1940 - English stand-up comic Stan Boardman, famous for his anti-German jokes, is born in Liverpool, Lancashire.

1954 - Actress and comedian Julie Halston is born Julie Abatelli in Flushing, Queens, NYC. Her movie credits include Addams Family Values, I Think I Love My Wife and Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks and Celebrity.

1956 - Canadian actor of the silent and early “talkie” film eras Huntley Gordon passes away after suffering a heart attack in Van Nuys, CA. His film credits include The Common Cause (1919), Why Announce Your Marriage? (1922), Bluebeard’s 8th Wife (1923), Don't Tell the Wife (1927), A Certain Young Man (1928) and She Had to Choose (1934).

1958 - “... And me, I’m Edd Hall!” TV announcer Edd Hall, who replaced Ed McMahon as The Tonight Show’s announcer after Johnny Carson’s retirement, and then introduced Jay Leno from 1992-2004, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1959 - Charlie Hall, English comedic actor most famous for playing Laurel & Hardy’s “Little Nemesis” in nearly 50 of their films, including Tit for Tat and A Chump at Oxford, is born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

1969 - Stand-up comedian Patrice O’Neal is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1969 - The animated kids’ Christmas special Frosty the Snowman first airs, on CBS.

1969 - On the Monty Python’s Flying Circus episode Full Frontal Comedy, pieces include Army Protection Racket, Hell’s Grannies and what would become one of their most famous pieces ever, the Dead Parrot sketch.

1975 - Actor Hardie Albright, whose movies include Hush Money (1931), The Working Man (1933), Women Must Dress (1935), Ladies Love Danger (1935), Bachelor Daddy (1941) and Army Wives (1944), dies of congestive heart failure in Mission Viejo, CA.

1986 - Lucille Ball becomes a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

1989 - In Wokingham, Berkshire, English actor Nicholas Hoult is born. He’s famous for playing Marcus Brewer in the comedy-drama About a Boy (2002), and for playing Tony Stonem in E4’s teen comedy-drama series Skins (2007–2008).

1990 - Tim Burton’s fantasy-drama-comedy mashup movie Edward Scissorhands opens.

1990 - Ted Turner and Jane Fonda announce their engagement.

1993 - Robert Goulet undergoes prostate cancer surgery.

1994 - Howard Stern makes national news by preventing a man from jumping off the George Washington Bridge in NYC by keeping him on the line for five minutes until Port Authority Police, whose tour commander was listening to the show, arrived and took the man, who was using cocaine, into custody. Senator Al D'Amato and Ed Koch, former-Mayor of New York City, called in to congratulate Stern.

2011 - Colonel Sherman T. Potter on M*A*S*H and Officer Bill Gannon on the series Dragnet (a role he would reprise in the Tom Hanks/Dan Aykroyd 1987 flick of the same name), Harry Morgan dies peacefully in his sleep in his Los Angeles home at the age of 96.

2011 - A day before the 56th anniversary of the release of the hit “Ealing Comedy” film it was based on, a stage adaptation of The Ladykillers penned by Graham Linehan opens at the Gielgud Theatre in London, following a Liverpool Playhouse premiere and revues in November. After proving a success, the play would be extended, then remounted domestically and abroad (at the Shaw Festival in Ontario, Canada).

2013 - Filmmaker known for such comedies as Oscar, Hibernatus, My Uncle Benjamin, Dracula and Son, and especially the Academy Award-nominated La Cage aux Folles, which was adapted into a US version starring Robin Williams, Édouard Molinaro dies of a respiratory insufficiency in Bordeaux, France at age 85.

2013 - Saturday Night Live includes the final (so far) Bill Brasky sketch, with the Bill Brasky Buddies (Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Taran Killam and Kenan Thompson) drunkenly reminiscing about their superhuman buddy Bill at a Chuck E. Cheese.

2014 - American radio and TV host John Bartholomew Tucker, perhaps best remembered for his work as a host on the pioneering hidden camera “prank” show Candid Camera, dies at age 84 in Hastings On Hudson, New York.

2018 - Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling get their prints in the concrete at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

2018 - Comedian Kevin Hart steps down as 2019 Oscars host after his history of homophobic statements is revealed.

2019 - Andy Dick is released from L.A. county jail after serving just one day of his two week sentence for sexual battery due to overcrowding. Dick had grabbed a woman’s bum twice as she walked on the sidewalk, and was initially sentenced to community service, but didn't complete it.

2020 - Natalie Desselle-Reid passes away at 53 years of age, due to colon cancer. She is best remembered for the films B.A.P.S., Madea's Big Happy Family, and Def Jam's How to Be a Player, and for the television series Built to Last, For Your Love, and Eve.