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This Day in Comedy History

February 22 - February 29

February 22

February 22
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1979 - John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd (as The Blues Brothers) take over the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

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1992 - Mike Myers’ Coffee Talk with Linda Richman was a popular recurring sketch, and on this night Linda’s guests include Roseanne (SNL's guest host) and Madonna (a special guest)... but it gets extra special when Barbara Streisand surprises the trio.

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1999 - As a means to promote Canadian sketch talent, Royal Canadian Air Farce’s Roger Abbott and Don Ferguson produced the series SketchCom. The final episode airs on this date with featured troupes The Chumps and Local Anxiety.

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1998 - On The Simpsons episode The Last Temptation of Krust, Krusty the Clown tries his hand at edgy, topical humour. Comedian guests there to guide him on this transformation journey include Jay Leno, Janeane Garofalo, Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Bruce Baum.

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2007 - Originally broadcast on BBC2, and with original guests Elijah Wood, Kim Cattrall, and Heloise and the Savoir Faire, the fun loving, star packed British comedy chat-fest The Graham Norton Show makes its debut.

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Born On This Day

1907 - A cast member of both the Jack Benny and Martin and Lewis radio shows, producer and director of The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and actor in The Brink's Job,  Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man, Guys and Dolls, and let's not forget It’s a Wonderful Life, Sheldon Leonard is born in New York City. 

1918 - A member of the Television Hall of Fame for a wide range of work, not the least of which was a 38-year stretch as the show announcer for Saturday Night Live, Don Pardo is born on this day in Westfield, Massachusetts. 

1926 - British comic Kenneth Williams, who would appear in more of the Carry On series of films than any other actor, is born in King’s Cross, London.

1928 - Cartoonist, stand-up, and actor from Sixteen Candles, Breaking Away, Runaway Bride, Waiting for Guffman, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Grace Under Fire and more, Paul Dooley is born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. 


1933 - British-Canadian improv pioneer Keith Johnstone is born in Devon, England. Johnstone is best known for inventing the Impro System, including “Theatresports”, "Gorilla Theatre", "Micetro" or "Maestro", and "Life Game".

1940 - Julian Chagrin, British-Israeli mime and comedy actor, is born in London, UK.

1950 - American actress Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors) is born in Brooklyn, NY.

1950 - British actress Julie Walters (Billy Elliott, Educating Rita, Mamma Mia, Paddington 1 & 2) is born in Birmingham, UK.

1966 - Second City Chicago alum, SNL cast member, and Tina Fey go-to on 30 Rock, Rachel Dratch born in Lexington, Massachusetts.

1967 - Not just a producer and showrunner of the series, but also Toby the HR rep on The Office, Paul Lieberstein born in Westport, Connecticut. 


1975 - Actor, producer, director, author, talk show host, and nine other things, Drew Barrymore is born in Culver City, California.


1983 - Last Comic Standing winner and star of The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show, Iliza Shlesinger is born in New York City.

February 23

February 23

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1965 - Stan Laurel, half of the legendary comedy team Laurel & Hardy, passes away aged 74 in Santa Monica, CA.

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1979 - A basketball comedy featuring Gabe Kaplan, Harold Sylvester, basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King, and a young Laurence Fishburne in one of his first film roles, Fast Break premieres in Los Angeles.

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1983 - At the 25th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A., the trophy for Best Comedy Recording goes to Richard Pryor for Live on the Sunset Strip, his fifth win in the category.

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1987 - A series revolving around a Toronto youth drop-in centre that starred Lally Cadeau, David Eisner, and Ruth Springord, and gave career boosts to the likes of Keanu Reeves and Eric McCormack, the final episode of the long-running CBC show Hangin’ In airs.

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1995 - Weird Al Yankovic’s Al-Can Tour - four shows in Alaska followed by 25 dates across Canada, then one in New York state and one in California - kicks off at Central High School in the remote community of Kenai.

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2001 - The fantastical black comedy Monkeybone opens in theatres. The ensemble cast includes Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Giancarlo Esposito, Dave Foley, Megan Mullally, Rose McGowan, Chris Kattan, and Bob Odenkirk.

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2003 - The 45th Annual Grammy Awards take place. The Best Spoken Word Comedy Album trophy goes to Robin Williams - Live on Broadway.

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2004 - Would it be the last time we see Carrie and her friends? Would she and Big ever get it together? The Sex and the City finale airs.

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2008 - A nine-foot statue of Welsh comedy great Tommy Cooper is unveiled by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the comic’s birthplace of Caerphilly. Hopkins says: "I am delighted to be unveiling a statue which will commemorate not just one of my heroes, but one of the greatest comics of all time."

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2019 - The 39th Golden Raspberry Awards announce their picks for worst films of the year, and it’s a big one for comedy, with Will Ferrell’s Holmes & Watson leading the way with four trophies, including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actor (John C. Reilly) and Worst Remake or Sequel.

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2019 - Two time Golden Globe winner for her roles on Soap and Who’s the Boss?, actress Katherine Helmond passes away at 89.

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Born On This Day

1938 - Best known for his work in the Guy Ritchie comedies Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, actor Alan Ford is born in Camberwell, London, England.


1951 - Best known as Tim Allen’s wife Jill Taylor on Home Improvement, Patricia Richardson is born in Bethesda, Maryland. 

1965 - Film, television, and stage actress from films including Couples Retreat, Deck the Halls, and Jack and Jill, but best known as Charlotte in the Sex and the City franchise, Kristin Davis is born in Boulder, Colorado. 


1968 - Skippy from Family Ties,  stand-up comedian Marc Price is born in New Jersey.


1970 - Actress Niecy Nash (Reno 911!, Getting On, The Soul Man, Claws) is born in Palmdale, California. 


1976 - From a first film appearance in Trainspotting through to Nanny McPhee, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story and more, acclaimed actress Kelly Macdonald is born in Glasgow, Scotland.

1983 - Actor, stand-up, director, writer and producer from Master of None and Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari is born in Columbia, South Carolina.

1983 - Actor Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Your Sister’s Sister, Mary Poppins Returns) is born in Wandsworth, London, England.

February 24

February 24

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1979 - While he would return two years later when the series is picked up by NBC, becoming SCTV Network 90, John Candy makes his last appearance on the original SCTV.

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1982 - The 24th Annual Grammy Awards are held at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA. Best Comedy Recording goes to Richard Pryor for Rev. Du Rite.

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1991 - Talk show and Hollywood Squares mainstay, and star of his own series The George Gobel Show, gentle comic George Gobel passes away at age 71.

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1993 - The 35th Annual Grammys are held at Shrine Auditorium in L.A., hosted by Garry Shandling. In a move akin to Jethro Tull beating out Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Recording, Peter Schickele wins Best Comedy album for P.D.Q. Bach: Music for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion, where they play classical music with elements of slapstick that you can't see on a recording. It was P.D.Q. Bach's 4th consecutive win, having beating out the likes of George Burns, Rita Rudner, Jonathan Winters and Weird Al Yankovic.

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1999 - At the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Rosie O'Donnell in L.A., the Best Spoken Comedy Album trophy is presented to comedy legends Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000.

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2006 - A five-time Emmy winner known for Barney Fife, Mr. Furley, Mr. Limpet, and Mr. Chicken, actor Don Knotts passes away at age 81.

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2008 - In response to his girlfriend Sarah Silverman's “I'm f***ing Matt Damon” video, Jimmy shows off his "I'm f***ing Ben Affleck" tape on his Jimmy Kimmel Live post Oscars show.

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2013 - At 22 years of age, Jennifer Lawrence wins the Best Actress Academy Award for her role in the rom-com-drama Silver Linings Playbook. Mind the stairs though, Jen…

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2014 - Late Night with Seth Myers makes its debut with guests Amy Poehler,  Vice-President Joe Biden, and musical guest A Great Big World.

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Born On This Day

1921 - Best known (not counting Tessio in The Godfather) for the character Phil Fish from the two series Barney Miller and Fish, actor Abe Vigoda is born in Brooklyn, New York.


1932 - Animal House’s Dean Wormer, Canadian actor John Vernon born in Zehner, Saskatchewan.


1942 - Australian playwright and screenwriter David K. Williamson is born in Melbourne.


1944 - Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spin City) is born in San Mateo, CA.

1966 - Comic, actor, author, and one half of the TV duo Armstrong and Miller, Ben Miller (Armstrong and Miller, Johnny English, The Worst Week of My Life) is born in London, England. 


1968 - Revered stand-up Mitch Hedberg is born in St. Paul, Minnesota.

February 25

February 25
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1968 - Comic Phyllis Diller, known for her madcap persona, signature laugh, and husband named Fang, gets the cover of TV Guide.

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1980 - Starring Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds, the British political comedy Yes, Minister debuts on BBC2.

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1981 - He can’t say he don’t get no respect any more! At the 23rd Annual Grammy Awards, and after more than 40 years in the business, Rodney Dangerfield wins Best Comedy Recording for his album No Respect, his first Grammy ever. Paul Simon hosted the awards, which were celebrated at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall after many years in L.A.

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1986 - Best Comedy Recording goes to Whoopi Goldberg - Original Broadway Show Recording at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A. It is the first prize she captures as part of her eventual EGOT.

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1998 - Chris Rock wins the Best Spoken Comedy Album trophy for Roll with the New at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Kelsey Grammer at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

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2000 - An American, British, Japanese and German co-production, the Michael Douglas film Wonder Boys is released. It also stars Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, and Robert Downey Jr.

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2005 - Known for films including Jerry Lewis’ first solo effort The Delicate Delinquent (in the Dean Martin role), A Christmas Story, and Billy Madison, as well as his Emmy-winning turn as Murphy’s father on Murphy Brown, actor Darren McGavin passes away aged 83.

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Born On This Day

1901 - The youngest of the legendary Marx Brothers team, actor, comedian, and eventually theatrical agent Herbert Manfred “Zeppo” Marx is born in New York City. 


1904 - British character actress known for The Benny Hill Show, Up Pompeii, Til Death Us Do Part, and Q6, Rita Webb is born in Willesden, Middlesex, England.


1913 - Both the voice of Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island, Jim Backus is born in Cleveland.

1928 - Creator and producer of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, M*A*S*H’s Larry Gelbart is born in Chicago.


1934 - At six foot seven he was a towering figure through 14 films in the Carry On series as well as Up Pompeii, The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, and Jabberwocky, actor Bernard Bresslaw is born in Stepney, London, England.


1944 - Kristina Holland (The Courtship of Eddie’s Father) is born in Fayetteville, North Carolina.


1964 - Arena-packing stand-up and comic actor (There’s Something About Mary, Mouse Hunt, The Ladies Man, Funny Bones), Lee Evans is born in Avonmouth, Bristol, England.

1965 - Comic Carrot Top born in Rockledge, Florida under the real name Scott Thompson.

1966 - Actor Tea Leoni (Flirting With Disaster, Fun With Dick and Jane, Ghost Town, Tower Heist) is born in New York City.

1975 - Comic, actress, producer, and host of the talk shows Chelsea Lately and Chelsea, Chelsea Handler is born in Livingston, New Jersey.

1976 - Outside of being Quincy’s daughter, best known for her roles on The Office (US) and Parks and Recreation, Rashida Jones is born in Los Angeles.

February 26

February 26
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1934 - May Robson is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for the Frank Capra comedy-drama Lady for a Day.

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1962 - The larger half of the comedy team of Olsen and Johnson, known for films including Oh, Sailor Behave, and Fifty Million Frenchmen, but especially as the producers and stars of Hellzapoppin, Chic Johnson dies at the age of 70.

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1974 - Monty Python open a two-week engagement at London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (later extended to four weeks) during which they record the seminal album Monty Python Live at Drury Lane!

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1976 - English radio, TV, and film comedian Frankie Howerd is brought to Canada to star in a series about a transplanted Brit living in a Toronto rooming house. The Frankie Howerd Show has its debut on the CBC.

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1985 - At the 27th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A., Best Comedy Recording goes to "Weird Al" Yankovic for Eat It.

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1997 - The Jamie Foxx, Tommy Davidson, Viveca A. Fox film Booty Call opens. Let me tell you what it's about...

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1999 - The ensemble comedy following various characters celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City, 200 Cigarettes opens on North American screens. The cast includes Ben Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Casey Affleck, Angela Featherstone, Guillermo Diaz, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Jay Mohr, Courtney Love, Paul Rudd, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci and Elvis Costello.

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2014 - Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott debut their podcast U Talkin U2 to Me?

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2016 - Re-boots being all the rage, the Full House reunion series Fuller House is released on Netflix.

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2019 - Set in Prince Edward Island, the final episode of the Mark Little/Andrew Bush series Cavendish airs on CBC.

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Born On This Day

1887 - Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy and Bub O’Casey on My Three Sons, actor William Frawley born in Burlington, Iowa. FUN FACT: Frawley was an avid New York Yankees fan - so much so that he had a clause added to his I Love Lucy contract that, should the team be playing in the World Series, he did not have to work.

1916 - The Great One, Jackie Gleason is born in New York City. 

1920 - An Emmy Award winner for his portrayal of Felix Unger on the TV series The Odd Couple, Tony Randall is born Aryeh Leonard Rosenberg in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


1921 - One of the movies’ biggest female box office attractions, who was equally billed alongside the biggest names in comedy, she starred in Let’s Face It with Bob Hope, Here Come the Waves with Bing Crosby, and on her own in Annie Get Your Gun, comic actress Betty Hutton is born in Battle Creek, Michigan.


1933 - Stand-up, actor and activist Godfrey Cambridge is born in New York City. He is best known for numerous sitcom guest roles, the films Watermelon Man and Cotton Comes to Harlem, and frequent talk show appearances.


1943 - Marilyn Michaels, known for ABC Comedy Hour, is born in New York.

1982 - Stand-up and actor DeRay Davis (Barbershop, Barbershop 2: Back In Business, Semi-Pro, Scary Movie 4) is born in Chicago.

February 27

February 27
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1941 - At the 13th Academy Awards, Jimmy Stewart takes home the Best Actor Oscar for his work in The Philadelphia Story, George Cukor’s rom-com that also starred Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.

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1980 - At the 22nd Annual Grammy Awards, Robin Williams wins the Best Comedy Recording trophy for his album "Reality... What a Concept" and Best Recording for Children goes to Jim Henson & Paul Williams for The Muppet Movie, performed by The Muppets

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1981 - One week after he appeared as guest host and caused a scuffle with the cast, ABC's Fridays airs a video-taped apology by Andy Kaufman. He says: "It was an experimental piece... something different. This has been a very hard week for me. Because of last week's show, my job at Taxi is in jeopardy… my agent is having trouble convincing anybody to hire me." He then says to the audience "I think you laughing at it is pretty tasteless. Thanks to last week, I'm in a separation with my wife… I was just trying to have fun."

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1997 - The final night of Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Harvey’s Kings of Comedy tour at the Charlotte Coliseum. The show, along with the previous night’s, would be recorded and released as The Original Kings of Comedy, one of the largest selling comedy discs ever.

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1998 - An anthropologist who fails to find a lost New Guinea tribe makes up one of his own to cover his tracks in Krippendorf’s Tribe, opening on this date. Stars include Richard Dreyfuss, Jenna Elfman, Natasha Lyonne, Stephen Root and Lily Tomlin.

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2004 - Howard Stern Show contributor “Stuttering John” John Melendez leaves to become the new announcer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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2006 - Comic and writer best known for regular appearances on British panel shows, Linda Smith dies of cancer at the age of 48.

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2015 - Southern stand-up Ralphie May’s special Unruly is released on Netflix.

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2018 - A run that was supposed to be 26 shows, but was expanded to 42 by the time it began due to ticket demand, the first Letterkenny Live! tour kicks off with the first of two nights at The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.

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Born On This Day

1892 - Vaudevillian turned stage and screen actor best known for the role of Uncle Charley on the series My Three Sons, William Demarest is born in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


1940 - Howard Hesseman, Johnny Fever of WKRP in Cincinnati fame (as well as Dr. Detroit and Head of the Class), is born in Salem, Oregon.


1940 - Two-time AFI award winning Australian actor and comedian Bill Hunter is born in Ballarat, Victoria.


1943 - Known for appearances on shows like Get Smart, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati and The Rockford Files before finding fame as Bob’s wife Joanna on Newhart, actress Mary Frann is born in St. Louis, Missouri.


1957 - Along with his early theatre works with the Birmingham Rep and Royal Shakespeare Company and the Harry Potter film franchise, British actor Timothy Spall has made his mark in the comedy world with appearances in films like Still Crazy, Life is Sweet, Lucky Break, and Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events. He was born on this date in Battersea, London.

February 28

February 28
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1983 - The last ever episode of M*A*S*H, Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, airs on CBS. More than 105 million viewers watch the show, a record for American television that would stand for 27 years.

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1984 - Eddie Murphy: Comedian wins Best Comedy Recording at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A.

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1984 - The Emmy and BAFTA award winning political satire-with-puppets series Spitting Image debuts on Britain’s ITV.

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1989 - Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson, Jerry Van Dyke and Bill Faggerbakke, debuts.

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1996 - At the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A., Jonathan Winters finally wins a trophy: Best Spoken Comedy Album for Crank(y) Calls. Despite 11 nominations, it’s the only Grammy the comedy legend ever took home.

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2000 - During the encore of the final show of the Kids In The Hall’s Same Guys, New Dresses tour at Detroit’s State Theater, Scott Thompson jumps off the stage to go after a particularly loud member of the raucous crowd who kept bellowing “Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce” throughout the show. Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald follow for back up.

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2002 - As part of NBC’s Must See TV, the network debuts the series Leap of Faith in the slot after Friends. The series stars Sarah Paulson, Lisa Edelstein, Ken Marino, Regina King, Jill Clayburgh and Tim Meadows, but NBC didn't think audiences "must see" it for very long, as the show would be cancelled six weeks later and replaced with, wait for it... Friends reruns. "Must See Again TV."

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2009 - Patton Oswalt records his third special My Weakness is Strong at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, DC. It would be released the following August.

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2010 - Jerry Seinfeld’s The Marriage Ref, hosted by Tom Papa, premieres on the final night of the 2010 Olympics on NBC.

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2011 - A top sex symbol of the '40s and '50s who starred in the comedies Double Dynamite, The Paleface and its sequel Son of Paleface, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and its sequel Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, actress Jane Russell passes away aged 89.

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2013 - The docu-reality comedy series Nathan for You, featuring Canada's Nathan Fielder, debuts on Comedy Central.

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2018 - A revered fixture of the Boston stand-up scene, founder of the Ding Ho, featured in the documentary When Stand-up Stood Out, and subject of the Bobcat Goldthwait documentary Call Me Lucky, stand-up, writer, author, and activist Barry Crimmins passes away at the age of 64.

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2020 - Performing in Hindi, Indian comic Amit Tandon’s special Family Tandoncies is released on Netflix.

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Born On This Day

1915 - Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, and Max Bialystock  in The Producers, Samuel Joel “Zero” Mostel is born in Brooklyn, New York.


1923 - Prolific actor from The Front Page, The Sting, The Muppet Movie, North Dallas Forty, Tootsie, Oh Brother, Where Art ThouState & Main, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and many others, Charles Durning was born on this day in Highland Falls, New York. 

1931 - Known for playing writer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat, Gavin MacLeod is born Allan George See in Mount Kisco, New York.

1942 - WKRP in Cincinnati’s Herb Tarlek, comic actor Frank Bonner, is born in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

1945 - Charles “Bubba” Smith, who was a star player for the NFL’s Baltimore Colts before starring in the Police Academy franchise, is born in Orange, Texas... We're guessing he was a big baby.

1948 - Known for her performances in The Carol Burnett Show, Bob Hope's specials, Silent Movie, Pink Cadillac, The Longest Yard, and The Jerk, stage and screen actress and singer Bernadette Peters is born in New York City.

1950 - Ilene Graff, best known for playing Marsha in the 1980s sitcom Mr. Belvedere, is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1955 - “Afflack!” It’s stand-up Gilbert Gottfried’s birthday!

1957 - Cohen Brothers fave John Turturro (Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou) is born in Brooklyn, New York.

February 29

February 29


1936 - Gravel-throated actor from Rabbit Test, Herbie Goes Banana, Get Shorty, That Thing You Do and The Wedding Planner, who also voices Roger Meyers Jr. on The Simpsons, Alex Rocco is born in  Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

1936 - Baby Snooks, the character portrayed by vaudeville comic Fanny Brice, makes her debut on the radio show The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air

1940 - Bob Hope makes the first of his 19 appearances as host of the Academy Awards. 

1944 - Another gruff American actor is born - this time it's Dennis Farina (Get Shorty, Snatch), in Chicago.

1960 - The first of Bil Keane’s Family Circus comics is published. It remains one of the most syndicated comic strips on earth.

1968 - One half of the Australian comedy duo Lano and Woodley, and otherwise known from shows like Spicks and Specks, Good News Week, Thank God You’re Here, and from playing a television vet on the series The Games, comic, actor and producer Frank Woodley is born in Melbourne. 

1968 - At the 10th Annual Grammy Awards, Best Comedy Performance honours go to Bill Cosby for Revenge.

1976 - Multi-national, multi-lingual stand-up Sugar Sammy is born Samir Khullar in Montreal.

2012 - Monkees singer Davy Jones passes away.

2016 - Comedian and author Louise Rennison passes away at age 64 in Brighton, Sussex, England. She’s best known for her books for young adults - her first two novels were adapted into the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008).

2016 - The Goldbergs make it onto the cover of TV Guide.

2016 - Katt Williams is arrested in Gainesville, Georgia after a swimming pool store employee alleges the comedian punched him in the face. Williams is lying face down with his hands behind his back when police arrive. This comes one day after he allegedly had his bodyguard beaten with a bat and choked.

2016 - The rainbow tunnel (to match his Mork and Mindy suspenders) on the 101 just North of the Golden Gate Bridge is renamed in honour of the late comic. Welcome to the Robin Williams Memorial Tunnel!

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