This Day in Comedy History
1884 - His characters' names include Old Man, Old Geezer, Elderly Husband, Elderly Man, Pops, Oldtimer, Old Man Peters, Old Uncle Joe, and Drunken Church Goer (just to change it up). Character actor who began his acting career in his 60s but would appear regularly on all of the top shows (All in the Family, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jack Benny Program, Batman, The Monkees, The Mary Tyler Moore Show etc.), Burt Mustin is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1925 - Oscar winner known for classic comedies (Some Like It Hot, The Front Page, The Odd Couple, The Apartment, The Out of Towners, Grumpy Old Men), Jack Lemmon is born in Newton, Massachusetts.
1941 - 48 Hrs. star Nick Nolte is born in Omaha, Nebraska.
1942 - Stand-up comedy legend Robert Klein is born in The Bronx, NY.
1943 - Originally named William Charles Schneider, it had been changed by the time he came to fame as a member of 60s hitmakers The Grass Roots. The new name would stay with him when he found fame for a second time - as an actor on the show The Office. Creed Bratton is born on this day in Los Angeles.
1953 - An actress from films including Melvin and Howard (a role which won her an Oscar and a Golden Globe), Parenthood, Back to the Future III, Romantic Comedy, Step Brothers, Goin' South and Elf, and whose TV works includes a recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mary Steenburgen is born in Newport, Arkansas.
1960 - A great number of comedians - and others in the entertainment industry - receive their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame… Except, not really. The “February 8, 1960” induction date is actually a great misnomer. The truth is, this is merely the official groundbreaking date for the Walk of Fame, which already had plenty of inductees; everyone who received a star before this date, as well as all of those whose induction dates are simply not known, have been assigned this date. That means there are 40 names, including every iconic comic prior to 1960 (like Jonathan Winters for one!) who are listed as February 8, 1960 inductees.
1960 - She played in-your-face Jersey Italian-American Anita DeMarco in Netflix’s comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black, Lin Tucci is born in Winthrop, Massachusetts.
1964 - A set that delivers more laughs than most, which is odd since he’s primarily a singer, Dean Martin’s performance at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas is recorded, to be released later, fittingly, as Dean Martin: Live at The Sands Hotel.
1967 - The first full length release by the studio following the death of its founder, Walt Disney Productions’ Monkeys, Go Home! hits theatres. It’s the story of an olive grove owner who brings in chimp labor, and the effect it has on the overall workforce. The cast includes Maurice Chevalier, Yvette Mimieaux, and Dean Jones (whose participation, based on the number of Disney productions he starred in, was apparently a prerequisite for this to be officially “a Disney”).
1968 - Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman is born in Zion, Illinois. The actor and comedian is one of the most famous child actors in TV history, and one of TV’s highest paid actors of the 1970s and 1980s. He also starred and appeared in several films, including On the Right Track, Jimmy the Kid, The Kid with the Broken Halo, Dirty Work, An American Carol and Midgets vs. Mascots.
1969 - While she has appeared on shows like Mr. Show with Bob and David, Tenacious D, Everybody Love Raymond, Celebrity Death Match, Mad Men, The Jay Leno Show, 2 Broke Girls, Comedy Bang Bang and Mike Tyson Mysteries, she will always be best known as Flo from the Progressive ads. Stephanie Courtney is born in Stony Point, New York.
1974 - A spinoff of the series Maude, Good Times makes its debut on CBS. If you weren’t tired of hearing "Dy-No-MITE!" before this date, you soon would be.
1974 - A film actor since childhood, Dr. Evil’s son Scott in the Austin Powers series, and the voice of Chris Griffin on Family Guy, and one of the minds behind Robot Chicken, Seth Green is born in Philadelphia.
1975 - TV stars Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Valerie Harper are happy to crowd in on the cover of TV Guide.
1979 - In one of his few acting appearances, David Letterman plays a motivational speaker on the season one Mork and Mindy episode Mork Goes Erk. The episode also features Morgan Fairchild and Tom Poston.
1984 - A cast member at Saturday Night Live since 2012 and a former co-anchor of its Weekend Update segment, as well as the star of Schmigadoon!, Cecily Strong is born in Springfield, Illinois.
1990 - Okay, here’s the story. A hard ass cop (Gene Hackman) teams up with a brilliant detective (Dan Aykroyd), who happens to suffer from multiple personality disorder, to try to find a sex step starring… Adolf Hitler?! Add Dom DeLuise and you have the non-box office hit Loose Cannons, opening today.
1991 - The Steve Martin film L.A. Story opens in theatres. It’s the tale of a weatherman trying to find love who ends up talking to freeway signs. Same old story. Also starring were Veronica Tennant, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Pollak, and Patrick Stewart.
1993 - The Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode The Alma Mater airs. Will is admitted to Princeton University but Carlton isn’t - he does get the next best thing though: a visit from his guardian angel, Tom Jones!
2001 - It's the third film based on the original Heaven Can Wait play. Chris Rock, Regina King and Mark Addy’s retelling Down to Earth opens in theatres.
2001 - Move over, Down to Earth! Cuz here comes the story of best friends trying to talk their buddy out of getting married. Oh, and they have a Neil Diamond cover band. The Jack Black, Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn and Amanda Peet film Saving Silverman opens in theatres.
2002 - Frankie Muniz and Paul Giamatti are together, FINALLY! Add Amanda Bynes, base it on an old fable, and you have Big Fat Liar, opening on this date.
2004 - "Weird Al" Yankovic wins Best Comedy Album for Poodle Hat at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A.
2006 - At the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A., Best Comedy Album goes to Chris Rock for Never Scared.
2009 - The 51st Annual Grammy Awards take place in L.A. Best Comedy Album goes to George Carlin for It's Bad for Ya, presented posthumously. Also nominated are Lewis Black’s Anticipation, Flight of the Conchords, For Your Consideration by Kathy Griffin and Harry Shearer’s Songs of the Bushmen.
2014 - SNL Quebec premieres on Tele-Quebec. It would continue airing on French Canadian TV until March, 2015.
2015 - At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in L.A., Joan Rivers posthumously wins Best Spoken Word Album for her audiobook Diary of a Mad Diva, beating out such competition as Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. Her award is accepted by her daughter Melissa. In the Best Comedy Album category, "Weird Al" Yankovic adds another trophy to his collection for Mandatory Fun. Also nominated are Obsessed – Jim Gaffigan, OMG – Louis C.K., Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time – Patton Oswalt, and We Are Miracles – Sarah Silverman.
2016 - Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premieres on TBS.
2018 - Louie Anderson performs at the River Run Centre in Guelph, Ontario.
2018 - The sixth and final episode of the first series of Derry Girls airs on Channel 4.
2019 - Creators and stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play themselves as the 13-year old social outcasts they were in school, surrounded by a cast of actual 13-year olds, as the cringe comedy PEN15 premieres on Hulu.
2019 - Three days ahead of its official TV premiere on the network, TBS makes the pilot episode of Miracle Workers available for a “sneak peak” on YouTube. Simon Rich’s anthology series, based on his own writings, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Steve Buscemi (replacing Owen Wilson), Geraldine Viswanathan and Karan Soni. It would run for another three seasons - and counting.
2020 - The day before the 92nd Academy Awards, the 40th Golden Raspberry Awards are announced. With Cats “winning” six Razzies, only one comedy was able to take a trophy - and it was actually a rare good one! Eddie Murphy was given the Razzie Redeemer Award for his work on Dolemite Is My Name. Comedians Rebel Wilson and James Corden do sweep the Worst Supporting Actor categories, but like we said, it’s for their roles in Cats. Other comedy nominations include: Tyler Perry for A Madea Family Funeral (8 nods!), James Franco and Seth Rogen for Zeroville, and Ann Hathaway for The Hustle.
1931 - There's a tramp on the cover of Time Magazine!... But don't worry, it's The Tramp - Charlie Chaplin.
1940 - Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars at the time, Mae West and W.C. Fields are paired for the first time in the film My Little Chickadee, which had its premiere at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on this date.
1941 - Actress Sheila James Kuehl (who played the tomboy after the show's star in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) is born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1943 - Two time Oscar-winning actor Joe Pesci (Home Alone 1-2, Lethal Weapon 2-4, My Cousin Vinny, The Super, With Honors, Betsy’s Wedding) is born in Newark, New Jersey.
1943 - Actor Squire Fridell is born, but you may not recognize him without his makeup… he was Ronald MacDonald from 1986 to 1991, probably the world’s most famous clown. But if you somehow missed all those commercials, you probably caught him in this “hit” E.T.-inspired movie Mac & Me (1988)...
1949 - Judith Light, star and arguably “the boss” of Who’s the Boss? fame, is born in Trenton, NJ. Other comedy credits include TransParent, Ugly Betty and The Politician. Also an acclaimed theatre actor, she won two consecutive Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
1955 - Actor Charles Shaughnessy (The Nanny) is born in London.
1955 - Jim J. Bullock (credited as “Jm J. Bullock” for much of his career as there was another Jim Bullock in the union) is born in Casper, Wyoming. He’s best known for Too Close for Comfort, ALF, Body Language, Spaceballs, and Kissing Jessica Stein.
1964 - On the most famous episode of The Ed Sullivan Show, an estimated 73 million people tune in to watch comic/impressionist Frank Gorshin and comedy duo McCall and Brill… oh, and The Beatles. The British supergroup play five songs (including the world’s #1 song “I Want To Hold Your Hand”) in their first live U.S. television appearance. FUN FACT: On the same date in 1972, Paul McCartney, who hadn’t done a paid live concert in six years, would introduce his new band Wings to the world with an impromptu show at Nottingham University. The cost for students to get in? 40 pence.
1968 - In one of their final shorts, Star Spangled Salesman, The Three Stooges help the US Department of the Treasury sell savings bonds. Also appearing in the short are Carol Burnett, Carl Reiner and Tim Conway.
1976 - Actor Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses, Fist Fight) is born in New York City.
1976 - Doonesbury makes it to the cover of Time Magazine.
1977 - When a well-to-do couple falls on hard times they turn to crime in the Jane Fonda/George Segal film Fun with Dick and Jane, opening today.
1979 - K-Mart pulls Steve Martin’s album Let’s Get Small off its stores’ shelves for being in bad taste.
1989 - Tim Conway gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1990 - Actress Camille Winbush (The Bernie Mac Show) is born in Culver City, California.
1993 - Tracing the roots of a rich tradition, the documentary Mo’ Funny: Black Comedy in America debuts on HBO.
1997 - The Simpsons becomes the longest-running prime-time animated series, beating the record previously held by The Flintstones, with the airing of its record breaking episode The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show.
1998 - Norm Macdonald hosts the 6th ESPY Awards live from Radio City Music Hall in New York. His opening monologue prompts many an uncomfortable look from the crowd before ending on a familiar Norm theme: “And there’s Charles Woodson, how ‘bout that. And what a season he had… he became the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, and congratulations Charles, that is something that no one can ever take away from you. Unless you kill your wife and a waiter, in which case…”
2007 - The husband and wife comedy team of (Jerry) Stiller and (Anne) Meara receive a long overdue star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2011 - Co-created and starring Matthew Perry, the sitcom Mr. Sunshine debuts on ABC as Perry plays the manager of a San Diego arena. It co-starred Alison Janney among others and didn’t last long.
2017 - The final episode (at least for now) of Chewing Gum - the UK series created, written by and starring Michaela Coel - airs on E4.
1893 - Comedian, actor and singer Jimmy Durante is born in Manhattan, New York City.
1930 - Known from The Pink Panther series, the Austin Powers films, Two and a Half Men and more, actor Robert Wagner is born in Detroit.
1949 - Dan Aykroyd’s partner in a comedy duo, part of the inaugural mainstage cast at Toronto’s Second City, a performer on the very first SNL episode, a recurring actor on SCTV and member of the cast of Lorne Michaels’ other series The New Show, comic, actor, writer and producer Valri Bromfield is born in Toronto.
1949 - Featured in films including Fast Break and Corrina, Corrina but best known as Al Bundy’s friend and coworker Griff on Married… With Children, Harold Sylvester is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1965 - When a wealthy American man and a bohemian Italian woman meet and spontaneously decide to marry, mid-60’s styled hilarity ensues. Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, Terry-Thomas, and Gig Young star in Strange Bedfellows, released on this day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQzsCLUTHXU
1966 - Paul Reed guest stars as Henry Fregosi in The Fregosi Emerald episode of The Munsters, which reunites him with Munsters regulars Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis, his co-stars from the police sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? (1961-1963).
1968 - The Smother Brothers make an appearance on the cover of TV Guide.
1974 - Elizabeth Banks (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, the Pitch Perfect series, Movie 43, Charlie’s Angels, Fred Claus, Our Idiot Brother, 30 Rock) is born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
1984 - A remake of a 1948 film, the revamped Dudley Moore, Natassja Kinski, Albert Brooks version of Unfaithfully Yours opens in theatres.
1987 - A gathering of comedy legends Robin Williams, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg and Carl Reiner, the TV special Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin airs on ABC.
1994 - Often ranked as one of the best episodes in the entire Seinfeld series, The Marine Biologist airs on NBC… “The sea was angry that day, my friends.”
1995 - Adam Sandler goes back to school and also debates the relative values of shampoo and conditioner as Billy Madison opens in cinemas, co-starring Bradley Whitford, Bridgette Wilson, Norm Macdonald (in his first film role) and Darren McGavin, with hilarious cameos by Steve Buscemi and Chris Farley.
1995 - Ed the Sock finally gets a home on late night television - Ed’s Night Party debuts on CityTV. The show would feature such Canadian comedy talent as Humble Howard, Eric Tunney, Ron Sparks, Harland Williams and Craig Campbell.
1996 - Two Friends turned lovers, Ross and Rachel (aka David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston), snuggle up on the cover of TV Guide just in time for Valentine's week.
1997 - Chloe Grace Moretz (Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, Kick-Ass, Big Momma's House 2, My Name is Earl, Dark Shadows) is born in Atlanta.
2000 - The Kids in the Hall’s reunion tour “Same Guys… New Dresses” begins a three-night run at New York’s Town Hall.
2001 - Jennifer Lopez hosts SNL. In one sketch, the former In Living Color dancer reunites with other Fly Girls (played by Rachel Dratch, Jerry Minor, and Tracy Morgan). After the episode is delayed by 45 minutes, due to an XFL game, a furious Lorne Michaels has it rerun a mere three weeks later.
2004 - Mike Myers, Ron James, and a hockey-playing Mountie (Marc Hickox) appear on Conan O’Brien’s show, which is taping in Toronto. The show also features a battle between the CN Tower and the Space Needle. Other guests during Conan’s stay north of the border include Jim Carrey, Scott Thompson, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who let Conan train with them. Ed the Sock - who has accused popular Conan fixture Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Rob Smigel) of stealing his schtick - is not allowed anywhere near the tapings.
2006 - The final Arrested Development episode (of the original three season run) Development Arrested airs. As it begins we find a large party being set up to announce Michael as the new head of the Bluth Company, but it ends with he and George Michael heading off into the sunset on the C-Word, finally leaving their incredibly dysfunctional family behind. In a fitting epilogue, Maeby pitches the family’s story to producer Ron Howard.
2006 - It’s the tenth film in the series, but the first remake of the original, with Steve Martin in the role of Inspector Clouseau for the first time - The Pink Panther opens in theatres. Also on board are Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Kristin Chenowth, Roger Rees and Beyonce Knowles.
2006 - The final episode of Hatching, Matching and Dispatching - the Mary Walsh created series that also features Mark McKinney, Shaun Majumder, Joel Thomas Hynes, Jonny Harris and Susan Kent - airs on CBC.
2006 - Roseanne performs in the UK for the first time ever, kicking off the Leicester Comedy Festival with a show at De Montfort Hall.
2007 - Joe Rogan confronts Carlos Mencia onstage at The Comedy Store about his alleged plagiarism of other comic’s material.
2008 - The 50th Annual Grammy Awards are held in L.A. That year’s Best Comedy Album trophy goes to Flight of the Conchords for The Distant Future. Other nominees include George Lopez (America's Mexican), Lisa Lampanelli (Dirty Girl), Steven Wright (I Still Have a Pony) and Harry Shearer (Songs Pointed & Pointless).
2013 - At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in LA, Best Comedy Album goes to Jimmy Fallon’s Blow Your Pants Off. Other nominees include: In God We Rust – Lewis Black, Kathy Griffin: Seaman 1st Class – Kathy Griffin, Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe – Jim Gaffigan and Rize of the Fenix – Tenacious D.
2014 - Jay Leno smiles his way off of The Tonight Show and onto the cover of TV Guide.
2014 - The first in a series of three, the British spoof documentary series The Life of Rock with Brian Pern makes its debut on BBC 4.
2017 - Their first special shot in Italy finds stand-up-turned politician Beppe Grillo returning to the stage after a ten-year absence in his home town of Genoa. Grillo vs. Grillo debuts on Netflix.
2019 - At the 61st Annual Grammys, Best Comedy Album is awarded to Dave Chappelle for Equanimity & The Bird Revelation. Other nominees include Patton Oswalt (Annihilation), Jim Gaffigan (Noble Ape), Fred Armisen (Standup for Drummers) and Chris Rock (Tamborine). The Best Spoken Word trophy goes to President Jimmy Carter’s Faith: A Journey for All, but other nominees include humorist David Sedaris (Calypso) and comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish (The Last Black Unicorn).
2021 - Kevin Hart’s former personal shopper Dylan Jason Syer, 29, is indicted and arraigned in New York's Queens Supreme Court on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from the comedian.
1919 - Lisa Douglas on Green Acres as well as a lead voice on many Disney films, Eva Gabor is born in Budapest, Hungary.
1926 - Surely you weren’t born on this date in Regina, Saskatchewan, were you? “Of course I was! And don’t call me Shirley!”... So says beloved Canadian actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen, legendary for his slapstick performances - most notably in the Airplane and Police Squad/Naked Gun series.
1934 - The last surviving member of the Gilligan’s Island cast, Tina Louise (who played Ginger Grant, aka “The Movie Star”) is born in New York City.
1936 - The King of the closing credits blooper reel, and for a time the most popular movie star in the world, Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard, Cannonball Run, The End, Striptease) is born in Lansing, Michigan.
1938 - Actor and singer Bobby “Boris” Pickett is born in Somerville, Massachusetts. His novelty song “Monster Mash” went to #1 on the Billboard charts in 1962, and remains a Halloween classic, even re-entering the charts twice more, in 1970 and 1973.
1942 - After iconic cartoon character Archie Andrews made his debut in Pep Comics in December 1941, he quickly became that strip’s most popular character. So on this day he is spun off into his own series, Archie Comics (later renamed simply Archie). The rest is history!
1946 - Comedian and an original contributing writer and editor at National Lampoon magazine, Chris Rush is born Christopher John Mistretta in Brooklyn, NYC.
1960 - A British comedy starring Yul Brynner and Kay Kendall, Once More, with Feeling! has its premiere in New York City.
1968 - Featuring both the directorial debut of star Albert Finney, and the film debut of Liza Minnelli, the British comedy Charlie Bubbles has its premiere.
1969 - Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress (Office Space, Along Came Polly, The Break Up, and a little TV show called Friends) Jennifer Aniston is born in Sherman Oaks, California.
1970 - Two months after its UK debut, greed satire The Magic Christian opens wide in North America. Besides having Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr as its stars, it also features Raquel Welch, appearances by then unknowns John Cleese and Graham Chapman, and music by Badfinger!
1975 - The Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn film Shampoo has its premiere in New York City. FUN FACT: It was also Carrie Fisher’s film debut.
1979 - For those who don’t care at all about music, she’s the star of the UPN series Moesha; Brandy Norwood (y’know… Brandy!) is born in McComb, Mississippi.
1993 - The Simpsons episode I Love Lisa airs, in which Ralph Wiggum “Choo-Choo-Chooses” her and professes his love. Look, you can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half!
1994 - With a wealth of work under his expanded belt, though best known for his role as “Boss” Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard, actor Sorrell Booke passes away aged 64.
1995 - Bob Randall passes away in New Milford, Connecticut, aged 57, of AIDS-related illness. He produced and wrote for the sitcom Kate & Allie, and also created the CBS sitcom On Our Own (1977-1978), in which he played J.M. Bedford.
1996 - After being exposed as a tax cheat, Krusty the Clown flies his plane into a mountain and dies... or does he? Either way, fellow comedy legend Bob Newhart speaks at his funeral on The Simpsons episode Bart the Fink.
1999 - Three stories intertwine on the Frasier episode Three Valentines, which shows why some people should never iron pants.
2000 - Paramount’s first release of the 2000s, the Chris Elliott, Jean Smart, Chevy Chase family comedy Snow Day opens in theatres. Also featuring Mark Webber, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Iggy Pop, Pam Grier and John Schneider, the film would receive horrible reviews but do great at the box office.
2004 - On Chappelle’s Show, Charlie Murphy takes us behind the scenes for Part 1 of his True Hollywood Story of Rick James... bitch!
2005 - A mixture of concert footage, flashbacks, and sketch pieces, the new Sarah Silverman special makes its debut at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.
2007 - The Staples Center in L.A. hosts the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. Best Comedy Album goes to Lewis Black for The Carnegie Hall Performance. Other nominees include "Weird Al" Yankovic (Straight Outta Lynwood), George Carlin (Life is Worth Losing), Ron White (You Can’t Fix Stupid) and Ron White again - with his Blue Collar Comedy Tour partners Bill Engvall, Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy - for One for the Road.
2015 - The Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek has its American debut on Pop TV.
1956 - Stand-up, actor and host of The Arsenio Hall Show, Arsenio Hall is born in Cleveland.
1960 - It’s a seismic shock on late night television! Jack Paar, the immensely popular host of The Tonight Show, announces without warning that he is leaving it. The previous night the show had been taped as usual, but when it aired the network had cut out a portion that it felt was in bad taste. So on this night, Paar spells out his case - that the piece wasn’t offensive in his mind and that his show had never courted controversy or used off-colour material - and states his decision to leave The Tonight Show. While the stunned crowd is still processing the announcement he adds a few more comments, including “there must be a better way of making a living than this,” before rising from his chair and walking out, leaving the show in the hands of his sidekick Hugh Downs, who was the only person he had informed of his decision.
1963 - A regular performer in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary films, host of the game show America Says, and the guy who portrayed David Letterman on HBO’s The Late Shift, John Michael Higgins is born in Boston.
1967 - Originally titled Drop Dead Darling, the UK/US black comedy Arrivederci, Baby! opens in England. Tony Curtis plays a man who keeps marrying women to kill them for their money while Rosanna Schiaffino plays his third wife, who has a similar plan. Zsa Zsa Gabor, Nancy Kwan, and Fenella Fielding come along for the ride.
1972 - Ajay Naidu (Office Space, Bad Santa) is born in Evanston, Illinois.
1983 - We say “so long” to M*A*S*H - a hit show that lasted more than three times as long as the war it was set during - on the cover of TV Guide.
1985 - Best known as “Coach” Ernie Pantusso on the hit sitcom Cheers, actor/director Nicholas Colasanto passes away at the age of 61.
1992 - The hour long Seinfeld episode (the first extended episode of the series, split into two episodes in syndication) that Jerry has named as his personal favourite, The Boyfriend airs on NBC. It includes New York Mets players, spitting, a parody of the JFK shooting, an unemployment scam, George’s realization he wants to date a tall woman, Jerry’s alias, and the birth of Vandelay Industries.
1993 - The tale of a curmudgeonly weatherman who keeps living the same day over and over, the Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott comedy Groundhog Day opens.
1999 - Based on the 1960’s TV show, the film My Favorite Martian opens. It stars Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn - and of course Ray Walston, who played the Martian in the original TV series.
1999 - The story of a man who has spent his entire life in a bomb shelter and then comes above ground for the first time in his life to get supplies, Blast from the Past opens on North American screens. The underrated rom-com stars Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek and Dave Foley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_mi3qoA_QY
2002 - Robert Altman is nominated for the Best Director Academy Award for his darkly satirical ensemble film Gosford Park. Actors include Michael Gambon (pictured).
2008 - Best known as Rhoda Morgentern’s husband Joe on the series Rhoda, actor David Groh passes away at the age of 68.
2011 - He played Franz Leibkind in The Producers, Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp in Young Frankenstein, and Hugh Simon in What’s Up, Doc? Actor Kenneth Mars passes away at age 75, due to pancreatic cancer.
2012 - Comedy has a big night at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Held at the Staples Center in LA, the ceremony has a host for the first time in seven years, rapper and actor of In the House fame LL Cool J - his first of five consecutive times hosting the awards. Best Comedy Album goes to Louis C.K. for Hilarious – also nominated are Alpocalypse by "Weird Al" Yankovic, Finest Hour by Patton Oswalt, 50 & Not Pregnant by Kathy Griffin and The Lonely Island by Turtleneck & Chain. The Best Spoken Word Album trophy also goes to a comedian, Betty White for If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) - also nominated is Tina Fey’s Bossypants. But that’s still not all, because Best Musical Theater Album goes to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording, featuring Josh Gad and others. Also nominated is The 2011 Broadway Cast Recording of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, featuring John Larroquette and Daniel Radcliffe. Like we said - big night for comedy!
2014 - Sid Caesar dies, aged 91, in Beverly Hills, CA.
2015 - Radio personality, actor and show announcer for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, the droll and witty Gary Owens passes away at the age of 80, due to complications of diabetes.
2017 - James Corden hosts the 59th Annual Grammys at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, his first time hosting the awards. Best Comedy Album goes to Talking for Clapping by Patton Oswalt. Also nominated are ...America...Great... by David Cross, American Myth by Margaret Cho (who earlier in the day had hosted the un-televised portion of the Grammy Awards ceremony), Boyish Girl Interrupted by Tig Notaro and Amy Schumer Live at the Apollo. Best Spoken Word Album goes to In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett while Amy Schumer is also nominated in that category, for The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.
1934 - Leading man, character actor and mean banjo picker George Segal (The Owl and the Pussycat, Fun With Dick and Jane, Flirting with Disaster, The Cable Guy, Just Shoot Me, The Goldbergs) is born in Great Neck, New York.
1941 - Bo Svenson - actor of North Dallas 40, Special Delivery and Here Come the Brides fame - is born in Goteborg, Sweden.
1942 - Peter Tork of The Monkees - the band and the TV show - is born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, DC.
1944 - Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy nominee Stockard Channing (Grease, The Big Bus, The Stockard Channing Show, Sesame Street), who won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role in the Broadway revival of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, is born in New York City.
1947 - Australian comic and musician Kevin Bloody Wilson is born in Sydney.
1962 - One half of the Punt and Dennis comedy duo, Pete Brockman on BBC 1’s Outnumbered, Toby on Not Going Out and regular panelist on Mock the Week, stand-up and actor Hugh Dennis is born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
1965 - An irreverent duo return to the most hallowed venue in the country as The Smothers Brothers make their second appearance at Carnegie Hall.
1970 - Richard Pryor keeps some interesting company at Madison Square Garden.
1971 - Goldie Hawn celebrates her first TV special on the cover of TV Guide.
1976 - Carolyn Lawrence, actress and the longtime voice of Sandy Cheeks on SpongeBob SquarePants, is born in Baltimore.
1979 - Best known from the American Pie film series as well as American Beauty, actor Mena Suvari is born in Newport, Rhode Island.
1988 - February 13 is an unlucky number for the sitcom Mr. President, which comes to an end after 24 episodes over two seasons. Produced by Johnny Carson’s Carson Productions, the show was, together with Married… With Children, The Tracy Ullman Show and Duets, part of the Fox network’s inaugural season of original prime time shows. The show starred Oscar winner George C. Scott as the titular President, Conrad Bain as his Chief of Staff, Carlin Glinn as the First Lady, and Madeline Kahn as her sister, who moves into the White House.
1998 - The story of a wedding singer who falls for a waitress, the Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore flick The Wedding Singer opens.
2000 - The Simpsons episode Alone Again, Natura-Diddily airs - and it’s a sad one, as Ned’s wife Maude Flanders gets killed in a tragic T-shirt cannon accident at a stock car race.
2002 - After a six-season run, Lerapy, the final episode of the Jonathan Katz animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist airs on Comedy Central, with guests Whoopi Goldberg and Conan O’Brien.
2002 - The film where Steve Coogan portrays Factory Records chief Tony Wilson during the heyday of the “Madchester” music scene, 24 Hour Party People has its premiere.
2005 - The audio book The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents ... America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, by Stewart and others, wins the trophy for Best Comedy Album at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.
2009 - Isla Fisher stars in the romantic comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic, opening in theatres on this day.
2011 - The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards happen in Los Angeles. Best Comedy Album is taken by Lewis Black for Stark Raving Black. Also nominated are Cho Dependent – Margaret Cho, I Told You I Was Freaky – Flight of the Conchords, Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt – Kathy Griffin, and Weapons of Self Destruction – Robin Williams. The Best Spoken Word Album is also packed with comedians: Jon Stewart (with Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, John Oliver & Sigourney Weaver) wins for Earth, while other nominees include American On Purpose – Craig Ferguson, The Bedwetter – Sarah Silverman, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future… – Michael J. Fox, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection – Carol Burnett, and The Woody Allen Collection: Mere Anarchy, Side Effects, Without Feathers, Getting Even – Woody Allen.
2015 - The Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Michael Caine action spy comedy Kingsmen: The Secret Service has its North American opening.
2017 - Four days before it opens wide in US cinemas, the film Fist Fight gets its premiere at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie stars Ice Cube and Charlie Day with support from Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani and Dennis Haysbert, but despite this strong cast the film would be a critical dud and not meet box office expectations.
2019 - The comedy science fiction web series Weird City makes its debut. It's the story of a town in the near future divided into two halves: the “haves” and the “have nots”. Created by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders, the impressive cast includes Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Dylan O’Brien, Ed O'Neill, LeVar Burton, Mark Hamill, Yvette Nicole Brown, Awkwafina and Sara Gilbert.
1894 - Giant of vaudeville, radio, film and television, and less so of the violin, comedy pioneer Jack Benny is born Benjamin Kubelsky in Chicago.
1934 - A Broadway actress and the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show, though she’ll always be best known for starring as The Brady Bunch’s "mother of three very lovely girls" Carol Brady, Florence Henderson is born in Dale, Indiana.
1945 - Gregory Hines, probably best remembered to comedy fans for pairing with Billy Crystal in the classic buddy cop film Running Scared, is born in New York City.
1948 - Best known for his years on The Howard Stern Show, comic Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling is born in Mineola, New York.
1948 - The much, much quieter half of Penn and Teller, Teller is born Raymond Joseph Teller in Philadelphia. He would later have the first two names officially removed.
1968 - Best known as Mr. Marion Moseby on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Phill Lewis is born in Uganda.
1970 - Simon Pegg (Spaced, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End) is born Simon John Beckingham in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.
1976 - Redd Foxx doesn’t look too impressed to be on the cover of TV Guide.
1977 - Stand-up Jim Jefferies is born Geoff James Nugent in Sydney, Australia.
1978 - Laverne and Shirley meet Spinal Tap, sort of, in their episode Bus Stop. Michael McKean is there as Lenny, obviously - but guest actors include Christopher Guest as medical student Greg Harris and Harry Shearer as a news reporter. Four years later that trio would be touring to promote Smell the Glove, which, if memory serves, "goes to eleven".
1979 - The M*A*S*H episode Rally ‘Round the Flagg, Boys features the seventh and final guest appearance of Edward Winter, playing the dementedly gung-ho intelligence officer Col. Flagg.
1981 - The cast of WKRP burst onto the cover of TV Guide.
1983 - In his only appearance on any of Dave’s shows, Lorne Michaels guests on Late Night with David Letterman.
1984 - Copycat series of Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live, The New Show records its 6th (of 9 total) episode with guests Steve Martin and Catherine O’Hara and musical guest Cyndi Lauper. You hear me right, “RECORDS.” The shows were all pre-taped on Tuesdays for a Friday airing… so not so much like SNL in that respect.
1986 - A film where Goldie Hawn gives up coaching track at a rich kids school to coach football in the rough and tough inner city, Wildcats is released. FUN FACT: It marks the film debuts for both Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.
1990 - Jessica Tandy is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for starring in the comedy-drama Driving Miss Daisy, which she goes on to win. At 80 years old, she would hold the crown as the oldest person nominated in that category until 2013, and is still its oldest winner to this day.
1991 - Lucille Ball’s sidekick on both I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, Vivian Vance receives a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1992 - Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers, Dana Carvey and Tia Carrere, premieres in US theatres and goes on to be a huge hit. So go watch it with your most excellent Valentine’s Day date - SCHWING!
1995 - On Valentine’s Day, Roseanne Barr marries her former bodyguard Ben Thomas in a ceremony at Caesars Tahoe, followed by a reception at Planet Hollywood. We’re guessing Tom Arnold probably wasn’t invited.
1997 - It’s the fourth installment in National Lampoon's Vacation film series! This time the Griswolds are off to fabulous Sin City in Vegas Vacation.
2008 - A special Valentine's Day edition of the monthly late-night comedy sketch/improvisation/music revue Don’t Quit Your Night Job hits the stage at the Zipper Factory in New York. The event includes a special performance by Michael McKean and raises funds for Wendy Wasserstein's Open Doors program, which introduces high school students to theater.
2009 - Russell Peters headlines London, England’s 02 Arena.
2009 - Former SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd returns to the show as a special guest, appearing as U.S. House Minority leader John Boehner.
2011 - A mid-season replacement, the sitcom Mad Love makes its debut on CBS. It would be replaced soon thereafter.
2011 - Charlie Sheen’s last ever episode of Two and a Half Men airs. Apparently, there had been tensions behind the scenes.
2017 - Katherine Ryan’s special In Trouble is released on Netflix.
2018 - The Netflix special Chris Rock: Tambourine is released.
2018 - The podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard makes its debut. Guests include his wife, Kristin Bell.
2018 - Hong Kong and Australian comedian known for his impersonations of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, Howard X (Lee Howard Ho Wun) is assaulted by North Korean agents and removed from the ice hockey venue at the Pyeongyang Winter Olympics, after visiting that country’s cheerleaders as Kim Jong-Un and waving the Korean Reunification Flag.
2019 - Ken Jeong’s special You Complete Me, Ho is released on Netflix.