This Day in Comedy History
March 15 - March 22
1955 - Ira Levin’s adaptation of Mac Hyman’s novel No Time For Sergeants is first performed on the anthology series The United States Steel Hour, marking the first ever television appearance by Andy Griffith.
1966 - Hosted by Jerry Lewis, the 8th Annual Grammy Awards take place at New York’s Radio City Musical Hall, where the Best Comedy Performance trophy goes to Bill Cosby for Why Is There Air?
1977 - The Sanford and Son spinoff built around Fred Sanford’s widower friend comes to an end as the last episode of Grady airs on NBC.
1979 - British comedy legend Ernie Morecambe, of Morecambe & Wise, suffered a second heart attack at his home in Harpenden, England.
1980 - After his variety show met with an early demise, Redd Foxx decides to reprise Sanford & Son. One problem: The "Son", Desmond Wilson, says no. The result? The series Sanford, in which his son is said to be working in Alaska, debuts on NBC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMi1SdhUTyQ
1988 - While its pilot aired immediately following Super Bowl XXII, Wonder Years would debut in its proper time slot on this date in 1988. Starring Fred Savage as 70s kid Kevin Arnold and with Daniel Stern narrating, the dramedy would be a hit for ABC.
1999 - Widely considered one of the worst remakes of a British program - if not one of the worst shows ever - Payne debuts on CBS; it's the third attempt by a U.S. network to adapt John Cleese's classic Fawlty Towers. With John Larroquette as the hotelier, renamed Royal Payne (get it!?), and a softer relationship between Royal and his wife Connie (JoBeth Williams), the hilarious wordplay and scripting shifts would keep the show on the air for 8 weeks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6YqZaOzP7w
2009 - He made his film debut in Tunnel Vision, went to Semi-Tough, and later to Best Friends, Oh, God! You Devil, and Mr. Saturday Night, and also had TV roles in Rhoda, The Stockard Channing Show, and Veronica’s Closet. Stage and screen actor and activist Ron Silver passes away at the age of 62.
2014 - In addition to his appearances on Ed Sullivan, Letterman, Mike Douglas, David Frost, Bill Maher, and Howard Stern, he was the most frequent guest ever on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson with 158 appearances - not to mention the 75 times he guest hosted. 70s and 80s stand-up icon David Brenner passes away at age 78.
2019 - Italian comic Edoardo Ferrario’s special Temi Caldi is released on Netflix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaZdNcqO3rE
Born On March 15
1914 - Excitable actor from The Phil Silvers Show and Car 54, Where Are You?, Joe E. Ross is born Joseph Roszawikz in New York City.
1935 - Known as the star of the sitcoms Taxi and Dear John, and more recently for playing Pop Pop on The Goldbergs, two-time Emmy winning actor Judd Hirsch is born in The Bronx, New York.
1957 - Best known for her role as nurse Laverne Todd on the series Empty Nest, Park Overall is born in Nashville, Tennessee.
1976 - Star of the CBC series This Is Wonderland and Paige in Better Call Saul, Cara Pifko is born in Toronto, Ontario.
1934 - Legendary humorist Will Rogers hosts and presents the 6th Academy Awards. Announcing Best Director, he opens the envelope and says “Come up and get it, Frank!” which prompts Lady For A Day's director Frank Capra to sprint to the podium. Problem is the winner was actually Frank Lloyd for his film Cavalcade. Oops!
1971 - The Best Comedy Recording trophy at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards goes to Flip Wilson for The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.
1990 - Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane play bank robbers in "sisterly" disguise in their new film Nuns On The Run, opening in limited release on this day in 1990.
1991 - Michael J. Fox hosts Saturday Night Live for the first time.
1992 - Jay Leno graces the cover of Time Magazine.
1996 - John Goodman hosts SNL for the seventh time. During his monologue he is given a throne, crown and sceptre, and the number seven is a theme. After he’s given a glass of 7-Up, Goodman quips: "This reminds me of my movie King Ralph, which as I recall, seven people went to see!"
1998 - The final episode of the Bob Newhart/Judd Hirsch sitcom George & Leo airs on CBS.
2005 - Cedric the Entertainer hosts the 3rd Annual TV Land Awards. Winners include Charles Lane, Sally Field, Tim Daly, Steven Weber, Desperate Housewives, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. Presenters include Haley Joel Osment, Garry Shandling, Ray Romano, Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria.
2007 - Mr. Bean’s Holiday is the official film for the Red Nose Day 2007 charity event, with money from the film benefiting Comic Relief. A new and exclusive Mr. Bean sketch titled Mr. Bean's Wedding was also broadcast on BBC’s Comic Relief telethon.
2011 - Howard Stern pays another visit to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
2016 - The Hotel Gleneagles in Torquay, Devon is demolished to make way for the construction of retirement homes. The Hotel and its proprietor Donald Sinclair were the real-life inspiration for John Cleese's series Fawlty Towers.
2019 - At the Juno Awards, in London, Ontario, the award for Comedy Album of the Year goes to Dave Merheje for Good Friend Bad Grammar.
Born On March 16
1906 - "The King of the One Liners," Henny Youngman, is born in London, England.
1926 - Jerry Lewis is born in Newark, New Jersey, on what is probably now a holiday in France.
1967 - Star of TV’s Gilmour Girls and Parenthood, with roles in films such as Bad Santa, Evan Almighty, and A Merry Friggin’ Christmas, actress Lauren Graham is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1971 - Known from the film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, for roles in TV’s Suburgatory, Arrested Development, Firefly, and as the star of the new Syfy series Resident Alien, Alan Tudyk is born in El Paso, Texas.
1956 - Innovative and influential giant of radio for a generation, Fred Allen suffers a heart attack while walking up 57th Street and dies at the age of 61.
1956 - The Pan Pacific ballroom in Hollywood is the site of the 8th Emmys, where awards go Lucille Ball, Art Carney, and Nanette Fabray, but the big winner is The Phil Silvers Show which captures Best Writing, Best Direction, Best Comedy Series, and Best Actor for its namesake star.
1972 - Making its American debut on this date, there were apparently some very bawdy adventures taking place in 16th century England if the 21st installment of the Carry On is historically accurate. Regulars Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Terry Scott, Charles Hawtrey, Barbara Windsor all romp around Merrie Olde England as Sid James plays King Henry VIII in Carry On Henry.
1973 - Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson of Sanford and Son hit the cover of TV Guide.
1990 - It's their first of more than two dozen appearances - The Simpsons grace the cover of TV Guide. Also featured in the issue: thirtysomething's Timothy Busfield.
1992 - An actress who eventually found her calling providing the voice of Woody Woodpecker for more than 40 years, Grace Stafford Lantz passes away aged 88.
1993 - Jerry and Kramer go to observe an ex-boyfriend of Elaine’s operation on The Junior Mint episode of Seinfeld. Michael Richards would win his first Emmy for this episode. Also... Mulva.
1995 - While often a movie bad guy (Ghost, Waterworld) he was a cast member on the early 90s Carol Burnett Show and the host of It’s Showtime At The Apollo - Rick Aviles passes away from complications due to AIDS.
1999 - British comedian who, along with his puppet Emu, found success throughout the UK, Australia, and the US, falls off his roof while fixing the TV antenna. Rod Hull dies at age 63.
2004 - In the Arrested Development episode Altar Egos, Julia Louis-Dreyfus makes the first of her recurring appearances as Maggie Lizer (as in "Maggie lies ‘er ass off"), the blind (or is she?) woman Michael meets in a bar.
2004 - Brad Garrett hosts the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards. Winners include The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Arrested Development, The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island, Chico and the Man, and Vicki Lawrence for Mama’s Family. Presenters include George Lopez, Arsenio Hall, Ed McMahon, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Stiller, Liza Minnelli and Eric McCormack.
2005 - Following an out-of-town run at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, and following a month of previews in New York, Eric Idle’s musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot opens on Broadway.
2010 - After 9 seasons on the air, the first 7 on NBC, Our Thanks, the final episode of the medical sitcom Scrubs airs on ABC.
2011 - Recorded at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Kathy Griffin’s special 50 And Not Pregnant debuts on Bravo.
2013 - The Turban Cowboy episode of Family Guy airs, featuring a cutaway gag in which Peter drives his car over Boston Marathon runners. It would be pulled from broadcast a month later, after the Boston Marathon bombing.
2015 - After five years on NBC, Ladders, the first episode of the final season of the series Community airs on Yahoo! Screen.
Born On March 17
1951 - While his career actually began when he kicked Elvis Presley in It Happened At The World’s Fair, he became a young star in Disney comedies including The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Barefoot Executive and The Strongest Man In The World before graduating to adult roles in Used Cars, The Best of Times, Captain Ron, and 3000 Miles To Graceland. Actor Kurt Russell born on this day in Springfield, Massachusetts.
1956 - British comic known for Who Dares Wins, They Think It’s All Over, Three Men In A Boat, and Rory and Paddy’s Great British Adventure, Rory McGrath is born in Redruth, Cornwall, England.
1960 - While memorable in the films Scrooged and Get Shorty, she's best known for her role as Mary Anne Spencer (Mary Anne Bartokomous after she marries Balki) on Perfect Strangers, Rebeca Arthur is born in Cumberland, Maryland.
1964 - Brat Packer from the films Class, Oxford Blues, Wayne’s World, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Thank You For Smoking, and The Invention Of Lying, as well as TV’s Californication and Parks and Recreation, Rob Lowe is born in Charlottesville, Virginia.
1940 - Mickey Rooney appears on the cover of Time Magazine.
1964 - The first installment of what would turn out to be a long term film franchise, with a cast that boasts David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Wagner, and Capucine alongside Peter Sellers, The Pink Panther opens wide in North America.
1967 - Headquartered in Miami Beach for the first season of his hit variety show, Jackie Gleason is featured on the cover of TV Guide.
1968 - Following months of less than stellar test showings in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, Mel Brooks' film The Producers tries its luck opening for a week at New York’s Fine Arts Theatre. Despite mixed reviews, the crowds love it and fill the venue in record numbers. A wide release would follow.
1970 - From the Oscar winning screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr, and with a cast that included Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Fred Williamson, and Gary Burghoff, the film M*A*S*H opens in theatres. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O48Cr5vm6Yg
1975 - George Carlin performs at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. The show is recorded and would be released as the album An Evening with Wally Londo Featuring Bob Slaszo (which includes the classic Baseball-Football bit).
1975 - Complete with its shocking surprise ending, McLean Stevenson’s final episode of the M*A*S*H TV series, Abyssinia, Henry, airs on CBS.
1988 - With her ovarian cancer in remission, Gilda Radner makes her first TV appearance in almost two years, guesting on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. When Garry asks why she hadn’t been seen in public for so long, Gilda replies “Oh, I had cancer. What did you have?”. Sadly, it would be her final television appearance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WAkYzVy710
1990 - Robin Harris, US comedian and creator of Bebe’s Kids, passes away.
1995 - Saturday Night Live airs a sketch written by Jay Mohr called "O'Callahan & Son Pub" which turns out to be entirely lifted from a standup routine by comedian Rick Shapiro. Mohr initially denied knowing anything about Shapiro or his act, but later admitted to plagiarizing it entirely.
1997 - Three days before its wide opening, the Jim Carrey flick Liar, Liar has its premiere in Hollywood. The Cast also includes Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tilly, Swoosie Kurtz, Amanda Donohoe, Anne Haney, and Justin Cooper in his film debut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5QP6z9xir0
2005 - Starring twin brothers Cole and Dylan Sprouse, the award-winning teen sitcom The Suite Life of Zack and Cody makes its debut on the Disney Channel.
2009 - A dark comedy about the head of research and development at a giant conglomerate, Better Off Ted debuts on ABC.
2009 - Renowned British theatre and film actress from The Parent Trap, Blow Dry, Waking Up In Reno, and Maid In Manhattan, Natasha Richardson dies following a tragic skiing accident at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant.
2013 - A film that incorporates many of the "high"-ly esteemed team's early comedy bits, Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie! is released.
2016 - Jimmy Carr’s first special for the streaming service, Funny Business is released on Netflix.
Born On March 18
1926 - Besides his work on Mission Impossible and Biography, he’s also known for Airplane and Airplane Two: The Sequel, and for parodying himself in Addams Family Values, House on Haunted Hill, and Men In Black II - Peter Graves is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1952 - Stand-up, columnist, radio host, a mainstay of the Northern California scene featured in the documentary 3 Still Standing, political comic Will Durst is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1970 - Rapper, writer, producer, talk show host and actress whose films include House Party 2, Bringing Down the House, Chicago, Hairspray, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Girls Trip and Last Holiday, Queen Latifah is born Dana Elaine Owens in Newark, New Jersey.
1972 - Stand-up and actor Dane Cook is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1975 - A Tony Award winning actress whose Broadway credits include The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein and Shrek the Musical, and who is also known for appearances on TV shows such as Flight of the Conchords and Younger, Sutton Foster is born in Statesboro, Georgia.
1951 - They had already met Frankenstein and The Killer: Boris Karloff, so, social butterflies that they are, Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man in their new science fiction comedy, opening on this date.
1954 - A quick-witted quiz-meister as host of NBC’s You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx ponders what it would be like to be on the cover of TV Guide.
1977 - The final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show airs on CBS.
... And, marking the event, TV Guide celebrates the Mary Tyler Moore Show finale on its cover.
1982 - The sex comedy Porky’s is released. It would go on to hold the record as the highest grossing domestic film in Canadian history for 25 years, when it is passed by another comedy: Bon Cop, Bad Cop.
1983 - First Lady Nancy Reagan appears on the sitcom Diff'Rent Strokes to warn little Arnold, Willis and Kimberly about drugs... It could be suggested the kids didn’t absorb the messaging equally.
1984 - Kate & Allie, a sitcom about two divorced women and their children living together in one house, debuts on CBS. Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin star - and in this first episode, Allie’s First Date, Allie goes out with a guy named David, played by unknown actor Kelsey Grammer.
1990 - Veteran actor Billy Barty loses a court battle stemming from his short-lived LA TV sketch comedy series Short Ribbs, which he described as a “Saturday Night Live for Little People”. His former co-producer and writer was awarded back salary and legal fees to the tune of $1,326, but Barty declares victory since he didn’t have to surrender any future syndication profits - and more importantly, thanks to worldwide headlines like “Barty Comes Up Short in Small Claims,” “Short Takes: Barty to Pay” and “Small Billy Barty in Small Claims” he’d been getting more publicity than ever before. Although it was negative, Barty laughed it off, referencing Zsa Zsa Gabor’s (then recent) infamous slapping of a police officer: “This has gotten about as much publicity as Zsa Zsa and I didn’t even slap anybody. But I wouldn’t slap anybody. I’d hit them in the knee.” A second writer would also successfully sue Barty over owed salary for that series.
1994 - Ten years before the debut of his hit series Corner Gas, Canadian stand-up Brent Butt plays the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon, his first time headlining a soft seater, with special guest comic Harry Doupe. FUN FACT: The last ticket outlet on the poster is Park Service in Tisdale - the gas station/coffee shop Corner Gas is based on.
2002 - In his first part following his departure from Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter lands the lead role in Andy Richter Controls the Universe - but really, who else could they have cast? The series debuts on Fox.
2007 - Best known for his frequent appearances as Larry “Bud” Melman both on Late Night and The Late Show with David Letterman spanning more than two decades, actor Calvert DeForest dies aged 85.
2009 - David Wallace sends Scranton some help, and believe it or not, Michael doesn’t take it well. Idris Elba makes his debut as Charles Miner on The Office episode New Boss.
2019 - A TV sitcom based on a web series created by the improv troupe The Katydids (all of the members are named Kate, or a version of it) - the final episode of Teachers airs on TV Land.
2019 - Amy Schumer’s special Growing is released on Netflix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdOtvQkrNZY
Born On March 19
1894 - A star on the Chitlin’ circuit who became the first female comic to play The Apollo, she headlined Carnegie Hall then broke through to a wider, white audience. Legendary comedian Moms Mabeley is born in Brevard, North Carolina.
1914 - Balding and scowling in films including How To Marry A Millionaire, Daddy Long Legs, and How To Be Very, Very Popular, he also played Harry Morton, the neighbour on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Actor Fred Clark is born in Lincoln, California.
1921 - British comedian Tommy Cooper born in Caerphilly, Wales.
1933 - Actress, playwright, producer and director known for roles in the films The Producers and Delirious, and TV shows The Nanny and Dream On, Renee Taylor is born in The Bronx, New York.
1955 - He's an action star, but he's also known for The Whole Nine Yards, Blind Date, Death Becomes Her, Moonlighting, a nice little arc on Friends and, lest we forget his Comedy Central Roast: Bruce Willis is born in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.
1976 - Actress from the TB shows Clueless, Peep Show, Flight of the Conchords, Fargo, and You Me Her, Rachael Blanchard is born in Toronto, Canada.
1948 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!
… Okay, that does sound silly in March, but it’s appropriate given that on this date in 1948 English actor Edmund Gwenn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing Kris Kringle in the classic Christmas comedy-drama Miracle on 34th Street. The 70 year old Gwenn would hold the record for oldest person to win in that category for 26 years, and is still the only person to win an Oscar for playing Santa Claus. Ho, Ho, Ho!
1970 - Most of the regular crew are back, but it’s Frankie Howerd’s final appearance in the film series. A take-off on the Tarzan films of the past, the bawdier Carry On Up the Jungle opens on British screens.
1980 - Canada's first ever Genie Awards are hosted by Bruno Gerussi at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Ivan Reitman’s film Meatballs, starring Bill Murray wins the Golden Reel for highest grossing film, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for Kate Lynch.
1984 - Andy Kaufman leaves for Manila, The Philippines to get treated by psychic healer Jun Labo two times every day for six weeks. Labo would supposedly remove large bloody clumps of tissue from Kaufman's chest, but it was likely nothing more than slight-of-hand with animal guts. Kaufman would pass away less than two months later.
1992 - An American film about a British play being road tested without success in the U.S. heartland with the goal of taking it to Broadway, Noises Off! opens in theatres. The star-studded cast includes Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, John Ritter, Marilu Henner, Mark Linn-Baker, Nicollette Sheridan, Christopher Reeve, Julie Haggerty and Denholm Elliott.
1994 - The 14th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Hollywood. The only comedy "wins" were Worst Actor, to Burt Reynolds (for Cop and a Half), and Worst Song, to Addams Family Values. Last Action Hero had six nominations, including Worst Picture, Screenplay, Director (John McTiernan) and Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but took home zero trophies. Other nominees included Melanie Griffith (Born Yesterday), Chris O’Donnell (The Three Musketeers), Keanu Reeves (Much Ado About Nothing) and Roberto Benigni (Son of the Pink Panther).
1999 - At the 19th Golden Raspberry Awards, celebrating the worst films of the year, the mockumentary An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn takes Worst Picture and four other trophies. Jerry Springer takes Worst New Star for Ringmaster and the Spice Girls share Worst Actress for Spice World, but Adam Sandler’s turn in Waterboy is bested (or worsted?) by Bruce Willis. Dis-honorable mentions go to BASEketball, Lethal Weapon 4, Barney’s Great Adventure and Carrot Top’s Chairman of the Board.
2000 - Based on material from his stand-up and concepts from his one man show, Christopher Titus’s dark comedy series Titus has its debut on Fox.
2007 - The sketch troupe The Whitest Kids U’ Know’s eponymously named TV series debuts on Fuse.
2009 - The sketch series Charlie Murphy's Crash Comedy premieres on Crackle.
2009 - With a cast including Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullaly, Martin Starr and Lizzy Caplan, Party Down, a series about caterers looking to make it big in Hollywood, debuts on Starz.
2016 - She had attempted the feat four years earlier, only to have to pull out due to health concerns, but this time she wouldn’t be denied. Eddie Izzard completes her “27 marathons in 27 days” challenge in South Africa to raise money for the Comic Relief charity program Sport Relief. The feat meant running more than 700 miles in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius - including back-to-back marathons on the final day to make up for an earlier day missed, spent in hospital. The final marathon ends in front of Pretoria’s Union Buildings, fittingly at a statue of Nelson Mandela - the number 27 had been chosen in his honour - representing the time, in years, Mandela had spent in prison.
2019 - Jann, the comedy series that presents a fictionalized look at the life and career of Canadian singer Jann Arden, debuts on CTV. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2I8YScXieQ
Born On March 20
1906 - Bandleader, radio personality, and actor best known as the caring father on the long running, early TV sitcom starring his own family The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Oswald “Ozzie” Nelson is born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
1922 - An 11-time Emmy winner, the legendary actor, comic, writer and director Carl Reiner is born in New York City.
1930 - Popular comic and singer whose routines helped introduce the subject of sex from the female point of view, Knockers Up star Rusty Warren is born in New York City.
1931 - Both Broadway star and the title character on the series Barney Miller, Hal Linden is born Harold Lipshitz in The Bronx, New York.
1935 - Best known for co-starring with Marlo Thomas on That Girl, and also an Emmy Award winning director for The Tracey Ullman Show, Ted Bessell is born in Flushing, New York.
1936 - Musician, comic, and impersonator whose album spoofing the Kennedys, First Family, was both the fastest selling album in history prior to The Beatles and winner of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Vaughn Meader is born in Waterville, Maine. Unfortunately his career would be derailed by President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
1937 - Not just an award winning country singer known for novelty hits, but also Burt Reynolds sidekick in flicks like WW and the Dixie Dancekings, Stroker Ace, and the Smokey and the Bandit series, Jerry Reed is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
1958 - Award winning actress from films including Raising Arizona, Broadcast News, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, and most recently the TV series Mr. Mayor, Holly Hunter is born in Conyers, Georgia.
1970 - Comic and actor from the films Mighty Aphrodite, Beautiful Girls and Hitch, and his own sitcom The War at Home, as well as a recurring role in My Name Is Earl, Michael Rapaport is born in New York City.
1971 - Ricky LaFleur of the Trailer Park Boys, Rob Wells, is born in Moncton, New Brunswick.
1980 - A Saturday Night Live cast member since 2013, Mikey Day is born in Orange County, California.
1956 - A 31 year old Jack Lemmon wins the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work in Mister Roberts.
1979 - The comedy troupe Royal Canadian Air Farce wins the first ever award for Best Comedy Album at the Junos.
1982 - Best known as Harold Steptoe from the long-running BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son (which Redd Foxx's American series Sanford and Son was based on), Harry H. Corbett dies of a heart attack at age 57.
1984 - Louis Del Grande hosts the Genie Awards at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The Golden Reel Award for highest grossing film goes to Strange Brew starring SCTV's Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas).
1987 - Stage and film actor known for The Music Man, Semi-Tough, S.O.B., and Victor/Victoria, Robert Preston passes away at age 68.
1995 - NewsRadio debuts on NBC. The series would run for five seasons with a fantastic ensemble cast including Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Maura Tierney, Andy Dick, Vicki Lewis, Joe Rogan, Khandi Alexander, Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz.
1998 - Taped earlier in the month at the Wheeler Opera House during the US Comedy Arts Festival, and with Robert Klein hosting the festivities, the tribute event Monty Python Live at Aspen airs on HBO.
1999 - Director Norman Jewison is presented with the Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards. At the same ceremony, Judi Dench wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Shakespeare in Love.
1999 - Ernie Wise of Morecambe & Wise passes away from heart failure and a chest infection, in Wexham, England.
2004 - Playing on the success of his TV show Corner Gas, Brent Butt kicks off the eight-date Gassed Up Comedy Tour at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver, BC.
2011 - Steve Martin performs "Jubilation Day" with the Steep Canyon Rangers on The Colbert Report.
2015 - Due to budget cutbacks at Tele-Quebec, the final episode of SNL Quebec airs. Not an altogether sad story, though, as CBC picks up the whole cast and crew to begin Le nouveau show on Ici Radio-Canada Tele later that same year.
Born On March 21
1948 - Australian comic, actor, writer and political satirist known for his many collaborations with John Clarke, Bryan Dawe is born in Port Adelaide, South Australia.
1958 - Despite being just ten years younger than the woman who played her mother, she portrayed Sondra Huxtable for 8 seasons on The Cosby Show. Sabrina Le Beauf is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1960 - Best known for the role of Beth (who mysteriously has no last name) on the sitcom NewsRadio, Vicki Lewis is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1962 - Theatre and film actor who has starred in such films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Cable Guy, Biloxi Blues, and The Producers, Matthew Broderick is born in New York City.
1962 - Award winning stand-up, actor, and talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell is born in Commack, New York... But we're guessing Donald Trump won't be sending her a gift.
1962 - Since the 1980s he's been running his own business, a consulting firm - but for a brief period in the 1970s he was Tommy, the son in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Boris, the younger version of Woody Allen, in Love and Death, and most famously Ogilvie, the bookworm/stats nerd in the first two Bad News Bears movies. Former child actor Alfred Lutter is born in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
1974 - Stand-up, actor, and voice actor known for playing the band’s manager Murray Hewitt on Flight of the Conchords, Rhys Darby is born in Auckland, New Zealand.
1976 - Three-time winner of Best Female Stand-Up at the Canadian Comedy Awards, known for her appearances on The Debaters, Conan, Last Comic Standing, and Video On Trial, Debra DiGiovanni is born in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.
1978 - Beatles satire The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash airs on NBC. The brainchild of Monty Python alum Eric Idle and Neil Innes, this take off on the Fab Four features John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Bill Murray, Ron Wood, Paul Simon, Michael Palin and actual Beatle George Harrison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJqp_KvOHts
1980 - The Tim Conway Show - the 1980 sketch/variety version, not the 1970 sitcom of the same name - premiered. It was the only series the comedy legend ever starred in to go beyond a first season (he joked about this himself with his "vanity" license plate: "13 WKS") , but it still only lasted until 1981.
1989 - The 10th Genie Awards celebrating Canadian film take place in Toronto, with Dave Thomas hosting. Winners include Ron Mann’s Comic Book Confidential for Feature Length Documentary, and the NFB’s The Cat Came Back for Best Animated Short. David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers pretty much took home everything else.
1998 - The 18th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Hollywood. Fran Drescher (The Beautician and the Beast), Lauren Holly (A Smile Like Yours) and Alicia Silverstone (Excess Baggage) are nominated for Worst Actress but don’t “win”. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Fathers' Day) also misses out on Worst Supporting Actress, as do Tori Spelling (The House of Yes) and Howard Stern (Private Parts) for Worst New Star. Home Alone 3 also fails to take the Worst Sequel crown. It would be a complete comedy shutout if not for Dennis Rodman's double win for Double Team, taking home both Worst New Star and Worst New Couple (shared with Jean-Claude Van Damme).
2006 - Megan Mullally hosted the 4th Annual TV Land Awards. Winners include Sid Caesar, Hilary Swank, Good Times and Cheers. Presenters include Mary Tyler Moore, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., William Shatner, Jeremy Piven, Quentin Tarantino, John Schneider and Tom Wopat.
2006 - The final South Park episode to include the character Chef, ironically titled The Return of Chef, airs on Comedy Central.
2009 - Evicted, the final episode of Flight of the Conchords, airs on HBO.
2012 - To celebrate the sixth anniversary of Twitter, Jimmy Kimmel Live! presents the very first Mean Tweets segment, with readings by Joel McHale (the very first one!), Jason Bateman, David Cross, Roseanne, Louis CK, Kevin Nealon, Anna Faris, Busy Philipps, Will Ferrell (on the toilet), Kristen Bell, Will Arnett, Kathy Griffin, and Andy Dick (surprisingly not on the toilet).
Born On March 22
1887 - The oldest member of the famed Marx Brothers team, piano playing Leonard Joseph “Chico” Marx is born in New York City.
1912 - Best known as Albert Steptoe, the father on the BBC series Steptoe and Son, and Paul’s grandfather in The Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, Wilfrid Brambell is born in Dublin, Ireland.
1920 - A two-time Emmy winner for portraying Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes, Werner Klemperer is born in Cologne, Germany.
1920 - Artemus Gordon through four seasons and two movies of The Wild Wild West, Ross Martin is born in Grodek, Poland.
1931 - Works set on this planet include 3rd Rock from the Sun, two Miss Congeniality films, memorable guest roles on The Larry Sanders Show, Police Squad! and Saturday Night Live, and his own Comedy Central Roast. Actor, author and recording artist William Shatner is born in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montreal, Quebec.
1935 - Character actor known for many films, including Slapshot, Fletch, The Jerk, Raising Arizona, and What’s Up, Doc?, M. Emmet Walsh is born in Ogdensburg, New York.
1976 - Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winning actress known for the films Pleasantville and Election, but especially for her role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, actress, producer and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.