This Day in Comedy History
March 23 - March 31
1922 - Originally half of the popular comedy duo Allen and Rossi before finding solo success, wild-haired comic known for his “Hello dere” catchphrase, Marty Allen is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1922 - Known for films including Laugh! Laugh! Laugh!, The Shortest Day, Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man, Barbarella, and La Cage aux Folles, award-winning actor Ugo Tognazzi is born in Cremona, Italy.
1935 - Comic actor, show host, and most notably writer for a generation of top British comedy programs (Doctor in the House, Frost On Sunday, The Morecambe and Wise Show, The Two Ronnies, The Russ Abbot Show), Barry Cryer OBE is born in Leeds, England.
1939 - Australian stand-up and actress known for multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Maureen Murphy is born in Sydney.
1946 - Known for the films The Shakiest Gun In The West, Harry And Tonto, Don’t Just Stand There!, and Up The Sandbox, as well as the TV series’ Soap and Busting Loose, actress Barbara Rhoades is born in Poughkeepsie, New York.
1951 - The first openly gay cast member in Saturday Night Live history, Terry Sweeney is born in Queens, New York.
1964 - Stand-up comedian John Pinette is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1983 - Dave Thomas of SCTV fame hosts the Genie Awards at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre. The Golden Reel, awarded to the year’s highest grossing film, goes to Bob Clark's smash hit sex comedy Porky’s.
1986 - The 6th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Santa Monica, CA. With Rocky IV and Rambo II dominating the podium, it was slim pickings for the year’s comedy films - until Linda Blair took the Worst Actress trophy for starring in Night Patrol. Other nominees included Turk 182, Fever Pitch, The Last Dragon, The Slugger’s Wife and Rustlers' Rhapsody.
1997 - Striptease is the big “winner” at the 17th Golden Raspberry Awards in Hollywood, taking six trophies including Worst Picture, Screenplay and Actress (Demi Moore). Pamela Anderson (Barb Wire) misses out on Worst Actress, but does beat out Ellen Degeneres (Mr. Wrong) for Worst New Star. Polly Shore (Bio-Dome) and Tom Arnold (Bully, Carpool and The Stupids) shared Worst Actor. Two “monkey movies” were nominated, Ed and Dunston Checks In, but were both shut out, as were Adam Sandler's two films, Happy Gilmore and Bulletproof. Whoopi Goldberg also went home empty-handed, despite her turns in Bogus, Eddie and Theodore Rex. Other comedies nominated: Jingle All the Way, Two Much, and Beavis and Butthead Do America.
1999 - A parody of the vast number of end-of-the-20th-century retrospectives, the book Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years Of Headlines From America’s Finest News Source is published. The satirical volume would go on to top the New York Times Best Seller List and win the Thurber prize For American Humor.
2002 - At the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, Tom Green’s film Freddy Got Fingered unsurprisingly takes home the Worst Film, Worst Actor, Worst Film Couple, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay trophies. What is surprising: he shows up to accept all five personally, with his own red carpet.
2009 - Irish comic Ed Byrne records his show at The King’s Theatre in Glasgow, which would be released later that year as the DVD Different Class.
1887 - Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was born in Smith Center, Kansas, U.S. He would become one of the biggest stars of the silent film era, and a father of slapstick comedy as a contemporary of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, before his career and life were ruined by scandal.
1909 - British comic of stage, screen, and radio who came to fame as the host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and known for his “You lucky people!” catchphrase, Tommy Trinder CBE is born in Streatham, London, England.
1913 - The most prestigious stage in the history of vaudeville, The Palace Theatre opens in New York’s Times Square. All of the top stars of the genre performed there, and for every aspiring act their greatest aspiration was to one day “play The Palace”.
1924 - Prior to his role as Mr. Roper both on Three’s Company and its spinoff The Ropers, he was known for films including Ocean’s 11, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Catch 22, and The Graduate. Actor Norman Fell is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1938 - The sketch had done well the previous fall when they were touring with the Hollywood Bandwagon Revue, but March 24, 1938 was the first time Abbott and Costello would perform Who’s On First to a national radio audience, when they guested on The Kate Smith Hour.
1944 - Originally the person who took over the operation of the foundering Second City location in Toronto, then the producer behind SCTV, and eventually overseeing the sprawling Second City organization, Andrew Alexander is born in London, England.
1953 - Popular stand-up (Carson, Letterman, Mike Douglas, Leno, Conan, Arsenio, JFL), game show contestant and host (Hollywood Squares, Funny You Should Ask, Family Feud) and actor (Coming To America, The Louie Show, Emmy winner for Baskets), Louie Anderson is born in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
1960 - An unsuccessful failure of a young man finds a school that teaches how to take advantage of people. The Ian Carmichael, Terry Thomas, Janette Scott and Alastair Sim starring School For Scoundrels opens in the UK.
1964 - A member of the comedy duo GeeStor along with Eddie Nestor, and known for Desmond’s, Snatch, The Crouches, The Real McCoy, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, comic and actor Robbie Gee is born.
1970 - While known for quirky, dramatic parts, she can’t be forgotten for playing Stacy in Wayne’s World, or for other films like Men In Black II, Happiness, Speaking of Sex, The Road to Wellville, or Baby’s Day Out. Lara Flynn Boyle is born in Davenport, Iowa.
1971 - Best known as Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother, Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie film series, Alyson Hannigan is born in Washington, DC.
1971 - Stand-up, writer, actor, Tig Notaro (full name Mathilde O’Callaghan Notaro) is born in Jackson, Mississippi.
1973 - A four-time Emmy Award winner for his role as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, actor Jim Parsons is born in Houston, Texas.
1975 - Aboard the RMS Queen Mary, at Paul and Linda McCartney’s release party for Venus and Mars, the fourth album by their band Wings, another album is recorded: Uptown Rulers, a live recording by funk band The Meters. Why is this in our comedy listings? Because the band is introduced at the celebration - and on the album - by droll radio personality and announcer for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In, Gary Owens.
1979 - A spinoff of the successful movie franchise The Bad News Bears has its small screen debut on CBS.
1981 - Henry Winkler receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1985 - The 5th Golden Raspberry Awards are held at Vine Street Elementary School in Hollywood, California. Rhinestone picks up two of only three comedy “wins” on the night - taking Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) and Worst Song (Dolly Parton’s “Drinkenstein”). The other was a Worst Supporting Actress nod to Lynn-Holly Johnson for Where the Boys Are '84. Cannonball Run II had eight nominations but no wins. Other comedies nominated included City Heat’s Burt Reynolds, Jerry Lewis for Slapstick of Another Kind and Blame It On Rio’s Michelle Johnson.
1986 - Don Ameche picks up the trophy for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, for his work in the movie Cocoon.
1990 - One half of the influential Bob and Ray comedy duo, Ray Goulding passes away at the age of 68.
1991 - At the 11th Golden Raspberry Awards in Hollywood, two comedies duke it out to claim the top of the “Who’s Worse?” heap. The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and Ghosts Can’t Do It tie for Worst Picture, while Ford also picks up Worst Screenplay and Worst Actor (Andrew Dice Clay) and Ghosts takes Worst Director and Worst Actress (Bo Derek). Ghosts takes the crown as absolute worst, though, by virtue of winning a fourth trophy - Donald Trump for Worst Supporting Actor. Meanwhile, the Leslie Nielsen Exorcist parody Repossessed takes Worst Song. Other comedies getting nominations included The Bonfire of the Vanities, Betsy’s Wedding, Look Who’s Talking Too and Problem Child.
1993 - The 97th and final episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. airs. Little did we know at the time that Neil Patrick Harris would go on to host basically every awards show on earth from 2009-2015.
1994 - Beavis and Butthead find their way onto the cover of Rolling Stone.
1996 - The 16th Golden Raspberry Awards are handed out, but comedies don’t have much luck against the double powerhouse of Showgirls and Waterworld. It’s Pat misses out on Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay, as does its star Julia Sweeney for Worst Actress, Worst New Star and Worst Couple (with Dave Foley). Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls lost Worst Sequel. Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde and Stuart Saves His Family were both shut out. In fact, the only comedy wins on this night would be Bio-Dome star Pauly Shore’s trophy for Worst Actor, and in Worst Supporting Actress, where Madonna (Four Rooms) beat out Bo Derek (Tommy Boy).
1997 - "Show me the mon-eeeeyyyy!" On this date in 1997, Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire. For some reason he follows that up with Snow Dogs and the alleged groping of a very large number of women, which is even worse than Snow Dogs.
1999 - Norm MacDonald’s series The Norm Show makes its debut.
2001 - The worst movies of the year are “honoured” at the 21st Golden Raspberry Awards in Santa Monica, California. Little Nicky, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Cecil B. Demented and Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas were mercifully spared any trophies thanks to Battlefield Earth’s clean sweep of all seven categories it was nominated in. The Next Best Thing did pick up one trophy, for Madonna’s acting.
2004 - Long prior to her similarly-named TV show, Kathy Griffin’s first special for Bravo airs live from The Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
2005 - Based on the British show created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the American version of The Office debuts on NBC. With a cast including Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson, Angela Kinsey, and Creed Bratton, the show would run for nine seasons, collecting five Primetime Emmy Awards including Best Comedy Series.
2007 - Dan Aykroyd returns to SNL, appearing as a crying fan of American Idol finalist Sanjaya Malakar (played by Andy Samberg) during "Weekend Update".
2015 - Will Ferrell receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2016 - Bright Star, Steve Martin’s first musical (co-written with Edie Brickell) debuts on Broadway. It is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945–46, with flashbacks to 1923.
2016 - Revered stand-up and actor Garry Shandling passes away at the age of 66.
2017 - Brazil’s Filipe Neto’s Portuguese language special Minha Vida Não Faz Sentido (My Life Makes No Sense) is released on Netflix.
2017 - The Canadian series What Would Sal Do?, starring Dylan Taylor, Jennifer Dale, Ryan McDonald, Kaniehtiio Horn, and Scott Thompson, debuts on Crave.
2018 - Discontinued following the 1984 ceremonies, when Bob and Doug MacKenzie won it, a rebirth of the form called for a comeback. Thus it was in 2018, as stand-up Ivan Decker becomes the first winner of the Juno Award for Best Comedy Album in 34 years.
2020 - Tom Segura’s special Ball Hog is released on Netflix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahT2DV-WURo
2021 - Jessica Walter, best known for playing the Bluth family matriarch in the sitcom Arrested Development, and voicing the Sinclair family matriarch on the sitcom Dinosaurs, passed away in Manhattan, New York.
1953 - Best known for her years on Saturday Night Live, actress-comedian Mary Gross is born in Chicago.
1954 - Audrey Hepburn picks up the Academy Award for Best Actress after starring in the rom-com Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck.
1965 - Actress Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex in the City fame is born - and immediately starts fighting with Kim Cattrall.
1967 - Revered outsider stand-up, actor, and podcaster Doug Stanhope is born in Worcester, Massachusetts.
1968 - Four years after its initial release Hungary is finally ready to see The Beatles' comedy A Hard Day’s Night on their nation’s screens.
1969 - English actor Alan Mowbray passes away from a heart attack in Hollywood, aged 72. Mowbray was prolific, but is best remembered for starring as the title character in the supernatural 1930s comedies Topper (1937) and Topper Takes a Trip (1938)
1970 - Actress from Men With Brooms and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, Kari Matchett is born in Spalding, Saskatchewan.
1976 - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman star Louise Lasser lands on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
1979 - Stand-up and podcaster Nate Bargatze is born in Old Hickory, Tennessee.
1982 - Comedian Alex Moffat (of Saturday Night Live) is born in Chicago.
1982 - Following the success of the film, the television incarnation of 9 to 5 (whose cast includes Jeffery Tambor and Dolly Parton’s youngest sister taking over her role) makes its debut on ABC.
1985 - Comedian Chris Redd (of Saturday Night Live) is born in St. Louis.
1986 - TGIF! Perfect Strangers premieres on ABC. Starring Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot, it becomes an anchor show for the network’s vaunted TGIF lineup.
1989 - Comic/filmmaker Ben Stiller makes his debut as a featured player on Saturday Night Live. Unhappy at the prospects of making short films for the show, he lasts four episodes.
1990 - In Hollywood, the 10th Golden Raspberry Awards only “honoured” two comedies in 1990: Eddie Murphy was awarded Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights, and the Worst Supporting Actress trophy went to Brooke Shields for Speed Zone! Other comedies receiving nominations included Tango & Cash, Earth Girls Are Easy, She’s Out of Control, Bye Bye Baby, Her Alibi and Bloodhounds of Broadway.
1992 - Initially on Broadway and in films before being best known for her roles as Rhoda’s mother on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and its spinoff Rhoda, and then as Mildred the housekeeper on McMillan and Wife, actress and director Nancy Morgan passes away aged 69.
1995 - Gary Shandling hosts HBO’s Young Comedians special at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. Performers include Dave Attell, Louis CK, Anthony Clark, Eric Tunney and Dave Chappelle.
1995 - Looking towards his Oscar hosting duties, David Letterman lands on the cover of TV Guide.
2000 - At the 20th Golden Raspberry Awards in Santa Monica, California, the year’s worst films were “honoured”. Adam Sandler was named Worst Actor for Big Daddy, while Wild Wild West swept the major categories by taking the trophies for Worst Screenplay, Worst Direction, Worst Song, and Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Kline and Will Smith).
2007 - Mr. Bean’s Holiday premieres at the Odeon Leicester Square, helping to raise money for both Comic Relief and the Oxford Children's Hospital.
2011 - Stand-up Natasha Leggero stars on the 283rd and final episode of Comedy Central Presents.
2016 - Fourteen years after the original film’s box office success, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens in theatres.
1866 - British comic known for popularizing many elements of slapstick, including the pie-in-the-face gag, before becoming the most powerful comedy impresario, Fred Karno is born in Exeter, Devon, England. Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel are just two of his discoveries that he helped to greater heights.
1919 - Besides uttering the classic film line “What we have here is failure to communicate” in Cool Hand Luke, he also acted in comedies including Slapshot, The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday, Up In Smoke, and The End. Strother Martin is born on this day in Kokomo, Indiana.
1923 - Half of the comedy duo Bob and Ray, father of Chris Elliott, grandfather of SNL’s Abby Elliott and WWCA Award winning filmmaker Bridey Elliott, comedian and actor Bob Elliott is born in Winchester, Massachusetts.
1934 - An Oscar winner for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine, but also known for films like Catch 22, The In-Laws, Grosse Pointe Blank and Get Smart, Alan Arkin is born in Brooklyn, NY.
1949 - One of Carol’s multi-talented co-stars on The Carol Burnett Show and the star of its spinoff, Mama’s Family, comic and singer Vicki Lawrence is born in Inglewood, California.
1950 - Martin Short of SCTV and movie fame is born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
1954 - Jackie Gleason is featured on the cover of TV Guide.
1960 - In addition to learning to dance in an unclean manner, also known as Ferris’s sister in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and from the series It’s Like, You Know…, Jennifer Grey is born in New York City.
1964 - Deadpan stand-up also known for The Larry Sanders Show, Flight of the Conchords, and Louie, Todd Barry is born in The Bronx, New York.
1972 - Actress Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, This is 40, Big Daddy, Funny People) is born in San Francisco.
1974 - Stand-Up and actress Natasha Leggero (Last Comic Standing, Are You There, Chelsea?, Comedy Central Roasts) born in Rockford, Illinois.
1974 - The Happy Days episode Give the Band a Hand airs, notable as it was the last appearance of Gavan O’Herlihy who played Richie’s older brother, the basketball dribbling Chuck. The producers brought in a new Chuck later for two more episodes, and then the character disappeared for good.
1985 - King George III in Hamilton, actor Jonathan Groff is born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1985 - British actress known for films including Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Keira Knightly is born in London.
1990 - Jessica Tandy is awarded the Best Actress Oscar for starring in the comedy-drama Driving Miss Daisy. At 80 years old, she remains the oldest person ever to win that category.
1995 - The cast of This Hour Has 22 Minutes host the Juno Awards at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. It's the first time the show is ever held in an arena.
1995 - The 15th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Los Angeles, California, and it was a good (bad) year for comedies. Macaulay Culkin (Getting Even with Dad, Richie Rich) took Worst Actor “honours” while Uma Thurman (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) lost out on Worst Actress to Sharon Stone. Worst Supporting Actor went to O. J. Simpson (Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult), who at the time was on trial for murder, and who beat out Dan Aykroyd (Exit to Eden, North). Worst Supporting Actress went to Rosie O'Donnell (Car 54 Where Are You?, Exit to Eden, The Flintstones) over Kathy Bates (North), Elizabeth Taylor (The Flintstones) and Sean Young (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues). O’Donnell and Aykroyd were also nominated for Worst Couple. Worst New Star went to Anna Nicole Smith (Naked Gun 33⅓) over Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, The Mask) and Chris Elliott (Cabin Boy). Other comedy nominees included Beverly Hills Cop III, City Slickers II and Milk Money.
2003 - The first U.S. TV series to be created, produced, written by, and starring an African American woman, Wanda Sykes’ Wanda At Large debuts on Fox.
2003 - In an odd succession of events, an appearance by Christopher Reeve in the town of South Park ends up with Jimmy and Timmy ("TIMMY!") becoming Crips gang members in the episode Krazy Kripples.
2004 - Chris Rock’s last of three nights at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. The shows were recorded for an album and special that was released as Never Scared and would go on to win the Grammy for Best Comedy Recording.
2005 - Bill Maher performs at The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. The show would be recorded and released as the HBO special I’m Swiss (And Other Treasonous Statements).
2009 - Cheryl Hines, Megan Mullaly and Jessica St. Clair star in a series about mothers and their kids, In the Motherhood, debuting on ABC.
2010 - Hot Tub Time Machine is released. The time-travel buddy flick stars John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan, and Chevy Chase. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1FnYvk6KP0
2011 - Norm Macdonald's first stand-up special, Me Doing Stand-Up, airs on Comedy Central.
2011 - Founding member of the long running Canadian comedy troupe Royal Canadian Air Farce, comic, actor, writer, producer Roger Abbott passes away at the age of 64.
2019 - Nate Bargatze’s special The Tennessee Kid is released on Netflix.
1929 - Oscar and Golden Globe nominated actress for her role as Momma in Throw Momma from the Train, known as well for The Goonies, Any Which Way You Can, and Scrooged, Anne Ramsey is born in Omaha, Nebraska.
1931 - In Paris, former Prime Minister Aristide Briand presents Charlie Chaplin with France’s Legion of Honour (Legion d’Honneur).
1940 - Award-winning Broadway writer, actor, and teacher, as well as film and television character actor (My Cousin Vinny, What’s Up, Doc?, The Front Page, Sgt. Bilko) Austin Pendleton is born in Warren, Ohio.
1942 - British actor known for playing Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers film series, D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers film series , and from The Last Remake of Beau Geste, Michael York is born in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, England.
1943 - Blue Ribbon Town, Groucho Marx’s comedy/variety show sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, debuts on CBS Radio.
1962 - Hilarious singer Jann Arden, star of Canadian sitcom Jann!, is born.
1987 - The British black comedy Withnail and I, starring Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann, has its world premiere at the New York New Directors and New Films Festival. It would go on to wide release, and eventually become a cult classic.
1987 - Riding high on the success of the TV show Moonlighting, the first film to star Bruce Willis opens in theatres. Blind Date co-stars Kim Basinger, John Larroquette and Phil Hartman.
1992 - The Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez basketball hustlers film White Men Can’t Jump opens in theatres. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvllSqnMR9g
1995 - Jim Carrey begins shooting Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
1996 - After 6 seasons, Finale with a Vengeance, the 120th and last episode of the adult comedy Dream On airs on HBO. The series starred Brian Benben as Martin Tupper, Wendie Mailick, Denny Dillon, Michael McKean, and then two different guys as Martin’s best friend Charlie.
1999 - The cast of Sports Night makes the cover of TV Guide.
2001 - Joan Cusack gets her own series! The sitcom What About Joan? debuts on ABC.
2002 – Milton Berle, the famed American comedian whose career spanned more than eight decades, passed away in Los Angeles of colon cancer. Berle earned the nickname “Mr. Television” for his longevity and for dominating the ratings after becoming host of NBC’s comedy-variety show Texaco Star Theatre in 1948… He died on the same day as Dudley Moore and Billy Wilder.
2002 - The first of the three series the stand-up and actor would have, the sitcom George Lopez has its debut on ABC.
2002 - Rodney Dangerfield finally gets some respect! Along with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2013 - The series based on Whitney Cummings' real-life experiences as a comic, Whitney, comes to an end with the airing of the episode Cake, Cake, Cake on NBC.
2015 - Season nine of Trailer Park Boys is released on Netflix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsd3PQRaMwk
1946 - A two-time Oscar winner for her performances in Hannah and Her Sisters and Bullets Over Broadway, also known for the films Parenthood and The Birdcage, Dianne Wiest is born in Kansas City, Missouri.
1960 - British comedian and actor Chris Barrie (Spitting Image, Red Dwarf) is born.
1960 - Producer Stanley Kramer is awarded a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
1970 - Towering actor known for films including Old School, Wedding Crashers, The Break Up, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Starsky and Hutch, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the Anchorman movies, Vince Vaughn is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1972 - Best known for the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) as well as films including The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio, and Paul, comic and actor Nick Frost is born in Dagenham, London, England.
1973 - Stand-Up comic and co-host of the My Wife Hates Me podcast along with her husband Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane is born in Cold Lake, Alberta.
1977 - Along with Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, and Ellen Burstyn, Richard Pryor co-hosts the 49th Academy Awards.
1977 - Lily Tomlin graces the cover of Time Magazine, which dubbed her the "New Queen of Comedy".
1981 - Beginning her career in teen romantic comedies (I Love You, I Love You Not, 10 Things I Hate About You, Down To You) before moving past the “you” films into State and Main, A Guy Thing and more, Julia Stiles is born in New York City.
1986 - While there’s no evidence as to why it only lasted 11 episodes, Mr. Sunshine, the comedy series starring Jeffery Tambor as a blind university professor, made its debut on ABC.
1993 - In Hollywood, the 13th Golden Raspberry Awards were handed out. The big comedy “winner” was Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which took Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actress (Estelle Getty) and Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, beating out Don Ameche from Folks! as well as Man Trouble’s Jack Nicholson). Worst New Star went to Pauly Shore (Encino Man), and Newsies had five nominations including Worst Picture but only took home Worst Song. Other nominated comedies include Toys, Cool World and Once Upon a Crime.
2001 - My Wife and Kids, a series created by, produced by and starring Damon Wayans, debuts on ABC. It would have a five-year run.
2003 - The story of an unlikely candidate’s run for the presidency, the Chris Rock written, directed, produced and starring film Head of State opens.
2004 - On the Arrested Development episode Missing Kitty, Kitty (Judy Greer) flashes her breasts at Michael and announces that he’s seeing them "for the last time”, for the first time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1alISOTGfE
2010 - Shining stand-up (HBO’s Young Comedians Special, Just For Laughs, Comics!, Comedy Now) and talk show host (NBC’s Later, The Eric Tunney Show, Ed’s Night Party), Eric Tunney tragically dies in his Windsor apartment aged just 45.
2011 - The story of a couple who get married right out of high school, the final episode of the Canadian series 18 to Life airs on CBC.
2014 - The spelling bee comedy Bads Words is released. Jason Bateman not only starred but directed, and reportedly even did his own spelling stunts.
2016 - Eight days after Eddie Izzard completed her “27 marathons in 27 days” challenge in South Africa to raise money for the Comic Relief charity program, the BBC airs a documentary about the feat: Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man for Sport Relief. She’d run 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 - with the final marathon ending in front of Pretoria’s Union Buildings, at the statue of Nelson Mandela. A Fitting location for the finish line, considering the number 27 had been chosen in Mandela’s honour - representing the time, in years, he had spent in prison.
2017 - Jo Koy: Live in Seattle, the comics’ special recorded live, in Seattle believe it or not, is released on Netflix.
2019 - Jonah and Amy's first Valentine's Day together gets derailed when Dina brings her birds to work in the Superstore episode Lovebirds, airing for the first time today.
1943 - English comedian and actor Eric Idle, who would become one of the members of the legendary sketch troupe Monty Python, is born in South Shields, County Durham, England.
1951 - Josephine Hull wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in the Jimmy Stewart classic Harvey. At 74 years of age, Hull would hold the record for the oldest person to win in that category for 34 years.
1955 - Irish actor known for dramatic roles, but also for many comedies including The Smurfs 2, The Grand Seduction, Wild About Harry, In Bruges, and Perrier’s Bounty, Brendan Gleeson is born in Dublin.
1959 - One of the highest rated and most revered comedies in film history, the Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon classic Some Like It Hot opens in New York City.
1961 - Comic, actress, and writer from Strangers With Candy, BoJack Horseman, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and At Home With Amy Sedaris, Amy Sedaris is born in Endicott, New York.
1962 - After five years behind the desk, with a celebrity packed studio audience, an elite guest list, and well wishers on film including everyone from Bob Hope, George Burns and Jack Benny, to Robert F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Jack Paar hosts his final Tonight Show.
1962 - The last of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road to” pictures, The Road to Hong Kong, opens in theatres.
1974 - A relatively faithful retelling of the Alexandre Dumas novel, but with comedy elements added in, and with a cast that includes Michael York, Oliver Reed, Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee and Raquel Welch, the Richard Lester film The Three Musketeers opens in wide release. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssLVKLJ8ojU
1978 - After 279 episodes and 25 Emmy Awards the final episode of The Carol Burnett Show airs on CBS.
1982 - John Gielgud wins the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work opposite Dudley Moore in the classic comedy Arthur. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n54rsPdFZdM
1982 - The 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards were presented at an Oscar night potluck party. The only comedy to “win” one is Burt Reynolds’ Paternity, which takes the trophy for Worst Song. Other comedies nominated include: Honky Tonk Freeway, On the Right Track (Gary Coleman), The Cannonball Run, Going Ape, All Night Long, Only When I Laugh, Under the Rainbow, Zorro the Gay Blade and Blake Edwards’ S.O.B.
1986 - The first Comic Relief concert to aid homelessness is held at the Universal Amphitheater. The event was co-hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams, and featured appearances by Gary Shandling, Dick Van Dyck, Henny Youngman, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Harold Ramis, Catherine O’Hara, Lucy Webb, Tony Danza, Richard Dreyfuss, Bob Hope, Michael Keaton, Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar, Penny Marshall, Pee Wee Herman, Minnie Pearl, Joe Piscopo, George Wendt, Walter Matthau, Steve Allen, Stuart Pankin, George Carlin, Michael J. Fox, Estelle Getty, Richard Belzer, Weird Al Yankovic, Dick Gregory, Mary Gross, Laraine Newman, Jon Lovitz, Jerry Lewis, Robert Guillaume, John Candy and Eugene Levy as The Shmenge Brothers, Howie Mandel, Paul Rodriguez, Rob Reiner, Dennis Miller, Bobcat Goldthwait, and David Letterman.
1987 - The 7th Golden Raspberry Awards in Hollywood saw their first ever two-movie tie for Worst Picture, and one of them was Howard the Duck, which was the night’s big comedy “winner”, also taking Worst Screenplay, Worst New Star and Worst Visual Effects. Madonna took Worst Actress for Shanghai Surprise and Worst Supporting Actress went to Dom DeLuise (playing a woman) in Haunted Honeymoon. Maximum Overdrive got two nominations, Worst Director (Steven King) and Worst Actor (Emilio Estevez). Other comedy nominees included That’s Life!, and Peter O’Toole for Club Paradise.
1989 - At the 61st Academy Awards Carrie Fisher and Martin Short present the two Short film categories. The winner for Live Action Short Film is The Appointments of Dennis Jennings by Dean Parisot and stand-up Steven Wright who, in the acceptance, offers “This is for the short film category, and we are really glad that we cut out the other 60 minutes”.
1989 - The 9th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Hollywood, and it was a big night for "the worst" comedies. Cocktail took the Worst Screenplay trophy as well as Worst Picture, where it edged out Caddyshack II, Hot to Trot and Mac & Me. Mac & Me took Worst New Star (Ronald McDonald) and shared Worst Director. Caddyshack II took Worst Supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd) and Worst Song. Worst Actress went to Liza Minnelli for Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Rent-a-Cop. Several actors in comedies missed out on Worst Actor, where Rambo III’s Sylvester Stallone beat out Tom Cruise (Cocktail), Bobcat Goldthwait (Hot to Trot), Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II) and Burt Reynolds (Rent-a-Cop, Switching Channels). Other comedies getting nominations included Johnny Be Good, Daryl Hannah (High Spirits), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), Rebecca De Mornay (And God Created Woman) and Whoopi Goldberg (The Telephone).
1992 - The 12th Golden Raspberry Awards were held in Hollywood. Comedy’s biggest winner was Hudson Hawk, which took three trophies (Worst Picture, Director and Screenplay). Despite seven nominations, Cool as Ice only took one home (Worst Actor - Vanilla Ice). Worst Supporting Actor went to Dan Aykroyd (Nothing but Trouble) and MC Hammer’s Addams Family Groove (from, of course, The Addams Family) won Worst Song. Other nominees included Sylvester Stallone and Marisa Tomei (Oscar), Andrew Dice Clay (Dice Rules), Kim Basinger (The Marrying Man), Demi Moore (The Butcher's Wife) and Julia Roberts (Hook).
1994 - Ellen, Ellen Degeneres’ sitcom that included co-stars David Anthony Higgins, Joely Fisher, Clea Lewis, Arye Gross, and Jeremy Piven, debuts on ABC.
2005 - Mitch Hedberg passes away aged 37 in his hotel room after a show in Livingston, New Jersey, following a cocaine and heroin overdose.
2006 - George Lopez receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2007 - Actor in residence with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-Upon-Avon, as well as from the films Cotton Comes To Harlem, Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again (where his character was named Biggie Smalls), and Coming To America, Calvin Lockhart passes away at age 72.
2009 - Russell Peters hosts the Juno Awards at GM Place in Vancouver.
2012 - Rosie O’Donnell’s late night talk show on The Oprah Winfrey Network, The Rosie Show airs its final episode.
2016 - Her series The Patty Duke Show (in which she played identical cousins - you heard me, identical cousins) took her from rising star to star, and from that series she moved on to become an Oscar, double-Golden Globe, and three-time Emmy Award winner. Patty Duke passes away at the age of 69.
1922 - Felix Bowness, who played disgraced jockey Fred Quilly in HiDeHi! and was also known for working with both Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies, was born in Harwell, UK.
1950 - From Nuns On The Run, Ocean’s 12, and the Harry Potter series, comic and actor Robbie Coltrane OBE is born in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
1957 - Comedian and actor (Mad About You) Paul Reiser is born.
1958 - Prolific Canadian voice actor and comedian Maurice LaMarche is born.
1981 - Actress known for Eastbound & Down, Mike and Molly, and American Housewife, Katy Mixon is born in Pensacola, Florida.
1986 - While best remembered for gangster roles, he spent more than 10 years in vaudeville and starred in the films Boy Meets Girl, Mister Roberts, Lady Killers, Blonde Crazy, The Strawberry Blonde, and The Seven Little Foys, iconic Hollywood star James Cagney passes away of a heart attack at age 86.
1988 - With a cast that includes Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, and Jeffery Jones, Tim Burton’s ghoulish comedy/fantasy Beetlejuice opens in wide release.
1988 - After one season on NBC, three years off the air, and one more in first run syndication the sitcom We Got It Made airs its final episode.
1990 - Based on the film of the same name, this time starring Whoopi Goldberg, James Gammon, Jean Stapleton, and Cleavon Little, the TV series Bagdad Cafe debuts on CBS.
1992 - Do some push-ups to celebrate! Because on this date in 1992, 73 year old Jack Palace did just that on the Oscars stage after picking up his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work opposite Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby in City Slickers.
1992 - Miskel Spillman passed away. Spillman, an 80 year old German immigrant from New Orleans, made history by becoming Saturday Night Live’s first - and still only - non-celebrity host, after she won the show’s "Anyone Can Host" contest. Spillman was paid $3,000 to host the third season’s Christmas episode, and held the record as SNL’s oldest host until an 88 year old Betty White hosted on May 8, 2010. Spillman’s episode also featured Elvis Costello’s famous “Radio Radio” song change, which got him banned from the show for 12 years.
1996 - George Carlin’s second of two nights at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Both performances would be recorded and later released as his 15th album, and 9th HBO special, Back in Town.
1999 - Filling the chair departed by Tom Snyder and keeping it warm until Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn debuts on CBS.
2001 - A small English town is completely overrun by their hosting of the British Hairdressing Championship in this film starring Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Nighy, Heidi Klum, Racheal Leigh Cook and Josh Hartnett. Blow Dry hits theatres in the UK.
2003 - Character actor who won an Emmy Award for his role as assistant football coach Herman Stiles on the series Evening Shade, also known for Zelig, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Air Bud, Mouse Hunt, The Green Mile and Polar Express, Michael Jeter passes away at the age of 50.
2007 - The Rowan Atkinson film Mr. Bean’s Holiday receives wide release in England. It remains the character’s final film appearance.
2007 - The Will Ferrell/Jon Heder story of two banned figure skaters who take advantage of a loophole to compete together, Blades of Glory opens in theatres. Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, William Fichner, and Craig T. Nelson add texture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCg1HO4UbTA
2013 - Life’s Too Short, the Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant written and produced, Warwick Davis starring mockumentary series wraps up its BBC 2 run with the airing of the one-hour special: “The Special”.
2013 - A couple goes on a picnic to celebrate their anniversary and end up being sentenced to 2000 hours of community work. Thus begins the series Bad Samaritans which debuted on this date on Netflix.
2016 - Following George Lopez and Lopez Tonight, George Lopez gets his third show and second sitcom as the semi-autobiographical Lopez debuts on TV Land.
2017 - A remake of the 1979 film of the same name, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin play three retirees who plot to rob a bank. The film Going in Style has its premiere at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcdTN5soeQw
2018 - The first woman to have a Spanish language special on Netflix, Mexican comic Sofia Nino de Rivera’s second outing for the service Selección Natural is released.
2018 - Season 12 of Trailer Park Boys is released on Netflix, and with the passing of John Dunsworth this season's episodes could mark the end of the popular series.
1927 - Actor from films including The Graduate, Oh, God!, Blind Date, and Blades of Glory, but best known for his seven seasons as George Feeny on the series Boy Meets World, William Daniels is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1938 - Known for the role of Rollo Lawson on Sanford and Son, Grady, Sanford, and The Redd Foxx Show, Nathaniel Taylor is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
1943 - Quirky, much imitated actor from such films as Annie Hall, Wayne’s World 2, Pulp Fiction, Wedding Crashers, Hairspray, Blast from the Past, and Joe Dirt - and lest we forget his many appearances on SNL, demanding "more cowbell!" and wooing in The Continental - Christopher Walken is born in Astoria, New York.
1945 - “Happy Birthday, Mistah Kottah!” American comedian and actor Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter) is born.
1948 - A four-time Emmy winner for her role as Carla Tortella on Cheers, Rhea Perlman is born in Coney Island, New York.
1953 - An adaptation of humorist Stephen Leacock's stories Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, and the first ever English language series on Canadian television, the comedy-drama Sunshine Sketches wraps up its run on CBC.
1953 - When your parents are the producers and stars of the top show in television and your birth is a large feature of one of the top rated TV episodes ever to that point, you get some attention. With the headline “Lucy’s $50,000,000 Baby”, newborn Desi Arnaz Jr. was featured on the cover of TV Guide. 20 years later, Desi Jr. and Lucy come back.
1958 - Actor from Bad Santa, Me, Myself & Irene, Date Movie, Disaster Movie and Beetlejuice among others, Tony Cox is born in Uniontown, Alabama.
1980 - Known as Oates from the folk/comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, and the TV series of the same name, comic and actress Kate Misucci is born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
1981 - The 1st Golden Raspberry Awards were presented in John Wilson's living room alcove to recognize the worst films the industry had to offer that year. The pseudo-biographical Village People-esque musical comedy Can’t Stop the Music tied The Jazz Singer for most trophies with two - Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay. Another comedy, The Man with Bogart’s Face, took Worst Song. Other comedies nominated include: A Change of Seasons, It’s My Turn, Middle Age Crazy, Stir Crazy, Seems Like Old Times, The Nude Bomb and Coast to Coast.
1982 - “Weird Al” Yankovic performs his first show with a full band.
1983 - Dudley Moore is featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
1989 - The final episode of the Canadian series Learning The Ropes, starring American football Hall of Famer Lyle Alzado as a high school vice principal who moonlights as a wrestler, airs on CTV. Not to be confused with its contemporary series T. and T. on Global TV, starring Mr. T as a boxer-slash-private detective who helps a lawyer solve crimes… seriously, what was up with Canadian TV in the late 80s?
1990 - Carol Burnett’s new series Carol and Company, whose cast includes Richard Kind and Jeremy Piven, makes its debut on NBC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceUjPsYGKag
1997 - Much funnier than Aaron Sorkin’s later show of the same name, and featuring the walk-and-talks that Sorkin used, the original series of Ken Finkleman’s The Newsroom comes to an end as he and his team trot out dullard news anchor Jim Walcott to run for political office in the episode The Campaign.
1998 - Stand-up and comic actor Buddy Hackett gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2000 - Following on the heels of the character’s departure from Channel 4’s The 11 O’Clock Show, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Da Ali G Show makes its debut on the same network.
2002 - British comedian and writer Barry Took passes away.
2009 - Recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Jim Gaffigan’s King Baby is released on album and DVD.
2010 - In North Boston, Improv Asylum’s satirical musical You're a Good Man, Scott Brown, about the United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, is attended by Senator Scott Brown himself.
2014 - It's yet another deeply divisive series finale, as How I Met Your Mother's two-part goodbye special, Last Forever, airs on CBS.
2015 - Having begun its run on ABC, the Courtney Cox series Cougar Town winds up its sixth and final season with the episode Mary Jane’s Last Dance on TBS.
2015 - Having begun its run on ABC, the Courtney Cox series Cougar Town winds up its sixth and final season with the episode Mary Jane’s Last Dance on TBS.
2016 - Scottish comedian Ronnie Corbett, half of the famous UK comedy team “The Two Ronnies”, passes away.
2016 - A star-studded biography of hugely influential stand-up Robert Klein, Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg debuts on Starz. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FamPG023_eI
2018 - Jordan Peele and John Carcieri’s TBS series The Last O.G. premieres. The series follows a convict who returns home to Brooklyn after serving fifteen years. It stars Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, Allen Maldonado, Ryan Gaul, Taylor Christian Mosby, Dante Hoagland, and Cedric the Entertainer.
2018 - Christine Shawcroft steps down from her seat on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, to be replaced by the next runner-up for a seat on the NEC. Why is this comedy news? Because that runner-up happens to be stand-up superstar Eddie Izzard.