This Day in Comedy History
May 1 - May 7
1918 - American comedian and author Jack Paar is born - though he’s definitely best remembered as being the hugely popular second host of The Tonight Show, from 1957-1962.
1938 - One of the earliest ever TV movies airs - the comedy Tobias and the Angel, starring Jean Cadell as Anna. Also starring are Joan White, Tyrone Guthrie and Morland Graham.
1940 - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presents Broadway’s “king of comedy musicals”, George M. Cohan, with the Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to World War I morale, in particular for his songs "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There". This makes Cohan the first person in any artistic field selected for this honour, which previously had gone only to military and political leaders, philanthropists, scientists, inventors and explorers.
1946 - Two-time BAFTA winner for the show she’s best known for, Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley is born in Kashmir, (at the time British) India.
1946 - So Goes My Love premieres, starring Jane Budden as a country girl who goes to the big city to find and marry a wealthy man, and Don Ameche as the struggling inventor she actually ends up with. Rhys Williams and Bobby Driscoll co-star.
1954 - Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is born. Parker is best known for composing and performing the hit theme song from the comedy hit Ghostbusters - and for its accompanying music video, which was packed with the film’s cast and other comedy stars. The theme would spend three weeks at the top of the Billboard chart in the US, and at #2 in the UK, and even be nominated for that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Song - which is kind of ironic, since Huey Lewis sued Parker over allegedly borrowing much of it from his earlier hit "I Want a New Drug" ,which ended with Parker paying him a settlement.
1956 - Gumby finds a spaceship in a toy store and decides to fly to the moon in Moon Trip, the first episode of The Gumby Show, which would stay on the air for 13 years.
1967 - Zero Mostel stars in his own special: Zero Hour, on ABC TV.
1968 - The Mary Tyler Moore/Robert Wagner comedy Don’t Just Stand There! opens.
1973 - Youngest of the famous brothers, Zeppo Marx loses his divorce case to his wife of 14 years, Barbara. In the settlement he is instructed to pay $1500 per month in alimony for the next 19 years, despite the fact that she was already Frank Sinatra’s constant companion and would eventually become his fourth wife.
1976 - Actor and singer Darius McCrary, best known for playing Eddie Winslow on the hit ABC TGIF series Family Matters, is born.
1983 - The British comedy-variety series Alfresco premieres, starring at-the-time up-and-comers Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Dame Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Hugh Laurie. Despite the stacked deck of talent, the show would only last two series.
1984 - In the Fonzie Moves Out episode of Happy Days, Fonzie… well, he moves out.
1985 - At WNBC radio in New York City, Howard Stern’s rivalry with lead-in host Soupy Sales reaches new heights when Stern announces on-air at 4:05pm that he is cutting the strings in Sales’ in-studio piano.
1986 - English comedian, music hall performer and actor Hylda Baker, who is best remembered for her role as Nellie Pledge in the ITV sitcom Nearest and Dearest, passes away aged 81 from pneumonia.
1987 - Tony Danza guest hosts The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. It would be the last time that someone besides regulars Garry Shandling or Jay Leno would act as guest host.
1988 - All in the Family premieres. No, not the Norman Lear series starring Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner - the episode of Married… With Children in which Peg’s family - basically a brood of backwoods hillbillies - comes to visit. Wrestler King Kong Bundy, in his best comedy role this side of Richard Pryor’s Moving, guest stars as Uncle Irwin.
1988 - It’s a sequel that is less inspired than the original. Allen and Madison return to New York to save his business, and a dolphin living in captivity, in the TV movie Splash, Too!, starring Amy Yasbeck and Todd Waring.
1988 - The Tracy Ullman Show features a new Simpsons short. In The Art Museum, Marge finds out the hard way that the kids just aren’t ready to appreciate fine art.
1992 - In Folks!, premiering today, Tom Selleck stars as a yuppie whose life falls apart after he takes in his senile father and mother. Don Ameche, Anne Jackson and Christine Ebersole co-star.
1994 - Rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (now known as Snoop Dogg) made his TV debut, playing himself on Martin Lawrence’s sitcom Martin.
1999 - The world is introduced to the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom, as SpongeBob SquarePants premieres.
2005 - Family Guy returns from a two year hiatus, following its initial cancellation by Fox, with the episode North by North Quahog.
2005 - The Will Ferrell kiddie-soccer comedy Kicking & Screaming premieres.
2006 - A play that started off as a wedding gift presented for a small group in the back room of a Toronto bar, The Drowsy Chaperone opens at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. It would go on to win 5 Tony Awards.
2017 - Kenny Sebastian’s stand-up special Don’t Be That Guy premieres.
2018 - Ryan Reynolds stars in Deadpool 2, opening today. The R-rated superhero comedy also features Josh Brolin and Morena Baccarin.
2019 - In Baron’s Night Out, the sixth episode of What We Do in the Shadows, The Baron awakens from his slumber and demands to experience the wonders of the New World in a night out in the town.
2020 - Alice Wu’s The Half of It premieres. It’s about a cash-strapped teen who agrees to write a love letter for a jock, only to become his friend - and fall for his crush.
2021 - Olympia Dukakis passes away in Manhattan, New York City at the age of 89. The veteran actress performed in more than 130 stage productions, 60 films and 50 television series, and is best remembered for her Best Support Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe winning performance in Moonstruck (1987).
1902 – Werner Finck, German "kabarett" comedian, actor and author who became one of Germany’s leading cabaret artists during the Nazi suppression, is born.
1907 - Pinky Lee is born as Pincus Leff. He started as an American burlesque comedian but ended up a children’s television host best remembered for his popular 1950s series The Pinky Lee Show.
1931 – Phil Bruns, the American actor and stuntman best known for playing Mary’s father George Shumway in the 1970s sitcom Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, is born. He also had recurring roles in Sanford and Son and Barney Miller, and was the first actor to play Jerry’s father on Seinfeld.
1938 - The TV movie There’s Always Juliet premieres.
1941 - The Black Cat premieres, with a star-studded cast. Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford and Bela Lugosi star in the comical horror about a wealthy, elderly woman who lives with her spoiled cats and housekeeper in an isolated mansion whose greedy relatives gather in anticipation of her death as her health fails.
1947 - A wealthy socialite bored with her life meets and falls in love with a struggling songwriter on the verge of leaving New York and quitting the music business in the musical comedy Love and Learn, which opened on this date, starring Jack Carson, Robert Hutton, Martha Vickers and Janis Paige.
1952 - Before her many roles on Broadway, and before she won an Emmy for her supporting role in the sitcom Cybill, and before her many film roles - including such comedies as Addams Family Values, The Ref, Jeffrey, The Birdcage, Bulworth, Bowfinger, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mamma Mia!, The Bounty Hunter, A Bad Moms Christmas, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - Christine Baransky was born on this day in Buffalo, New York.
1959 - Actor Brian Tochi (Revenge of the Nerds, Police Academy) is born.
1959 - Bobby Darin performs his first hit - the novelty song “Splish Splash” (written literally on a bet, that he couldn’t make a song beginning with the lyrics “splish splash I was takin’ a bath”) - on the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show.
1962 - Actress Elizabeth Berridge (The John Larroquette Show) is born.
1965 - Stand-up Woody Allen headlines Carnegie Hall.
1968 - A film based on Neil Simon's hit stage play, the Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau comedy classic The Odd Couple premieres at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33ZvO26hP7M
1972 - Wrestler, actor and even (briefly) a CFL player, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is born.
1975 - English comedian Joe Wilkinson is born.
1977 - Jenna von Oÿ, best known for playing Mayim Bialik’s best friend Six in the 1980s sitcom Blossom, is born.
1978 - TV (Silicon Valley) and movie (The Big Sick) actor Kumail Nanijiani is born.
1980 - Ellie Kemper, comedian and actor best known for starring in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and her role in the US version of The Office, is born.
1981 - Robert Buckley, the American actor best known for playing Kirby Atwood in NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, is born.
1986 - The World’s Fair, EXPO 86, opens in Vancouver. Howie Mandel hosts the opening gala. The Flying Club, home venue for Stand-Up comedy and the new EXPO Second City revue featuring Ryan Stiles, Patrick McKenna and others, also opens.
1986 - Richard Pryor’s film Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling is released. It is seen as largely autobiographical.
1986 - After more than 300 appearances, including 6 years behind the desk as guest host, Joan Rivers makes her last appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
1987 - TV Guide marks Shelley Long’s departure from Cheers on its cover.
1991 - In The Simpsons episode The War of the Simpsons, Homer has to choose between marriage counseling with Marge or skipping out to catch a legendary catfish. Meanwhile, at home, Bart and Lisa take advantage of Grampa's ignorance of the house rules.
2006 - In the Scrubs episode My Fallen Idol, Carla persuades everyone to rally around Dr. Cox, after he makes a mistake that costs three of his patients their lives.
2007 - Australian TV host and stand-up comedian Rove McManus appears as a guest on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for the first time. After two more guest appearances, in 2011, he would host his own segment for the show: "Rove Across America."
2011 - Andy Dick is arrested in Temecula, California for allegedly being drunk and disorderly in a Marie Callender’s restaurant. So, pretty much a typical Monday for him.
2016 - Animated series The Loud House premieres, following the adventures of an 11 year old boy - Lincoln Loud - who lives with ten sisters.
1917 - Dutch-American actor and singer George Gaynes is born George Jongejans in Helsinki, Finland. After serving in the Royal Netherlands Navy during World War II he would emigrate to the U.S. and begin his career on Broadway. He is best remembered for his many comedy roles, particularly as Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy series and John Van Horn in the 1982 hit Tootsie. Notable TV credits include the roles of Senator Smithers in Hearts Afire, Arthur Feldman in The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (co-starring his real life wife Allyn Ann McLerie as his love interest), and of course gruff-but-lovable foster dad Henry Warnimont in Punky Brewster.
1926 - Sitcom actor Ann B. Davis is born in Schenectady, NY. She won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in the NBC sitcom The Bob Cummings Show (1955–1959), but is of course best remembered for playing Alice the housekeeper in ABC's The Brady Bunch (1969–1974).
1929 - American singer and actress Denise Lor is born in Los Angeles. Best known for her TV on variety series such as The Garry Moore Show and Seven at Eleven, she primarily worked in theatre, particularly in musical comedies.
1958 – Danish-English comedian and writer Sandi Toksvig is born.
1960 – The Off-Broadway musical comedy The Fantasticks opens in New York City's Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.
1963 - Writer and producer who would win Emmys for his work on The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, and Frasier, Jay Kogen is born in New York City.
1968 - Broadway, TV and film actress Amy Ryan is born Amy Beth Dziewiontkowski in New York City. She is an Academy Award nominee and two-time Tony Award nominee who is primarily known for her dramatic work, but comedy audiences will recognize her as Holly Flax from the US version of The Office, as well as from numerous film roles, such as Goosebumps, Don Verdean, Late Night, Central Intelligence, Win Win, Dan in Real Life, The Missing Person and Birdman.
1970 - Bobby Cannavale is born in Union City, NJ. He’s better known for dramatic work, but won an Emmy for his role on the series Will & Grace, and his filmography includes comedies like The Station Agent, Blue Jasmine, Spy, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and I, Tonya.
1975 - Still in its first season, the hit Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff series Rhoda makes it to the cover of TV Guide.
1975 - Christina Hendricks is born in Knoxville, TN. Comedy roles include starring roles in the TV series Another Period, Good Girls, and Hap and Leonard, and the films Toy Story 4, Fist Fight and Scoob!
1976 - Title star (twice!) of the hot new series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Louise Lasser gets the Newsweek magazine treatment.
1978 - The comedy FM, starring Michael Brandon and Martin Mull, premieres in Los Angeles. It’s about a group of radio DJs who decide to rebel against their station’s owners after being told they have to play new army recruitment ads, premieres in Los Angeles. The “static free” film isn’t well received, but the soundtrack “featuring Steely Dan” sure is - in fact, more people will buy it than go see the movie!
1979 - With his film Live in Concert in theatres, Rolling Stone magazine puts Richard Pryor on its cover.
1980 - Mork and Mindy (Robin Williams and Pam Dawber) grace the cover of TV Guide for the first time.
1987 - A sitcom by Johnny Carson’s Carson Productions and, together with Married… With Children, The Tracy Ullman Show and Duets, a part of the Fox network’s inaugural season of original prime time shows, Mr. President premieres. The show stars Oscar winning actor 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. The show would last for 24 episodes over two seasons.
1988 - Madonna debuts on Broadway in David Mamet’s satirical play Speed the Plow. She would receive mixed reviews.
2003 - Friends star Matt LeBlanc marries model Melissa McKnight in Hawaii after five years of engagement. They would split after three years of marriage - probably shortly after she sees the movie Ed.
2011 - Former Our Gang member, youngest ever Academy Award Best Actor nominee (aged 8, for the 1931 comedy Skippy), sitcom star (Hennesey), Emmy Award winning director (for M*A*S*H and The White Shadow), Clark Kent’s hot tempered Daily Planet boss Perry White in the Superman films and longtime Navy man Jackie Cooper passes away, aged 88, in Santa Monica.
2013 - Marc Maron’s series Maron premieres on IFC. It would run for 49 episodes over four seasons.
2015 - A life-sized bronze statue of Richard Pryor is unveiled, dedicated to the beloved comedian. Named “Richard Pryor: More than Just a Comedian”, it resides at the corner of State and Washington Streets in downtown Peoria, close to where he grew up with his mother.
"MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!"
1903 – Czech actor Paul Demel is born in Brno, Austria-Hungary. Demel was a character actor who is best remembered for his cameo roles in films, particularly in numerous British Ealing comedies, including Hue and Cry (1947), Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and His Excellency (1952). He also had a role in English Without Tears (1944) for Two Cities Films, and was a veteran stage actor who worked in many West End productions.
1923 - British actor and comedian of radio, stage and screen Eric Sykes is born.
1929 - The first ever Laurel and Hardy “talkie” (movie to feature sound), Unaccustomed As We Are, is released.
1939 - Film and TV actor Paul Gleason is born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is known for the films The Breakfast Club, Trading Places, Not Another Teen Movie, Die Hard, Johnny Be Goode, Arthur, She’s Having a Baby, Money Talks and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Loaded Weapon 1.
1953 - Actor David Thornton - known from such comedy films as Home Alone 3 (1997), 100 Mile Rule (2002) and The Other Woman (2014) - is born in Cheraw, SC.
1958 - Canadian comedy legends Wayne and Shuster perform their classic routine “Rinse the Blood Off My Toga” on their Ed Sullivan Show debut. It is the first of their record 67 appearances.
1959 - At the inaugural Grammy Awards, hosted by comedian Mort Sahl, the first trophies for Best Recording for Children and Best Comedy Performance both go to Ross Bagdasarian Sr. - performing as “David Seville and The Chipmunks” - for The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late).
1967 - Comedian Ana Gasteyer of Saturday Night Live fame is born.
1970 - Will Arnett, TV (Arrested Development) and film (Blades of Glory) actor, is born in Toronto.
1975 - Moe Howard (real name Moses Harry Horwitz) dies of lung cancer in Los Angeles, aged 77. Best known as the undisputed leader of The Three Stooges - in all of the group’s incarnations - for 50 years, and for his distinctive Stooge jagged-bowl haircut, inspired by a childhood incident in which he cut his own hair - poorly.
1987 - In the La Cuckaracha episode of ALF, an insect from Melmac that stowed away in ALF’s ship gets loose, and has an unfortunate reaction when the Tanners try to kill it with earthly insecticides - it just keeps getting bigger, and bigger!
1990 - An underrated comedy gem, Short Time, is released. Dabney Coleman stars as a timid policeman who starts taking big risks after learning he has a terminal disease, with great support from Matt Frewer (his partner Ernie) and Teri Garr (his estranged wife).
1994 - Actor Alexander Gould (Weeds, Finding Nemo) is born.
1998 - After 21 episodes, the sitcom Alright Already comes to an end on The WB Network. Created by and starring comedian Carol Leifer, with co-star Amy Yasbeck, the show was about the lives of an optometrist and her best friend.
1999 - New Hampshire, the final episode of the series NewsRadio, airs on NBC.
2004 - The series finale of Friends, The Last One airs on NBC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3YWpi8kZI0
2007 - Actor Max Baer, who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies, announces he has sold a former Walmart location in Carson City, Nevada, which he had planned to develop into a Hillbillies-themed hotel and casino, due to ongoing building code conflicts. But it’s not all bad news as Baer also announces he has purchased a new parcel of land in nearby Douglas County, where he plans to still build the hotel and casino as well as neighbouring restaurants, including “Jethro’s All You Ken Et Buffet” and a 200 foot tall mock oil derrick spouting flames 30 feet in the air. Construction has since been delayed by litigation.
2009 - Affable funnyman Dom DeLuise passes away in Santa Monica, CA. He rose to fame as a regular and favourite guest on variety shows in the 1970s, and is today best remembered for his frequent movie collaborations with Burt Reynolds, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.
2010 - The first Seinfeld star to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives to find they have not only spelled her name incorrectly but left it un-hyphenated, as “Julia Luis Dreyfus.” While she took it in good humor and suggested they keep it that way, the star received a quick cut and paste in time for the ceremony. A new star was placed in the spot in the days following, and Julia was presented with the offending chunk from the original.
2013 - To say Thank You to their fictional home, the cast of The Office pay a visit to Scranton, PA where they are treated to a parade, then give an advanced showing of their series finale for 10,000 fans at PNC Park (home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders!) where creator Greg Daniels is joined by Jim, Pam, Dwight, Toby, Darryl, Creed, Phyllis, Oscar, Meredith, Erin, Toby and David Wallace, as well as a secret surprise guest appearance by Michael Scott himself, Steve Carell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNmV5tQeM7g
2016 - The Promposal episode of Modern Family premieres. Claire discovers that Jay has a mole in the company, Phil and Gloria confront a sauce competitor who they believe stole Gloria's recipe, and Mitchell helps Luke make a very special “promposal.”
2019 - Former SNL cast member turned movie superstar Adam Sandler returns to host Saturday Night Live, and performs the tribute song he wrote for Chris Farley.
1899 - Freeman "Gozzie" Gosden is born in Richmond, Virginia. A radio comedian, actor and pioneer in the development of the situational comedy form, he is best remembered for his work with partner Charles Correll on the radio series Amos 'n' Andy.
1915 - Alice Faye is born in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, NYC. A singer and actress who initially became a star in many Hollywood musicals, she left movies behind and became known for her role on the popular radio show The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show in the 1950s-1960s.
1925 - Charlie Chaplin and his second wife, actress Lita Grey, welcome their first child into the world - Charles Chaplin Jr.
1936 – Actor/comedian Sandy Baron is born Sanford Irving Beresofsky in Brooklyn, NYC. After beginning on Broadway and becoming a regular opening act for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme at the Copacabana, he scored a choice gig on the weekly satirical television program That Was The Week That Was. From 1966-1968 he also co-starred with Will Hutchins in the NBC sitcom Hey, Landlord, and in the 1970s he made regular appearances on talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also co-hosted The Della Reese Show and a number of daytime television talk shows including A.M. New York and Mid-Morning LA, and frequently made guest appearances on various games shows.
1943 - Monty Python’s Michael Palin is born in Ranmoor, Sheffield, England. He was featured in many of the troupe’s most famous sketches, including "Argument Clinic", "Dead Parrot sketch", "The Lumberjack Song", "The Spanish Inquisition", "Bicycle Repair Man" and "The Fish-Slapping Dance". His post-Flying Circus work includes his hilarious BAFTA Best Supporting Actor winning role in 1988’s A Fish Called W-W-W-Wanda, alongside fellow Monty alum John Cleese.
1944 - Welsh actor Roger Rees is born in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales. An Olivier, Obie and Tony Award winning stage actor, he also appeared in such films as Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) and The Pink Panther (2006). But comedy fans probably best remember him for his sitcom work - starring in the British sitcom Singles, and for portraying the incredibly rich (and snooty) Robin Colcord in the American sitcom Cheers.
1957 - Richard E. Grant is born in Mbabane, Swaziland. He made his film debut as Withnail in the cult comedy classic Withnail and I, and has had many prominent roles since. His credits include films such as How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Hudson Hawk, The Player, Gosford Park, Spiceworld and opposite Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (for which he received Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor).
1961 – Australian comedian and actress Marg Downey (The D Generation, Fast Forward, Full Frontal) is born.
1973 - At the 99th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Secretariat famously broke away from the pack to set a new track record and become the ninth horse to win the prestigious Triple Crown… but did you know that the horse in the lead for the first seven furlongs was named Shecky Greene, after the famed Las Vegas headlining comedian of the 1950s and 1960s?
1975 - Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury becomes the first ever comic strip to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.
1977 - The Love Boat premieres. The romantic and comic tales of the crew, and a constantly changing cast of passengers, would be explored for 250 episodes over the next ten years. Ten… years...
1977 - Richard Pryor gets his own comedy special on NBC, though the title of it sees to indicate he’s not sure of that fact. In The Richard Pryor Special?, Pryor wanders around the studio, encountering various characters such as Reverend James L. White and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who are there to tape their own shows.
1989 - The second and final part of Full House’s two episode event Luck Be a Lady airs, in which Jesse and Rebecca decide to get married right away, while DJ and Steph, suspecting something is up, play junior detectives.
1989 - The horror comedy sequel CHUD II: Bud the Chud premieres. After a military experiment to create a new race of super-warriors goes awry, murderous zombies are unleashed upon an unsuspecting suburban neighborhood. Hilarity then ensues, presumably.
2002 - Film director George Sidney passes away from complications due to lymphoma in Las Vegas, Nevada, at age 85. 64 years earlier, at just 21 years of age, MGM had hired Sidney to direct their new comedy acquisition from Hal Roach: the Our Gang shorts, which featured a child cast whose oldest member, Alfalfa’s big brother Harold, was just nine years his junior. He would go on to direct such features as Anchors Aweigh (1943), Ziegfeld Follies (1945), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Kiss Me Kate (1953), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and The Swinger (1966).
2015 - Based on his podcast The Smartest Man in the World, Greg Proops’ nonfiction book The Smartest Book in the World is published by Touchstone books. The book contains such topics as Proops’ movie recommendations, and opinions on historical events.
2015 - Inside Amy Schumer’s 12 Angry Men parody includes, among others, guests Jeff Goldblum, Dennis Quaid, Nick Di Paolo, Vincent Kartheiser, Paul Giamatti, and Kumail Nanjiani as jurors trying to decide if she is sexually attractive.
2020 - After two seasons, the final episode of the single camera sitcom Bless This Mess airs on ABC. The modern-day nod to Green Acres starred Dax Shepard and Lake Bell as a New York City couple who relocate to a farm, in a rural community featuring co-stars Pam Grier (pictured), Ed Begley Jr. and David Koechner.
1851 – French comedian and cabaret singer Aristide Bruant is born.
1955 – Tom Bergeron, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos from 2001-2015, is born.
1957 - The final episode of I Love Lucy airs. Although the show was a smash hit, they ceased production as Lucy and Desi’s real life marriage fell apart. It was the first TV series to ever go off the air as the #1 show - a feat that to this day has only been matched twice, by The Andy Griffith Show in 1968, and Seinfeld in 1998.
1961 - Australian comedian and actress Gina Riley is born in Melbourne. She worked extensively in musical theatre and on sketch comedy TV shows such as Fast Forward and its successor Full Frontal, Big Girl's Blouse, and Something Stupid - but is best known for portraying Kim Craig - the "Kim" half of the sitcom Kath & Kim.
1961 - Perhaps best known for the Ocean’s trilogy of films, actor, director and producer George Clooney is born in Lexington, Kentucky. Some of his other comedic works include the TV series Roseanne, Baby Talk and E/R (the sitcom, not the drama ER he would also later work on), and the films Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, Leatherheads, Up in the Air, Burn After Reading, Intolerable Cruelty, The Descendants, Three Kings, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and of course Return of the Killer Tomatoes.
1983 - The small Canadian film All In Good Taste, completed in 1981, finally opens. A young Jim Carrey has a small, non-speaking part as a photographer… of course that didn’t stop the distributors from repackaging it with Carrey as the star once he became an international sensation.
1990 - Charles Farrell dies of heart failure in Palm Springs, CA. An actor of the 1920s silent era and into the talkies of the 1930s, Farrell is probably best recalled for his frequent dramatic collaborations with actress Janet Gaynor - but he later moved into TV work, starring in the popular sitcom My Little Margie in the 1950s, followed by his own series, The Charles Farrell Show.
1991 - British actor Wilfrid Hyde-White passes away in Woodland Hills, CA. Notable comedy film roles include: Two-Way Stretch, Josser on the Farm, Carry On Nurse and Let’s Make Love, starring Marilyn Monroe.
2001 - In the Time Keeps On Slipping episode of Futurama, the alien Globetrotters challenge Earth to a basketball game so Professor Farnsworth creates a team of mutant, atomic supermen. The side effects of their rapid growth endangers the universe, though.
2010 - In Modern Warfare, one of the Community episodes that fans love most, Greendale Community College is transformed into an apocalyptic war zone after the dean promises the winner of a paintball competition “priority registration.”
2019 - Chris O'Dowd, Rosamund Pike, Patricia Clarkson and Brendan Gleeson star in the short format comedy-drama series State of the Union, in which a couple meet for a drink in a bar every week before their scheduled marriage counselling session with a therapist.
1885 - Loyal comic sidekick to western movie stars like Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers, George “Gabby” Hayes is born in Stannards, New York. A classic curmudgeonly old coot, he was best known for uttering classic phrases like “consarn it”, “yur durn tootin’”, “durn persnickety female”, and “young whippersnapper”.
1965 - Presented as a benefit for the Larry Tajiri Memorial Foundation supporting local community theatre, the Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin western comedy Cat Ballou has its premiere in Denver, Colorado. Marvin would go on to win an Oscar for his performance.
1999 - A sad bit of history happened on this day. Former Diff’rent Strokes star Dana Plato appeared as a guest on The Howard Stern Show. After telling Stern she had been sober for over a decade and denying rumors about her lesbian relationship, some callers accused her of lying and she cried several times. Stern suggested that she do a urinalysis to prove them wrong, and Plato gave them a hair sample for analysis (which she reportedly asked to be returned after the show). In the interview Plato denied having considered killing herself, but she died of a drug overdose the next day, in what was ruled a suicide.