This Day in Comedy History
November 22 - 30
1921 - Stand-up and actor Rodney Dangerfield is born Jacob Rodney Cohen in Village of Babylon, New York.
1940 - Terry Gilliam is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Famous for his many films and as a member of the legendary English sketch troupe Monty Python who was also responsible for all of the group’s absurdist animation, he would later renounce his citizenship and become a British subject.
1941 - An Oscar nominee for his starring role in the film Reuben, Reuben (1983), Tom Conti is born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
1950 - Steven Van Zandt is born in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He starred in the crime comedy series Lilyhammer (2012–2014).
1954 - With her new film Pffffft! opening in theatres and an appearance on Max Liebman Spectaculars, Judy Holliday hits the cover of Life magazine.
1956 - Slightly more versatile than a rock actor Richard Kind, known for playing Mark Devanow in Mad About You (1992–1999, 2019), Paul Lassiter in Spin City (1996–2002) and Andy in Curb Your Enthusiasm (2002–2020), is born in Trenton, New Jersey.
1958 - Daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, known in her own right for starring in such films as Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, Trues Lies, My Girl and Freaky Friday, BAFTA and two time Golden Globe winner Jamie Lee Curtis is born in Santa Monica, California.
1961 - In Mill Valley, California, Mariel Hemingway is born. She’s best known for starring in Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979), a role which earned her Academy Award and BAFTA nominations.
1963 - Lenny Bruce, performing just hours after President Kennedy was assassinated, opens his show with the classic line “Boy, is Vaughn Meader fucked!” Unfortunately the line proved portentous, as Kennedy impressionist and comedian Meader’s career never recovered.
1963 - Brain Robbins is born Brian Levine in Brooklyn, NYC. He’s best known for playing Eric in ABC’s sitcom Head of the Class (1986-1991).
1964 - Cincinnati, Ohio sees the birth of future actor Stephen Geoffreys. He’s best known for his campy role as high school rebel turned vampire Evil Ed in the cult horror comedy Fright Night (1985). He also co-starred in Fraternity Vacation (1985).
1965 - After an initial short run earlier that year at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut and 22 previews, Dale Wasserman’s classic comic tragedy of a man's struggle to better both himself and the world in which he lives Man of La Mancha opens Off-Broadway at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre in Greenwich Village, NYC. It would go to Broadway and end up running for a total of 2,328 performances at different theatres… sounds like someone’s “Impossible Dream” came true, wocka wocka wocka!
1966 - His film credits include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Nicholas Nickleby (2002). Scottish actor Nicholas Rowe is born in Edinburgh.
1967 - Mark Ruffalo is born in Kenosha, Washington. An Oscar nominee for his role in The Kids Are All Right (2010), he also starred in the romantic comedies 13 Going on 30 (2004), Rumor Has It (2005) and Just like Heaven (2005) as well as Thanks for Sharing (2013).
1968 - Danish stage and screen actress Sidse Babett Knudsen is born in Copenhagen. Known for her screen debut in the largely improvisational comedy Let's Get Lost (1997), which won her both the Robert and Bodil awards for Best Actress, she also starred in the rom-coms The One and Only (1999) (AKA Den Eneste Ene) and Mifune's Last Song (1999) as well as Chop Chop (2001), A Hologram for the King (2016), the horror comedy In Fabric (2018) and Limbo (2020).
1980 - Mork and Mindy’s Pam Dawber flies solo on the cover of TV Guide.
1980 - Stage and film actress, singer, writer, international sex symbol and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1930’s, Mae West passes away aged 87 in her Hollywood home.
1984 - She made her film debut in North (1994) then moved on to Manny & Lo (1996) and Ghost World (2001) before winning her Best Actress BAFTA opposite Bill Murray in Lost in Translation (2003) and getting an Oscar nod for Taika Waititi's satire Jojo Rabbit (2019), Scarlett Johansson is born in New York City.
1986 - Actor, musician and comedian known for his role as Louie the garbage man on the sitcom Chico And The Man, as well as from films including Silver Streak, The Cheap Detective, The Shining, Zapped! and Scavenger Hunt, Scatman Crothers passes away at his home aged 76.
1989 - Actor Martin Sheen is arrested for blocking an entrance to the Los Angeles federal building, as part of a protest against U.S. support for El Salvador’s government.
1989 - Alden Ehrenreich is born in Los Angeles. He has acted in such films as Blue Jasmine (2013), the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Warren Beatty’s rom-com Rules Don't Apply (2016).
1992 - 13th Genie Awards in Toronto. Upset at print ads bragging about the host being “the biggest star we could find”, a weight-sensitive John Candy pulls out and is replaced on short notice by Leslie Nielsen. Among the winners is Janet Wright for Bordertown Cafe.
1992 - In WTF news, 60 Minutes airs an interview with Woody Allen, who claims Mia Farrow threatened to have him killed after she learned he was having an affair with her 21-year-old adopted daughter. Funny how angry women get when their partners have affairs with their adopted daughters, huh?
1993 - Mrs. Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, has its premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, and becomes a huge hit.
2015 - His name’s Doo Doo, but don’t laugh. Because on this date, Toronto’s clown prince of slapstick comedy rescued a woman from a vicious assault in the street.
1888 – Harpo Marx was born as Arthur Marx. He was the second oldest of the legendary Marx Brothers comedy team, and unlike his brothers’ comedic wordplay he relied on physical comedy.
1914 - She had roles in such films as Sing You Sinners (1938) opposite Bing Crosby, Christmas in July (1940) and the rom-com Man Alive (1945). Ellen Drew is born in Kansas City, Missouri.
1925 - Noel Coward’s three act rom-com Easy Virtue becomes the playwright’s first work to open outside England, as it premieres at the Broad Theatre in Newark, New Jersey. Coward, who wrote the play at age 25, said that his goal was to present a comedy in the structure of a tragedy "to compare the déclassée woman of to-day with the more flamboyant demi-mondaine of the 1890s". It would go on to have successful runs in both New York and London, and has since been adapted twice into films.
1936 - The first issue of Life magazine is published. At least, the first version of it as the “news in pictures” format we all know it as today. Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a weekly humor publication similar to today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humor pieces and cultural reporting. When that original version of Life folded in the Great Depression, influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched it as the “picture” version of its cousin, Time, the highly successful weekly news magazine Luce already owned.
1948 - Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, best known for writing The Oscars (2000-2014) and his appearances on the celebrity game show Hollywood Squares, for which he also wrote, is born in New York City.
1958 - Harry Einstein (father of Bob Einstein and Albert Brooks), performing as his character “Parkyakarkus” at the Friar’s Club roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, collapses and dies on Milton Berle just after finishing his performance. As he was carried away for doctors in the audience to work on him, emcee Art Linkletter asked singer Tony Martin to perform for the audience. His unfortunate choice: “There’s No Tomorrow”.
1959 - In Belper, Derbyshire, England, actor Maxwell Caulfield is born. His film credits include Grease 2 (1982), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), Empire Records (1995), The Real Blonde (1997) and The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
1959 - At the Broadhurst Theatre, Fiorello! opens on Broadway. The comedic musical about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia’s fight to end Tammany Hall’s grip on city politics would win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which rarely goes to a musical, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and three Tony Awards - Best Musical (shared with The Sound of Music), Best Featured Actor (Tom Bosley, with co-star Howard Da Silva also nominated), and Best Direction (George Abbott). The cast also featured Ellen Hanley, Pat Stanley and Bob Holiday.
1960 - Actor/comedian John Henton is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He’s best known for playing Overton Wakefield Jones on the FOX sitcom Living Single and Milsap Morris on the ABC/UPN sitcom The Hughleys.
1967 - Salli Richardson is born in Chicago. She played Dr. Allison Blake on the Syfy comedy-drama series Eureka (2006–2012) and has acted in such films as A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994), The Great White Hype (1996) and Black Dynamite (2009).
1970 - Actor Oded Fehr is born in Tel Aviv, Israel. He played Antoine in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which very well may be Rob Schneider’s best film.
1971 - American comedian Chris Hardwick is born.
1976 - American comedian and actor Page Kennedy is born. He is best known for portraying Radon Randell in the Spike sports comedy series Blue Mountain State, U-Turn in the Showtime crime comedy series Weeds, and fugitive Caleb Applewhite in ABC’s comedy-drama hit Desperate Housewives.
1979 - Actor and model Kelly Brook is born Kelly Ann Parsons in Rochester, Kent, England. She starred in the NBC sitcom One Big Happy (2015).
1983 - Sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore marries cardiologist Dr. Robert Levine in New York City.
1984 - He’s best known for playing Ryan Evans in the High School Musical film series (2006–2008) and also appeared in the movies Halloweentown High (2004), Return to Halloweentown (2006), Alice Upside Down (2007) and The Adventures of Food Boy (2008). Lucas Grabeel is born in Springfield, Missouri.
1992 - Country legend Roy Acuff, who was a Grand Ole Opry staple in the 1930s and appeared regularly up until several months before his death, passes away in Nashville, aged 89.
1992 - Miley Cyrus is born Destiny Hope Cyrus in Franklin, Tennessee. Her acting credits include Big Fish (2003), Bolt (2008), Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), LOL (2012), So Undercover (2012), The Night Before (2015) and A Very Murray Christmas (2015).
1995 - French filmmaker who directed such movies as the comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Pretty Baby (1978) and Crackers (1984), Louis Malle dies of Lymphoma at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 63.
1996 - Actor Woody Harrelson of Cheers fame and eight other environmental activists are arrested after scaling the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to protest the cutting of redwood trees in northern California, tying up traffic for hours.
2002 - Child actress from the Jenna Fischer sitcom Splitting Up Together, Olivia Keville is born.
2005 - Singers-slash-actors Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, who had married in 2002, announce their separation. Their divorce would be finalized seven months later.
2012 - Larry Hagman, who played befuddled astronaut husband Major Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970), dies of complications from leukemia at the age of 81 - fittingly, the site of his passing is Dallas.
1713 - Irish satirist and author Laurence Sterne, best known for his novel Tristram Shandy, is born in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland.
1826 - Italian author and humorist Carlo Collodi is born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence. He’s best known for his fairy tale novel The Adventures of Pinocchio.
1888 - A prolific stage and screen actress notable for her many appearances in rom-coms, Cathleen Nesbitt is born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England. She was a member of The Irish Players and performed on Broadway in productions such as Gigi (1951) and Sabrina Fair (1953). On the big screen, she starred in an early British “talkie”, Canaries Sometimes Sing (1931). Her first American film was Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) followed by even more rom-coms, like The Parent Trap (1961) and Promise Her Anything (1965). On TV, she played Agatha on the sitcom The Farmer's Daughter (1963-1966). Near the end of her career she also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, the dark comedy Family Plot (1976)... which certainly was NOT a rom-com.
1913 - Considered one of Ireland’s greatest ever Broadway and film actors, American Theater Hall of Famer Geraldine Fitzgerald is born in Greystones, County Wicklow. Her movies include the comedies Cafe Mascot (1936), Harry and Tonto (1974) opposite Art Carney, as Dudley Moore’s eccentric grandmother in Arthur (1981) and Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), and Rodney Dangerfield’s Easy Money (1983).
1918 - “Captain Stubby” (real name Tom Fouts) is born in Carroll County, Indiana. The comedian and author is best remembered for his many humour columns, his own radio show, and particularly for his radio appearances with his musical group Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers.
1942 - “This Day in Comedy History” wouldn’t be complete without a HAPPY BIRTHDAY tip of the cap to legendary Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly. One of the greatest to ever walk the boards. We love ya, Billy!
1944 - Candy Darling is born in Queens, NYC. A trailblazing transgender actress and one of Andy Warhol’s “Warhol Superstars”, she starred in his satire film Women in Revolt (1971). Other comedy movie credits include Myra Breckinridge (1970) and Lady Liberty (1971).
1947 - The US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities finds the so-called "Hollywood 10" in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they are communists.
1947 - For today’s “This Day in Comedy History” we’d love to wish a HOWLING MAD BIRTHDAY to actor Dwight Schultz of The A-Team fame.
1949 - Australian stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and television host Shane Bourne is born in Melbourne.
1950 - Actor Stanley Livingston of My Three Sons is born.
1950 - Guys & Dolls opens at 46th St. Theater in New York City and does pretty well - running for 1,200 performances.
1952 - French comedian and filmmaker Thierry Lhermitte is born in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France. A founding member of the comedy troupe Le Splendid in the 1970s, who are remembered for their films Les Bronzés (1978), Les Bronzés font du ski (1979), Le Père Noël est une ordure (1982) and Un indien dans la ville (1994).
1958 - Another French comedian and filmmaker who broke out as a member of an influential comedy group is born on this day. This time it’s Alain Chabat, born in Oran, Algeria, who was a member of Les Nuls. His notable film credits include La Cité de la peur (1994), French Twist (1995), Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002), Happily Ever After (2004), RRRrrrr!!! (2004), The Science of Sleep (2006) and Houba! On the Trail of the Marsupilami (2012).
1962 - A series that was a huge influence on the British TV shows that followed, the David Frost hosted satire That Was The Week That Was debuts on the BBC.
1962 - Actress Shae D’Lyn of Dharma and Greg was born.
1964 - Comedian and actor Brad Sherwood, of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Fame - and actor Garret Dillahunt, of Raising Hope fame - are born, in Chicago and Castro Valley, CA, respectively.
1968 - Actor Scott Krinksy of Chuck is born.
1974 - In Hanham, Bristol, England, stand-up comedian and TV writer Stephen Merchant is born. He made the hit comedy series The Office (2001–2003), Extras (2005–2007) and Life's Too Short (2011–2013) with Ricky Gervais, and had his own HBO series, Hello Ladies (2013-2014), which sprung from his stand-up act.
1977 - Actor Colin Hanks (Life in Pieces, Roswell, Orange County) is born in Sacramento.
1978 - Actress known for starring in lots of underperforming comedy movies, Katherine Heigl is born in Washington, DC.
1990 - Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland is born.
1991 - Singer Cyndi Lauper and actor David Thornton marry in New York City.
1993 - Jim Carrey makes his Tonight Show debut. Johnny’s other guests were past-Baretta-current-Helltown-star Robert Blake and Olympic sports producer/director Bud Greenspan.
1991 - In their first TV appearance outside of their popular Saturday Night Live segment, “The Superfans” (Chris Farley, Robert Smigel and George Wendt) appear in a skit during the introduction of NBC's game coverage between their beloved Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field.
2003 - After a prolonged illness, Uma Devi Khatri - better known by her stage name Tun Tun, passes away at age 80 in Andheri, Mumbai, India. Known as "Hindi cinema's first-ever comedienne", she acted in almost 200 films with many of her era’s best comedy actors.
1916 - Sitcom pioneer and legend Peg Lynch is born in Lincoln, Nebraska. She created such radio and television shows as Ethel and Albert, The Couple Next Door, and The Little Things in Life. She wrote more than 11,000 radio and television scripts over her career, which continued until shortly before her death at age 98 as she continued to revisit her famous radio characters Ethel and Albert as a couple in their 90s themselves.
1924 - Charlie Chaplin marries his second wife, actress Lita Grey. Like his first wife, she’s a 16 year old actress. Also like his first wife, he asked her to marry him after she told him she was pregnant. The marriage is done very discreetly in Mexico, because under California law the 35 year old Chaplin could have been charged with statutory rape.
1933 - Bing Crosby’s wife, actor and singer Kathryn Crosby best known for appearing in several of his variety specials, is born in West Columbia, Texas.
1944 - “Bueller?... Bueller?...” Comedian, actor and game show host known for his monotonous delivery, Ben Stein is born in Washington, DC.
1947 - Broadway and film actor and TV comedy legend best known starring in NBC’s hit sitcom Night Court (1984–1992), for which he won four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, as well as his own NBC sitcom The John Larroquette Show (1993–1996) and the ABC legal comedy-drama series Boston Legal (2004–2008), John Larroquette is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Movie credits include Stripes (1981), Meatballs Part II (1984), Summer Rental (1985), Blind Date (1987), Second Sight (1989), Madhouse (1990) and Richie Rich (1994).
1949 - Bill Robinson, who performed using the stage name Bojangles, passes away in New York City. A tap dancer, actor and singer, his career progressed from minstrel shows to vaudeville, then on to radio (where he popularized his catchphrase “everything’s copacetic”), Broadway and a recording career, and finally becoming a star on TV and in Hollywood musicals. He is today best remembered for dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films in the 1930s. Robinson’s signature routine was the “Stair Dance,” in which he rhythmically tapped up and down a staircase - an act so renowned and copied that he attempted to patent it. A highly in demand performer, he became the most famous and highest best paid black entertainer of his era - but despite that, Robinson died penniless and his funeral was paid for by longtime friend Ed Sullivan.
FUN FACT (well, not so much a “fun fact” as a “reason why Robinson deserves special credit”) - he used his fame to challenge and overcome numerous racial barriers, such as becoming: One of the earliest black performers to perform solo, overcoming vaudeville's infamous “two-color rule”... and one of the first minstrel/vaudeville performers to perform as black without wearing blackface makeup... and one of the earliest black headliners on Broadway, including becoming the first black performer to headline a mixed-race Broadway production… and the first black performer to appear in a Hollywood film in an interracial dance number (with Shirley Temple in 1935’s The Little Colonel)... and for leading and supporting a number of causes to fight racial prejudice in his private life as well.
1966 - Starting on this night and running until November 27, George Carlin recorded his first standup comedy album, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, live at The Roostertail in Detroit, Michigan. The album, issued by RCA Victor in 1967, would be nominated for a Grammy Award.
1968 - Her film credits include The Paper (1994), A Smile Like Yours (1997), Chutney Popcorn (1999) and The Acting Class (2000). Actor Jill Hennessy is born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
1971 - Emmy winning, Golden Globe and Tony Award nominated actress Christina Applegate is born in Los Angeles. She’s best known for starring in the sitcoms Married... with Children (1987–1997), Jesse (1998–2000), Samantha Who? (2007–2009) and Up All Night (2011–2012), as well as Netflix’s tragicomedy series Dead to Me. Films on her resume include Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991), The Big Hit (1998), The Sweetest Thing (2002), Grand Theft Parsons (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Hall Pass (2011), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), Vacation (2015), Bad Moms (2016), and Crash Pad (2017).
1973 - He played lovable crabman with a mysterious past Darnell Turner on the NBC sitcom My Name Is Earl. Eddie Steeples is born in Spring, Texas.
1977 - Jill Flint, best known for playing Jill Casey in the USA Network comedy-drama series Royal Pains, is born in Cherry Valley, NY.
1979 - “Turtle” from HBO’s comedy series Entourage, Jerry Ferrara is born in Brooklyn, NYC.
1980 - Star of the sitcom Sullivan & Son, Valerie Azlynn is born in New London, Connecticut.
1987 - Just in time for the holiday, John Hughes' classic Thanksgiving movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles opens on North American screens, starring comedy greats Steve Martin and John Candy.
1992 - Disney’s Aladdin premieres, featuring Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie. It would become one of Disney’s most recognizable characters in one of the company’s biggest hits. Unfortunately Williams would later claim that Disney violated the terms of their agreement by using his name and the Genie character for marketing purposes, with the rift between them lasting several years.
1998 - One of the first black superstars of comedy, Flip Wilson passes away from liver cancer in Malibu, aged 64.
1998 - In an interview with People Magazine, Spin City star Michael J. Fox reveals that he has been battling Parkinson's disease for seven years, and had undergone brain surgery eight months earlier to lessen the tremors caused by the illness.
2002 - After four months of marriage, actor Nicolas Cage files for divorce from Lisa Marie Presley. But hey, they had a good run!
2009 - Old Dogs premieres, starring John Travolta, Robin Williams and Kelly Preston.
2012 - If you've been reading our TDICH posts daily, you'll know that November 2012 was a very busy month for Katt Williams! A bench warrant is issued for his arrest in Sacramento, California after he allegedly drove a three-wheeled motorbike on a sidewalk and refused to stop for police, who abandoned their chase for safety issues, claiming Williams narrowly missed several bystanders.
2013 - In Sydney, Australia, Will Ferrell (in character as anchorman Ron Burgundy) joined the panel for a segment on the live Network Ten program The Project, reading some of the day's news and squaring off against veteran Australian news anchor Ray Martin. In a subsequent segment, Ferrell (as himself), Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner promote the film.
1938 - Famed impressionist known as “the man of a thousand voices” Rich Little is born in Ottawa, Canada. His first word is “mama” - but said in Johnny Carson’s voice.
1948 - In St. Louis, Missouri, Marianne Muellerleile is born. She’s best known for playing Gloria the housekeeper in the Bonnie Hunt sitcom Life with Bonnie.
1965 - Second City alum Scott Adsit is born in Northbrook, Illinois. Best known for playing jaded producer Pete Hornberger on the hit NBC sitcom 30 Rock, he has also produced Adult Swim series Moral Orel and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole.
1966 - She played Jerry's girlfriend with “man hands” Gillian on Seinfeld. Kristin Bauer is born Kristin Neubauer in Racine, Wisconsin.
1973 - Peter Facinelli is born in Queens, NYC. He played Mike in Can't Hardly Wait (1998) and “Coop” in Showtime’s dramedy series Nurse Jackie.
1974 - Having the same food day after day is driving Hawkeye crazy, so he orders some ribs... from an old place he used to know in Chicago. The M*A*S*H episode Adam’s Ribs airs on CBS.
1976 - She played Nicole in FOX’s comedy-drama series South Central (1994) and Tiffany in the NBC/UPN sitcom In the House (1995–1998). Maia Campbell is born in Takoma Park, Maryland.
1977 - The cast of Soap survive the cover of TV Guide.
1989 - America’s Funniest Home Videos premieres, prompting TV viewers everywhere to tape themselves 24 hours a day while silently hoping they get hit in the groin by something.
1997 - Flubber is released, starring Robin Williams.
2001 - The Carol Burnett Show’s cast reunite for a second CBS special: Show Stoppers features bloopers and outtakes from the beloved sketch series.
2013 - British comedian Stan Stennett passed away aged 88, two weeks after suffering a stroke. The Welsh comedian was an entertainer his entire life, starting with a childhood job at 9 selling ice cream in theatres, and even during his stint in the army. Also an actor and musician, Stan was a friend of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. He also worked with Max Miller, Spike Milligan, Ronnie Corbett, Ken Dodd and American stars like The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Bob Hope, Tony Bennett and James Cagney.
1925 - British comedian, actor and writer Ernie Wise is born. He is best remembered as half of the award-winning comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, a legendary partnership which lasted from 1941 until Morecambe’s death in 1984.
1955 - He’s not just educational, he’s funny too! Bill Nye the Science Guy is born in Washington, DC.
1956 - Bill Fichtner is born on Long Island in New York City. He played Ryan Sparks in the sitcom Grace Under Fire, Phil Yagoda in HBO’s Entourage, and Adam Janikowski on the sitcom Mom.
1960 - Michael Rispoli is born in Tappan, NY. His movie credits include While You Were Sleeping (1995), To Die For (1995), Burnzy's Last Call (1995) and Kick-Ass (2010).
1962 - Comedian Steve Oedekerk is born.
1963 - Fisher Stevens is born in Chicago. He played Ben in the Short Circuit movies, and Chuck in the 1990s fantasy-comedy television series Early Edition.
1964 - Robin Givens is born in NYC. She’s known for starring in two sitcoms, as Darlene in ABC’s Head of the Class (1986-1991) and Wilma in UPN’s Sparks (1996-1998).
1980 - The sitcom Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari as buddies and roommates who pose as women to get an apartment in an all-female building premieres on ABC.
1982 - While featuring the new show Family Ties on it’s cover for the first time, TV Guide knows its best to highlight the show's biggest star. Welcome Meredith Baxter Birney.
1985 - Actress Amy Irving and filmmaker Steven Spielberg get married. They would later split up.
1993 - She played Claudia Shepard in Sharknado. Audrey Peeples is born in relatively shark-free Lake Mary, Florida.
1997 - The current era of SNL is featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
2007 - Mr. Bean’s Holiday is released on DVD.
2016 - Odisha comedian Papu Pom Pom (real name Tattwa Prakash Satpathy), star of the Odia television comedy serial Excuse Me: Jaha Kahibi Sata Kahibi, makes a public apology at the closing ceremony of the Puri Beach Festival. He had earlier caused an uproar at his show by joking that basil leaves in the city, which street dogs pee on every day, are used in the rituals of Lord Jagannath. He apologized on stage for angering the crowd and the show continued, but afterward he assaulted and splashed in the face with ink… On the night of December 1, he would also prostrate himself in front of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, to seek forgiveness from the deity.
1887 - American comedian Bobby Watson (Hitler Gang, Boys Town) is born in Springfield, Illinois.
1907 - In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opens his first movie theater. He’d end up doing pretty well in the movie biz.
1927 - Chuck Mitchell, best known for playing awful bar owner "Porky" in the raunchy Canadian cult classic Porky's (1982) and its sequel Porky's Revenge! (1985), is born in Connecticut.
1932 - Groucho Marx performs on radio for the first time. He’d end up doing pretty well in the radio biz.
1949 - Paul Shaffer, Canadian musician and comedian best known as the keyboardist and orchestra leader on both Saturday Night Live and David Letterman is born in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
1955 - Starring in the just-opened Broadway production The Vamp, Carol Channing works her way onto the cover of Life magazine.
1959 - “Brat Pack” actor Judd Nelson is born in Portland, Maine.
1961 - Jane Sibbett, known from the sitcom Herman’s Head, is born.
1962 - Comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show fame is born.
1962 - American comedian and actor Paul Dinello is born.
1963 - She first appeared in Jerry Lewis’s film The Ladies Man (1961) and was part of the cast of the sitcom Mrs. G. Goes to College (1961), with guest roles in many other shows. Unfortunately her career was cut short on this day, as Karyn Kupcinet is murdered at just 22 years old in her West Hollywood apartment. The killing remains unsolved and has been linked by some - with no credible evidence - to the assassination of President JFK days earlier.
1963 - Comedian and radio producer Armando Iannucci is born in Glasgow, Scotland.
1966 - Former stand-up comedian, YouTuber/political commentator and voice actor (Bob’s Burgers) Sam Seder is born.
1967 - Actress Anna Nicole Smith is born in Houston, TX.
1967 - American comedian Stephnie Weir is born.
1986 - NBC personality Ahmad Rashad’s marriage proposal is accepted by Phylicia Ayers-Allen (The Cosby Show, Cosby) during halftime of the Detroit Lions/NY Jets NFL football game.
1993 - English comedian and actor best known for his Carry On films, Kenneth Connor dies of cancer at age 75, in his home in Harrow, Middlesex, England.
1997 - The final episode of Beavis & Butt-head airs on MTV. Hehheh. Hehheh.
2010 - After being admitted to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with pneumonia, legendary Canadian actor renowned for his slapstick comedies (notably the Airplane and Police Squad/Naked Gun franchises) passes away in his sleep, aged 84. His body is interred in Fort Lauderdale's Evergreen Cemetery with an epitaph chosen by Nielsen himself: "LET ‘ER RIP” - a reference to his favourite practical joke, a fart machine.
2012 - Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson reprise their Blackadder roles at the We Are Most Amused comedy gala for The Prince's Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The sketch involved Blackadder as CEO of the Melchett, Melchett and Darling bank, facing an enquiry over the banking crisis. It was the first new Blackadder material in 10 years.
2019 - Canadian comedian Mike Ward’s appeal of a Human Rights Tribunal ruling that he must pay $35,000 to a singer with a rare genetic condition who was the subject of one of his jokes, is denied by the Quebec courts. They do however dismiss the $7000 fine he was to pay the young man’s mother. Ward refuses to pay the fine and vows to take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
1939 - Peter Bergman, best known as the founder of the surreal Los Angeles sketch troupe Firesign Theatre, is born in Cleveland, Ohio. When the Firesign Theatre team would take breaks, Bergman would frequently work as a duo with fellow Firesigner Philip Proctor. It was following a Proctor & Bergman show in San Francisco that the two went to eat at the Golden Dragon restaurant and found themselves in the middle of the Golden Dragon Massacre gang shooting. Army veteran Bergman, realizing the gang members’ guns were emptied, left cover in time to see their faces as they fled, and his testimony helped ensure the murderers’ convictions at trial. FUN FACT: Bergman is also known for coining the term “love-in” and organizing the first such event with his fellow Firesigns.
1940 - W.C. Fields is at the top of his game playing a drunk who becomes a security guard in The Bank Dick which opened on this date. Written by Fields under the pseudonym Mahatma Kane Jeeves, it would be hailed as classic of American comedy, and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
1948 - Kukla, Fran & Ollie premieres on TV and runs until 1957. The Chicago-based puppet show was intended for children but ended up being watched primarily by adults. The show starred comedian Fran Allison, who interacted with the puppets, and was entirely ad-libbed, with no script.
1949 - Stand-up and star of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show, Garry Shandling is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1954 - Filmmaker Joel Coen - the Joel half of the Coen brothers - is born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
1955 - Comedian and actor Howie Mandel is born in Willowdale, Ontario, Canada. Probably with a rubber glove over his head.
1959 - At the 2nd Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Dean Martin in Los Angeles, Best Comedy Performance - Spoken goes to Shelley Berman for Inside Shelley Berman, and Best Comedy Performance - Musical goes to Homer and Jethro for The Battle of Kookamonga.
1962 - “Brat Pack” actor Andrew McCarthy is born in Westfield, NJ. He has starred in such films as Pretty in Pink (1986), Mannequin (1987) and Weekend at Bernie’s (1989).
1964 - Don Cheadle is born in Kansas City, Missouri. The Oscar nominated actor’s film credits include Out of Sight (1998) and The Ocean's trilogy (2001–2007). TV roles include his Golden Globe winning role in House of Lies and Emmy nominated role in Showtime’s Black Monday.
1970 - Larry Campbell is born in Cadillac, Michigan. The actor and comedian is best known for playing Andy on ABC’s sitcom According to Jim.
1971 - Now into its second season, the cast of the game changing sitcom All In The Family settle in on the cover of Newsweek.
1972 - You know and love him as awkward accountant Kevin Malone in NBC’s US version of the sitcom The Office. Brian Baumgartner is born in Atlanta, GA.
1976 - Comic actress who starred in the sitcom Mom as well as the Scary Movie films, The House Bunny, the Overboard remake and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Anna Faris is born in Baltimore.
1981 - The final episode of the popular sitcom To the Manor Born airs on BBC1.
1981 - Saturday Night Live cast member for the 2013-2014 season, actor and comedian John Milhiser is born in Belle Mead, NJ.
1986 - Hollywood legend Cary Grant dies of a stroke in Davenport, Iowa, at age 82. The English born Grant starred in some of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, including She Done Him Wrong, The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace.
1997 - A stand-up showcase show that gave many soon-to-be well known comics a valuable boost, that featured a different host for each of its nine seasons (including Wanda Sykes, Harland Williams, Tommy Davidson, Jamie Kennedy and Damon Wayans, with Kathy Griffin as host for the inaugural year), Premium Blend debuts on Comedy Central.
2011 - Comedian Patrice O'Neal dies of a stroke resulting from diabetes, at the age of 41.
2011 - South Korean comedian Choi Hyo-jong is sued by ruling party policymaker Kang Yong-suk over a satirical political monologue he performed on an episode of the sketch comedy series Gag Concert. Luckily the lawsuit comes to nothing - other than Kang getting mocked on social media, and Choi getting a whole bunch of new fans.
2012 - Okay so it was a REALLY busy month for Katt Williams... this time he gets into an altercation at a bar in South Lake Union, Seattle, Washington after failing to show up for his performance at The Paramount Theatre. A woman would claim he flicked a cigarette in her face and threw rocks at her car. He would be arrested three days later.
2017 - Steve Martin’s play Meteor Shower opens on Broadway at the Booth Theater.
2017 - The story breaks that Minnesota Public Radio has decided to fire Garrison Keillor, the humorist, creator and host of the popular variety show A Prairie Home Companion from 1974-2016, after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him by a female writer on the show. The show’s title was also changed, and past episodes removed from their archives - though Keillor denied the allegations and the episodes were later made available again.
1949 - Actress best known as the evil Cleveland Indians owner in the first two Major League films, also from The Secret Of My Success, The Best Of Times and National Lampoon Goes To The Movies, Margaret Whitton is born in Fort Meade, Maryland.
1952 - Stage and screen actor Mandy Patinkin is born in Chicago. He’s best known for playing Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner's classic adventure comedy The Princess Bride (1987) and Rube, the head of a group of grim reapers in the Showtime series Dead Like Me. Other film credits include Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (1990), The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999) and Wish I Was Here (2014).
1957 - Canadian improv master of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame, Colin Mochrie is born in Kilmarnock, Scotland.
1962 - A septette of Sid Caesars line up for the cover of Life Magazine.
1965 - American actor, filmmaker and comedian Ben Stiller is born in New York City. He’s best known for the Meet the Parents movie trilogy, his own sketch comedy series The Ben Stiller Show, and for being the son of the legendary real life-slash-comedy couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
1977 - Carol Channing receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1978 - Gilda Radner, Linda Ronstadt and Steve Martin show what their normal Tuesday nights are like on Rolling Stone’s cover. It would be Gilda’s second time on the cover that month.
1979 - Zeppo Marx, the youngest and last surviving Marx Brother, passes away at age 78. Mostly playing the young romantic, while still playing the theatres he would sub in for any brothers who fell ill. As Groucho once reminisced “He was so good as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers I would have let him play the part indefinitely, if they had allowed me to smoke in the audience”.
1982 - Her film credits include the college comedy Old School, Love Actually and the teen sex comedy The Girl Next Door. On TV, she starred in ABC’s sitcom Happy Endings and the Netflix comedy series The Ranch. Elisha Cuthbert is born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
1985 - Actress from 8 Simple Rules and The Big Bang Theory (the show that would make her one of the highest paid women in the history of television), Kaley Cuoco is born in Camarillo, California.
1996 - While playing at a gala benefit hosted by the Women's Club of Minneapolis in Minnesota, entertainer Tiny Tim suffers a heart attack after performing his signature song “Tiptoe Thru The Tulips”, collapses and dies, aged 64. Two months earlier he had suffered a heart attack while performing at a ukulele festival in Montague, Massachusetts; doctors had urged him to stop performing due to various health concerns, but he ignored the advice, not wanting to disappoint fans.
2003 - Comedy Central airs the documentary Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet.
2011 - The day after his death, comedians gathered to eulogize Patrice O'Neal on Opie and Anthony, including Bill Burr, Bob Kelly, Colin Quinn, Louis C.K., Joe Rogan, Dave Attell, Jim Florentine, Russ Meneve, Joe DeRosa, and Kurt Metzger. The channel dedicated its programming that weekend to the comedian, by airing a 16-hour special titled A Tribute to Patrice O'Neal featuring some of his best appearances, along with memories from fellow comedians.
2012 - Unlike the previous night, when his fans waited three hours at Seattle’s Paramount before finding out he would not be performing, Katt Williams takes the stage and does his show... Unfortunately, after the show a family of three self-described “former fans” join the comics for photos on stage and allege that Williams threatens to shoot them and sics his entourage on them after threatening to shoot them.
2018 - At Columbia University, former Saturday Night Live writer, comedian Nimesh Patel, has his microphone taken away and is kicked off stage by organizers while taking part in the Asian American Alliance’s annual charity event cultureSHOCK: Reclaim, after joking that being a gay black man can not be a choice because, “no one looks in the mirror and thinks, ‘this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it’”. The AAA would issue a statement, explaining that “His remarks did not align with the mission and message of Asian American Alliance. Patel’s remarks ran counter to the inclusive spirit and integrity of cultureSHOCK and as such, the choice was made to invite him to leave.”
2020 - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah features a guest appearance by NBA superstar Stephen Curry.