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This Day in Comedy History

October 1 - October 7

October 1

 

1920 - Actor from The Odd Couple, The Bad New Bears, The Front Page and the Grumpy Old Men series, and an Oscar winner for The Fortune Cookie and Golden Globe winner for The Sunshine Boys, Walter Matthau is born in the Lower East Side of New York City.

1935 - Star of stage and screen and winner of a pile of awards and honours Julie Andrews is born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England.

1938 - In Yazoo City, Mississippi, Stella Stevens is born, as Estelle Eggleston. She starred in films like Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), The Silencers (1966) and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968).

1947 - He played Dayton King in ABC’s comedy/sci-fi series No Ordinary Family (2010-2011). Stephen Collins is born in Des Moines, Iowa.

1950 - Randy Quaid, best known as Cousin Eddie in The National Lampoon films and for his Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated supporting performance in The Last Detail (1973), is born in Houston, TX.

1955 - The first of the “classic 39” Honeymooners episodes aired, co-starring Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, with the “entire production supervised by Jackie Gleason”.

1956 - TV history is made as the first major sitcom character “dies”. In the first episode of Make  Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show, his wife is killed off after actress Jean Hagen quit the show.

1959 - Sitcom The Betty Hutton Show premiered on CBS. The sitcom, sponsored by Post Cereals, lasted one season.

1962 – Lucille Ball’s follow-up to I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, premieres on CBS and would be another hit for the Queen of Comedy, running until 1968.

1962 - “Heeeeere’s Johnny… for the very first time!” The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson began its historic run on this date in 1962, as he takes over hosting duties from the popular Jack Paar. Carson would remain a late night staple until retiring almost 30 years later.

1964 - Stand-up comedian Christopher Titus is born in Castro Valley, California. He is best known for producing and starring in his own FOX sitcom Titus.

1965 - Her movie credits include Sharknado 3 (2015), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Chairman of the Board (1998). Model/actress Cindy Margolis is born in Los Angeles.

1969 - Comedian Zach Galifianakis is born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He hosted Funny Or Die’s Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, and starred in the FX series Baskets for which he was nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy Award in 2017. On the big screen he has starred in such films as The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) and Masterminds (2016). His voice can also be heard in Puss in Boots (2011), The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and Missing Link (2019).

1974 - Her comed roles include the shows Rescue Me and Beggars and Choosers. Sherri Saum is born in Dayton, Ohio.

1982 - In St. Louis, Missouri, actor Carly Hughes is born. She’s best known for her role in the ABC series American Housewife (2016-2020).

1984 - Saturday Night Live cast member Beck Bennett is born in Wilmette, Illinois.

1986 - Jurnee Smollett is born in New York City. She began her acting career with child roles in sitcoms, playing Denise Fraser in Full House and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and Jurnee in Cosby, and has since had more grown up sitcom roles as Lisa in The Defenders, Holly in Wanda at Large and Heather in Parenthood.

1989 - Best known for playing Toni Collette’s teenaged daughter in the Showtime series United States of Tara (2009–2011), she was also in the cast of the sitcom Raising Dad (2001) and the movies Hoot (2006), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012), Trainwreck (2015) and Unicorn Store (2017), which she also produced and directed.

1991 - Stand-up Lewis Black guests on Law and Order as porn director Franklin Frome, one of the suspects when an aspiring actress dies of a drug overdose. 

1992 - The Secret of NIMH 2, Simon & Simon and Major Dad actor Jameson Parker is shot twice, in the left armpit and right arm, near his condominium in Studio City by a neighbour during a dispute over dog waste. He was released from the hospital a day later and his assailant would be charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 9 years in prison. 

1993 - After just five weeks on the air, Fox’s disastrous late night experiment The Chevy Chase Show airs for the final time. It would be replaced by reruns of In Living Color.

1993 - Bill Hicks’ entire standup set is removed from Letterman before the show aired, the first and only time a comedians’ entire set was censored. To his credit, in January, 2009 Letterman would invite Hicks’ mother Mary onto his show, run the whole clip, and apologize. January 30, 2009 Letterman has Hicks mother Mary on the show, runs the whole clip and apologizes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2QXBd1i4KI

1998 - The Philippines’ president bans actress Claire Danes from entering the country. Filipinos were angry that in an interview, Danes had called Manila smelly, weird, and full of rats and cockroaches, and described its people as having nothing. She later apologized, but the ban on her, and her films, remains in place.

2003 - Actress Halle Berry and musician Eric Benet announce they are separating, after less than three years of marriage.

2006 - Christopher Bolton stars as a beer-league player running a small, but in demand, business out of a Toronto coffee shop. Rent-A-Goalie debuts on Showcase.

2007 - Comedian and National Lampoon writer Chris Rush released his first book, Milking the Rhino (Dangerously Funny Lists).

2008 - He played one of the three Pemberton children, Ben, in the FOX sitcom The Mick. Jack Stanton is born.

2011 - “Weird Al” Yankovic’s second concert film, "Weird Al" Yankovic Live!: The Alpocalypse Tour, premiered on Comedy Central. The concert was filmed at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario.

2018 - A mid-western family tries to adjust to their new home in Pasadena. The series The Neighbourhood debuts on CBS. 

October 2

 

1946 - Stage and screen actor Eric Peterson, best known for his roles in the Canadian series Corner Gas (2004-2009) and Corner Gas Animated (2018-), as well as This is Wonderland (2004-2006), is born in Indian Head, Saskatchewan.

1949 - “Hen-reeeeeee! Hen-ry Aldrich!” The popular radio program “The Aldrich Family” moved to TV on this date in 1949.

1952 - She first came to prominence by starring in the Showtime series Brothers (1984–1989), and went on to star in a string of sitcoms through the 1990s, including Chris Elliott’s seminal Get a Life (1990–92), Shaky Ground (1992–93), Thunder Alley (1994–95) and The Gregory Hines Show (1997–99). Robin Riker is born in New York City.

1956 - The Jonathan Winters Show, the first of the legendary comedian’s two variety series, premieres on NBC.

1956 - Sitcom The Brothers premieres on CBS.

1961 - The comedy-drama Window on Main Street premieres on US TVs, starring Robert Young as an author who moves back to his home town and writes about it, and its inhabitants.

1968 - He co-starred with Jonathan Silverman and Ernest Borgnine in the NBC sitcom The Single Guy (1995-1997). Joey Slotnick is born in Chicago.

1970 - Legendary Canadian actor Christopher Plummer marries English comedy actress Elaine Taylor.

1970 - Daytime talk show host extraordinaire who also co-starred as the Faith half of ABC’s sitcom Hope & Faith (2003–2006), Kelly Ripa is born in Berlin, New Jersey.

1973 - Vote for him, and all your wildest dreams will come true! Efren Ramirez, best known for playing Pedro in the cult classic indie Napoleon Dynamite (2004), is born in Los Angeles. 

1977 - Elvis Presley and his mother, Gladys, were moved from Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis to a new burial site at Graceland after an attempt was made to steal their bodies.

1978 - Tim Allen is arrested in the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport for trafficking almost one and a half pounds of cocaine. He would plead guilty and provide names of other dealers in exchange for a sentence of three to seven years rather than possible life imprisonment, and would be paroled after two years and four months of time served.

1985 - Rock Hudson dies at his home in Beverly Hills, California, after battling AIDS, at the age of 59.

1990 - Manx actor Samantha Barks is born in Laxey, Isle of Man. She co-starred in Disney Channel’s musical-comedy series Groove High (2012-2013).

1992 - Carry On Columbus, the 31st and final film in the Carry On Series, opens throughout Britain.

1995 - The Comedy Wall of Fame is unveiled on the 10th Floor at the CBC.

1998 - Singing cowboy Gene Autry dies at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness, at age 91.

1998 - A night at the Roxbury premieres in theatres.

1999 - “Weird Al” Yankovic’s concert at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California was recorded, and would be released later that year as: "Weird Al" Yankovic Live!

2000 - Making amends to Dana Anderson, Mike Myers drops in with the cast of Die Nasty for their show at the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton.

2001 - The medical comedy drama Scrubs debuts.

2005 - The divorce is finalized between actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

2007 - Car insurance company GEICO had used the cavemen in their ads to sell their product, so who better to deliver a series described by the network as a "unique buddy comedy that offers a clever twist on stereotypes and turns race relations on its head" than those same neanderthals (at least for 6 weeks). The short lived series Cavemen premieres on ABC.

2018 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus receives the Mark Twain Prize For American Humor.

2019 - Andy Dick injures his head after an Uber Eats driver slams him to the ground. Dick had allegedly tried to pull off a “joke gone awry” by taking the driver’s food delivery away, and spitting at his friend.

2020 - Bill Murray reunites with filmmaker Sofia Coppola for the film On the Rocks starring Rashida Jones, which was opened in limited release on this day.

2020 - Adapting to the restraints imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 virus, Iliza Shlesinger kicks off her Comedy Tailgate Tour at the Starlight Drive-In in Butler, Pennsylvania.

October 3

 

1866 - Legendary vaudeville comedienne Josephine Sabel is born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Though billed as “Queen of Song” her act was primarily humour-based, and featured her yelling songs more than singing them, in a typically racist act for her era. She was also notable as a fashion icon for always wearing the latest dresses from her connections in Paris, and continued performing as a “nostalgia act” into the 1930s.

1950 - Based on the hit CBS radio show, the sitcom Beulah premieres on ABC TV and runs until 1953. It became the network’s first hit sitcom, the first TV sitcom without a laugh track, and the first successful sitcom to star an African-American woman… In fact, the show starred three black women. Beulah was first played by Ethel Waters (the second African-American woman nominated for an Oscar, in 1949), who quit when the production moved to Hollywood. She was then replaced by the woman who starred as Beulah on the radio series: Hattie McDaniel (the first African-American woman to be nominated for, and to win, an Academy Award in 1939). When McDaniel fell ill, she was replaced by Louise Beavers.

1952 - Our Miss Brooks, based on the popular radio show, premieres on CBS and becomes one of TV’s earliest hits. Eve Arden starred in the title role of a sardonic high school English teacher, and the show ran until 1956. (Same night as Ozzie & Harriett)

1952 - After enjoying years of success on the radio, the television version of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, starring the real life Nelson family, premieres on ABC. The show was an instant hit, and remained popular until it finally left the airwaves in 1966.

1956 - One of the first “adventure sitcoms” premieres on NBC, with Wally Cox starring in The Adventures of Hiram Holliday.

1957 - The Real McCoys premieres on NBC, and runs for six seasons.

1959 - One of the stars of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and creator and host of the podcast The Smartest Man in the World, Greg Proops is born in Phoenix, Arizona.

1960 - The Andy Griffith Show premieres on CBS. The hugely successful sitcom runs for 249 episodes, until 1968, and remains popular in reruns today.

1961 - One of the all-time classic sitcoms, The Dick Van Dyke Show, premieres on CBS.

1961 - The animated sitcom Calvin and the Colonel, about a wily fox, a dumb bear and their weasely lawyer (an actual weasel), premieres on US TV.

1962 - The comedy-drama Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly and based on the 1944 Bing Crosby film, premieres on ABC. Also premiereing on ABC that night, the sitcom Our Man Higgins.

1964 – The animated series Underdog premieres on NBC.

1970 - Red Skelton is asked to wear all red for the cover of TV Guide.

1981 - Saturday Night Live features a performance by juggler Michael Davis, introduced by Eddie Murphy. Davis would make five more appearances on the show, and is to date the only juggler to be a featured guest on SNL.

1992 - While performing Bob Marley’s “War” on Saturday Night Live, Sinead O’Connor rips a photograph of Pope John Paul II in half. The stunt got her banned from the show for life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0VpfiMcPPA

1996 - Eve Ensler’s collection of scenes, which she wrote “to celebrate the vagina,” opens for the first time - at HERE Arts Center in New York City. The limited run was to end November 15 but sold-out performances, caused by positive word of mouth and media coverage, let to it being extended through December 31.

1997 - Fathers’ Day, starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, hits theatres.

2001 - According to Jim premieres on ABC, starring Jim Belushi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Larry Joe Campbell. It would run for eight seasons.

2011 - The Nick & Artie Show, hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange, launched nationwide and on SiriusXM.

2013 - The CBS’s sitcom The Millers premieres, starring Will Arnett and Jayma Mays as a brother and sister. Beau Bridges plays their dad, who after 43 years of marriage moves in with Mays and drives her bonkers.

2014 - Kiwi stand-up comedian, TV presenter and proud “westie” Ewen Gilmour passes away in his sleep in his Port Waikato home at 51 years of age.

October 4

 

1895 - Silent film legend known for his deadpan expression, brilliant physical comedy and inspired and innovative gags, Buster Keaton is born in Piqua, Kansas.

1916 - Vaudeville and Borscht Belt stand-up comedian, frequent guest on the biggest variety shows of his era (including numerous appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show, which he also guest hosted several times), actor whose film credits include Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I (1981), Jerry Lewis’ Which Way to the Front? (1970) and The Busy Body (1967), and game show staple as both a guest and host, Jan Murray is born Murray Janofsky in The Bronx, NYC.

1916 - Film director Goerge Sidney is born in Long Island City, NY. At 21 years of age, MGM hired Sidney to direct the Our Gang shorts, which MGM had just acquired from Hal Roach, and whose oldest cast 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).

1918 - The “musical comedy of commerce” Sometime, starring Ed Wynn and Francine Larrimore as a couple whose relationship hits the skids after Wynn is caught in a compromising position with another woman, who as it turns out set him up deliberately, opens at the Schubert Theatre. Also featuring Francine Larrimore, “intriguing villainess” Frances Cameron and future legend Mae West, and written by Rida Johnson Young with music by Rudolf Friml, the show would raise the curtain 283 times at the Schubert and Casino Theatres, despite lacklustre reviews.

1929 - It’s another Our Gang related factoid! Scotty Beckett, who began his career as a child actor in the Our Gang shorts, playing the crooked baseball cap and oversized sweater wearing, mischievous cohort and best friend to Spanky (1934-1935) then later Alfalfa’s cousin Wilbur (1939), is born in Oakland, CA.

1932 - Actor Felicia Farr is born Olive Dines in Westchester County, NY. Movie credits include the Billy Wilder farce Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), and with Walter Matthau in both Charley Varrick (1973) and Kotch (1971), which was directed by her husband, Jack Lemmon.

1935 - In Wyncote, PA, actor Eddie Applegate is born. He’s best remembered for playing Richard Harrison, Patty Duke’s boyfriend (that would be Patty Duke as Patty Lane, not Patty Duke as her own identical cousin Cathy Lane) on The Patty Duke Show.

1935 - He’s best remembered for playing Franz Leibkind in The Producers, Hans Wilhelm Friedrich Kemp in Young Frankenstein, and Hugh Simon in What’s Up, Doc? Actor Kenneth Mars is born in Chicago.

1942 - Dutch actress and comedian Jenny Arean, who is a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, is born.

1945 - Star of the sitcoms That's My Mama, Amen and Madam Secretary, Clifton Davis is born in Chicago.

1946 - Academy Award and BAFTA winning actor Susan Sarandon is born in New York City. She has starred in such comedies as The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Bull Durham (1988), Anywhere But Here (1999), Igby Goes Down (2002), The Banger Sisters (2002), Speed Racer (2008), Middle of Nowhere (2008), Tammy (2014), The Meddler (2015), and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017).

1949 - The Life of Riley, based on the successful radio series and feature film, premieres on TV. The series would run into the 1950s.

1949 - Tough guy whose breakout role was as Goldie Hawn’s love interest in Private Benjamin (1980), and who also appeared in such comedies as Dudley Moore’s Unfaithfully Yours (1984), Animal Behaviour (1989) and Neil Simon’s The Marrying Man (1991).

1950 - The popular ABC then CBS radio show You Bet Your Life gets the TV treatment on NBC, where it airs until 1961. The show is famous for host Groucho Marx’s hilarious interplay with his contestants and announcer, and would become the first game show ever run in syndication.

1950 - Aside from his many dramatic roles, he played Ira Woodbine in the sitcom Cybill. Alan Rosenberg is born in Passaic, NJ.

1954 - The sitcom December Bride premieres on CBS, based on the network’s radio show from 1952.

1956 - He likes his trophies in pairs, as he has two Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and SAG Awards on his shelf. Christoph Waltz, who has starred in such films as Roman Polanski's Carnage (2011), Tim Burton's Big Eyes (2014), Alexander Payne's Downsizing (2017), and Woody Allen's Rifkin's Festival (2020), is born in Vienna, Austria.

1957 - Gee, Wally, is the Beaver really this old? Yup! Leave It To Beaver premiered on this date in 1957. Starring Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont “and Jerry Mathers as The Beav”, the show would run until 1963, and remain a staple of American TV in reruns for decades.

1957 - Bill Fagerbakke, who played goofball assistant coach Dauber in the sitcom Coach, and voice’s SpongeBob’s best bud for life Patrick in the SpongeBob Squarepants TV series and movies, is born in Fontana, California.

1959 - The sitcom Dennis the Menace premieres on CBS. It airs every Sunday evening before The Ed Sullivan Show.

1961 - Lenny Bruce is arrested for obscenity (for the first time) following a performance at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. The arresting officer claimed Bruce spoke “in the vernacular of the pool hall in connection with a sexual act”, a violation of SF Police Code #205. He would be taken to the local precinct, charged, had his bail of $367.50 paid, and arrived back at the club in time for his 1 a.m. set. He was later acquitted by the jury.

1961 - CBS premieres The Alvin Show - the first series starring Alvin and the Chipmunks. Also premiering on the network that night: Mrs. G. Goes to College, a sitcom starring Emmy Award winner Gertrude Berg.

1964 - Satirical newsmagazine This Hour Has 7 Days debuts on CBC with hosts John Drainie, Laurier LaPierre, and Carole Simpson.

1970 - Debut of CBC’s Hart and Lorne’s Terrific Hour starring Hart Pomeranz and Lorne Michaels.

1972 - British actor Colin Gordon (The Pink Panther, the original Casino Royale), dies at age 61.

1974 - Spanish comedy heavy hitter Paco León is born in Seville, Spain. He rose to prominence on Antena 3’s sketch comedy series Homo Zapping, and became a star as the lead in the long-running Telecinco sitcom Aída. He has broken through to international audiences by playing María José Riquelme in the Netflix series The House of Flowers, and Manolo in Movistar's Arde Madrid, which he also wrote and directed.

1974 - John Waters’ infamous, X-rated dark comedy Female Trouble is released. The film, dedicated to Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson, stars Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, Michael Potter, Cookie Mueller, and Susan Walsh. It’s also the second instalment of Waters’ “Trash Trilogy,” following Pink Flamingos (1972) and coming before Desperate Living (1977).

1976 - Alicia Silverstone, who came to fame as the star of the hit comedy Clueless (1995) and received a Golden Globe nomination for starring in the NBC sitcom Miss Match (2003), is born in San Francisco.

1979 - Rachael Leigh Cook, who starred in the films The Baby-Sitters Club (1995), She's All That (1999), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Scorched (2003) and Blonde Ambition (2007), is born in Minneapolis.

1980 - Retired child actor Jimmy Workman is born in Fairfax, Virginia. He’s best known for playing Pugsley in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel, Addams Family Values (1993).

1988 - Melissa Benoist, of Glee fame, is born in Houston, TX.

1989 - At just 48 years of age, Monty Python’s Graham Chapman succumbs to tonsil cancer in Maidstone, Kent.

2002 - William "Buddy" Lester, American comedian and actor known for his work on the sitcoms Barney Miller and The Phil Silvers Show, dies at age 85.

2010 - English comedian Norman Wisdom (Kraft Music Hall, Trouble In Store) dies, aged 95.

2011 - “Weird Al” Yankovic’s second concert film, "Weird Al" Yankovic Live!: The Alpocalypse Tour, is released on Blu-ray and DVD. The concert was filmed at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

2014 - In an episode hosted by Sarah Silverman, SNL airs a sketch called "River Sisters", which L.A. improv group The Groundlings accuse them of plagiarizing from their similar sketch, "Rollin'".

2014 -  A comedy documentary about three comics from the San Francisco comedy scene of the late 70’s/early ‘80 who kept at it, the giant breakthrough forever just a next gig away. Robin Williams, Dana Carvey and Paula  Poundstone are just a few from that scene to offer their thoughts on local comic icons Will Durst, Johnny Steele and Larry “Bubbles” Brown. The film 3 Still Standing has its premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7DiZ2vDR8U

2019 - Eddie Murphy plays comic and 70’s blaxploitation filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore in the biographical film Dolemite Is My Name, opening in limited release on this date. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws1YIKsuTjQ

October 5

 

1923 - Tony Award winning (A Little Night Music) and Oscar nominated (The Sundowners) actor Glynis Johns is born in Pretoria, South Africa.

1931 - Our Gang actor Jackie Cooper is nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for the film Skippy at just 9 years of age. He is still the youngest person ever nominated in that category.

1950 - After three successful years on radio, the television version of  Groucho Marx’s show You Bet Your Life debuts on NBC.

1951 - Stage and screen actor Karen Allen, who began her career with a role in Animal House (1978) and has since starred in such films as Scrooged (1988), Animal Behaviour (1989), Year by the Sea (2016) and Sweet Talker (1991), is born Carrollton, Illinois.

1952 - The sitcom Doc Corkle premieres on NBC. After only 3 episodes, the show is canceled and replaced with Mister Peepers.

1953 - The ABC sitcom Jamie premieres live on American TV. The show would last one day less than a year.

1957 - Stand-up and actor Bernie Mac is born in Chicago

1960 - The sitcom My Sister Eileen premieres on US TV.

1963 - Casper the Friendly Ghost makes his debut on ABC.

1964 – NBC premieres their bold Monday night 90-minute sitcom block “90 Bristol Court”, consisting of three sitcoms all set within the same apartment complex. Karen (7:30pm) starred Debbie Watson with Gina Gillespie as her tomboy sister; Harris Against the World (8pm) starred Jack Klugman as a frustrated Hollywood studio worker and family man; Tom, Dick and Mary (8:30pm) was about a newlywed couple who had to rent their spare room to a carousing friend to afford their rent. The shows couldn’t compete in the ratings with CBS’ “Andy Griffith” block and “90 Bristol Court” didn’t last a full season… Hey, “Ninety Bristol Court” - see what NBC did there?

1969 - Monty Python’s Flying Circus premieres on BBC with the episode Whither Canada? Sketches include The Funniest Joke in the World, the first Whizzo product, and Famous Deaths.

1971 - Lorne Michaels and Rosie Shuster are married.

1972 - The Last Goon Show of All is broadcast on British radio for the first time, starring The Goons (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe).

1974 - Sanford and Son hits the cover of TV Guide.

1975 - Parminder Nagra, star of Bend It Like Beckham (2002), is born in Leicester, England.

1975 - Scott Weinger, an ABC go-to as a sitcom actor (Full House, Fuller House) and writer/producer (Galavant, Black-ish, The Muppets), is born.

1975 - Kate Winslet is born in Reading, Berkshire, England. Among her many credits are such award winning and nominated roles as: her Best Actress Academy Award nominated role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), a Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Golden Globe nominated performance in Roman Polanski’s Carnage (2011), her Best Actress AACTA winning role in The Dressmaker (2015), an NFSC winning performance in Holy Smokes! (1999), an IFTA People’s Choice nomination for The Holiday (2007), and an Emmy nominated Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series turn in Ricky Gervais’ series Extras (2006).

1983 - Actor Jesse Eisenberg is born in Queens, NYC. He began his acting career with FOX’s series Get Real (1999–2000) and the movie Roger Dodger (2002), and has broken out since then with such other film credits as The Squid and the Whale (2005), The Living Wake (2007), Adventureland (2009), Zombieland (2009) and its sequel Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), 30 Minutes or Less (2011), Why Stop Now (2012), Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (2012) and Café Society (2016), American Ultra (2015) and The Art of Self-Defense (2019).

1994 - He played Parker Scavo in Desperate Housewives. Joshua Logan Moore is born.

1998 - Rick Mercer’s new, post-This Hour Has 22 Minutes series Made In Canada debuts on CBC.

2004 - From the Borscht Belt stages of the Catskills to film stardom and the Grammys, and yet still got no respect. Classic stand-up Rodney Dangerfield passes away aged 82.

2007 - Actors Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe divorce. They had been married for seven years.

2018 - A month after winning an Emmy for his guest appearance on the Donald Glover series Atlanta, comedian Katt Williams is arrested after allegedly attacking the chauffeur who met him as he left his private jet in Portland, where he was set to attend Nick Cannon’s Wild N’ Out improv show (Williams had been a cast member on the MTV series). According to the driver, who also sued Williams for $76,000, Williams demanded that his dog ride in the front seat, and when the driver refused he was punched in the face and chased by the comedian and his dog into the terminal.

October 6

 

1908 - Carole Lombard, the future Queen of screwball comedy movies, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1942 - Christian comedian and impressionist Fred Travalena passes away after a battle with cancer, at his home in Encino, CA. He was best known for his appearances on Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts and for his voice work in various cartoons.

1955 - The People’s Choice, a sitcom produced by George Burns’ production company, premieres on NBC and runs until 1958.

1956 - “See the USA in your Chevrolet!” The Dinah Shore Chevy Show premieres on CBS. The variety show would run until 1963.

1958 - CBS premieres The Ann Sothern Show, a sitcom which would run for three seasons.

1960 - The sitcom Angel premieres on CBS.

1961 - Time for some monkey business! On this date in 1961, ABC TV premiered The Hathaways, a sitcom starring Peggy Cass and Jack Weston as the “parents” of three performing chimpanzees in Los Angeles.

1973 - Best known for his appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway? (US) and HarmonQuest, stand-up comedian and actor Jeff B. Davis is born in Los Angeles.

1984 - Martin Short makes his debut on Saturday Night Live. Bits include Ed Grimley and Synchronized Swimming.

2000 - Based on the small-budget 1992 indie film (with Emo Philips as one of the producers), the much larger version of Meet The Parents opens in theatres. It starred Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Robert DeNiro, Blythe Danner and Owen Wilson and would spawn two sequels. 

2004 - Howard Stern announced his five-year contract with Sirius Satellite Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service, free from the FCC's regulations, with tightening broadcast regulation in the aftermath of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy a factor in his decision. The deal, worth approximately $100 million a year for all costs, included a bonus stock payment of $83 million in January 2007 for surpassing subscriber goals.

2007 - Seth Rogen hosts SNL.

2009 - Bill Engvall’s album Aged and Confused comes out.

2009 - Flamboyant comedian Rip Taylor passes away due to heart failure in hospital in Los Angeles, a week after suffering an epileptic seizure.

2017 - After fighting pneumonia for weeks, stand-up comedy road warrior Ralphie May goes into cardiac arrest and passes away in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 45 years old. 

2019 - A fan tweets that Terry Crews rudely refused to take a photo with her at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Nights event, and he claps back that maybe she shouldn’t have “pushed through his kids like a zombie”.

October 7

 

1894 - Del Lord, one of the “Keystone Cops” and director credited with developing the comic style of “The Three Stooges” born in Grimsby, ON.

1950 - The Frank Sinatra Show debuts.

1953 - The American sitcom Colonel Humphrey Flack (which also aired under the titles The Fabulous Fraud, The Adventures of Colonel Flack, and The Imposter) premiered on Wednesday, October 7, 1953 at 9pm on the DuMont Television Network. The show ended in 1954 but was revived for syndication in1958. Alan Mowbray starred as a “Robin Hood” conman who cons other conmen, with Frank Jenks as his sidekick.

1956 - The Steve Allen Show does a tribute to baseball which included guests ranging from Mickey Mantle to Babe Ruth’s widow, but the highlight was a performance of “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello. It was the last time the piece would ever be performed by the duo.

1958 -  She appeared in such movies as The Black Marble (1980), Doin' Time (1985), Stewardess School (1986), Armed and Dangerous (1986), Dr. Alien (1989), and Club Fed (1990). Judy Landers is born in Philadelphia.

1961 - She began her acting career with a part in Dolly Parton’s Straight Talk (1992) and also appeared in Guess Who (2005) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006). On TV, she co-starred with Mark Feuerstein and Lauren Graham in NBC’s sitcom Conrad Bloom (1998), but may be best recognizable to comedy fans for playing Detective Moss in HBO's Barry (2018).

1963 - In its first foray north of the border, Chicago’s Second City brings the touring revue When The Owl Screams to Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre for a six-day run. The reception would be the beginning of a productive relationship that would see Toronto’s Second City in 1973,  SCTV, and a stellar collection of internationally renowned comic talents.

1968 - The Motion Picture Association of America adopts its film rating system, ranging from "G", for general audiences, to "X", for adults only. Comedy films to receive the infamous X-rating would include Russ Meyer’s satire Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), Myra Breckinridge (1970), Stanley Kubrick’s satire A Clockwork Orange (1971), Andy Warhol’s women’s-lib satire Women in Revolt (1971), Marco Ferreri’s La grande bouffe (1974), John Waters’ Female Trouble (1974) and Desperate Living (1977), and Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990).

1970 -  Nicole Ari Parker is born in Baltimore, Maryland. She starred in The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995), with roles since then in such other comedies as Blue Streak (1999), Brown Sugar (2002), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008), Black Dynamite (2009), and Almost Christmas (2016). On TV, she starred in UPN’s sitcom Second Time Around (2004–05).

1974 - In Columbia, South Carolina, Allison Munn is born. She’s best known for her sitcom work - playing Caroline Dupree in Fox’s That '70s Show, Tina Haven in The WB’s What I Like About You, and Anne Harper in Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.

1978 - Omar Miller, best known for playing Charles in Ballers (2015–2019), and Ben in The Unicorn (2019–2021), is born in Anaheim, CA.

1986 - Amber Stevens, who starred in several comedy series - as Ashleigh Howard in ABC Family’s Greek (2007–2011), Maxine in NBC’s The Carmichael Show (2015–2017), and Claire in Happy Together (2018–2019) on CBS - is born in Los Angeles.

1988 - Punchline, starring Tom Hanks, Sally Field and John Goodman, hits theatres.

1989 - Rick Moranis hosts Saturday Night Live.

1989 - Actors Gregory Hines and Jon Voight join tens of thousands of other people in a march and rally in Washington DC, to demand housing for the homeless.

1995 - Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen get married on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, resulting in a couple even more awesome than the sum of its awesome parts.

1996 - While filming an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, American comedian Richard Belzer and Canadian actor Clark Johnson, who play police detectives, are surprised when a real life shoplifter, who mistakes them for real life cops, surrenders to them.

1996 - Stars of The First Wives Club, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton represent the county’s startling fascination with revenge on the cover of Time Magazine.

2003 - Running as an independent candidate, prop comic Gallagher finishes 17th in California’s special gubernatorial recall election. Gallagher’s 5,466 votes are no match for the 4,206,284 cast for the winner - Kindergarten Cop, Twins and Junior star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2006 - Comedian Tim Allen marries actress Jane Hajduk in a small private ceremony in Grand Lake, Colorado. It’s his second marriage.

2008 - “Weird Al” Yankovic released "Whatever You Like", a parody of the T.I. song of the same title, to the iTunes Store. Yankovic said he had come up with the idea for the song just two weeks before.

2010 - Bill Engvall performed at the USO Gala in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

2020 - Adam Sandler foists his latest turd of a movie on the general public, as Netflix releases Hubie Halloween. Sandler plays a simpleton (surprise!), there’s lots of gross-out humour related to bodily functions (surprise!), Rob Schneider makes a pointless, unfunny cameo (surprise!) the plot makes next to no sense (surprise!) and Sandler’s character has a thermos that’s kind of magical (actual non-sarcastic surprise!).