This Day in Comedy History
October 22 - October 31
1936 - Stand-up and actor who made frequent talk show appearances (Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, 14 Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson spots) who would star in the kung fu parody films They Call Me Bruce and They Still Call Me Bruce, Johnny Yune is born in Eumseong, Korea. He has been called "Hollywood's first Asian star after Bruce Lee".
1938 - Christopher Lloyd is born as Stamford, Connecticut, and where do we begin? The three time Emmy winner is famous for his TV work - playing “Reverend Jim” in the hit sitcom Taxi (1978-1983) - as well as his film roles, most notably for playing "Doc" Emmett Brown in Robert Zemeckis’ blockbuster Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990). Other notable comedy roles include Max Taber in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), his big screen debut, as well as Larry in Mr. Mom (1983), Professor Plum in Clue (1985), Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Henry in The Dream Team (1989), “Switchblade” Sam in Dennis the Menace (1993), and Uncle Fester in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel Addams Family Values (1993)... just to name a few!
1938 - Stage and screen actor Derek Jacobi is born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He played Stuart Bixby in ITV’s Vicious (2013–2016) and stars as Alan Buttershaw in BBC’s Last Tango in Halifax (2012–present).
1939 - Tony Roberts, best known for his roles in six Woody Allen movies, most notably Annie Hall, is born in, fittingly, Manhattan, NYC.
1943 - Her comedy credits include The April Fools (1969), 8 Women (2002), Potiche (2010), The Brand New Testament (2015) and Bonne Pomme (2017). Acclaimed French actress Catherine Deneuve is born Catherine Fabienne Dorléac in Paris.
1945 - Yvon Ponton, the only actor to be in both the Paul Newman movie Slapshot and in all three Les Boys films, as well as the series The Foundation, is born.
1952 - Jazz pianist who sometimes does films like The Big Chill, Transylvania 6-5000, Earth Girls Are Easy, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Switch, Into the Night, Igby Goes Down and The Grand Budapest Hotel, the delightfully quirky Jeff Goldblum is born in West Homestead, Pennsylvania.
1956 - Luis Guzman is born in Cayey, Puerto Rico. He starred in HBO’s How to Make It in America as well as Cameron Crowe's Roadies on Showtime… and his big screen credits include Out of Sight, Punch-Drunk Love, Welcome to Collinwood, Stonewall, Waiting..., and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events… but we might love him most for his guest appearance on Community, where he may have only acted in one episode, but was prominently featured week after week in statue form.
1962 - We know him as an actor for his A+ work on HBO’s sketch series Mr. Show with Bob and David as well as The Larry Sanders Show and AMC’s Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul. He’s also won Emmy Awards as a writer from Saturday Night Live, The Ben Stiller Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Get a Life. As a producer, he discovered the comedy duo Tim & Eric and got Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on the air. Comedian Bob Odenkirk is born in Berwyn, Illinois.
1962 - Vaughn Meader’s fun-with-the-Kennedys album First Family is recorded. The album would be the fastest selling LP in recording history, win the Grammy for Album of the Year (no, not Comedy Album, ALBUM of the YEAR) and also make him a star - a designation he would hold for exactly 13 months.
1965 - She’s known for starring in the movies Big Top Pee-wee, Hot Shots! and its sequel Hot Shots! Part Deux. Valeria Golino is born in Naples, Italy.
1966 - “Weird Al” Yankovic took his first accordion lesson. We’re gonna say that was a very good move.
1967 - In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Ned Mencia is born… but you probably know him better by his stage name, Carlos Mencia. The stand-up comedian and actor is best known for hosting the stand-up comedy show Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central… and for his feud with Joe Rogan.
1967 - Aged 73 and more than 40 years into her career, comic Moms Mabley makes her network TV debut on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
1969 - He acts in movies (Three Kings, The Wolf of Wall Street) and on TV (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret)... He’s a creator (MTV’s Jackass TV and film franchise)... He’s an acclaimed, Oscar-winning filmmaker (Adaptation., Being John Malkovich, Human Nature)... Spike Jonze is born Adam Spiegel in NYC.
1973 - Carmen Ejogo is born in Kensington, London, England. She is best known for her roles in such films as Metro (1997), Love's Labour's Lost (2000), What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) and Away We Go (2009).
1975 - Jesse Tyler Ferguson is born in Missoula, Montana. He’s best known for playing Mitchell Pritchett in the sitcom Modern Family (2009–2020), a role which earned him five consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
1977 - The cast of Welcome Back, Kotter hang out on the cover of TV Guide.
1977 - Hee-Haw actress Marianne Gordon and singer Kenny Rogers are married.
1981 - He’s D.J. Conner in the long-running hit sitcom Roseanne and its follow-up The Conners - Michael Fishman is born in L.A. County.
1983 - John Candy hosts Saturday Night Live.
1990 - Former child actor Jonathan Lipnicki, known for Jerry Maguire (1996), Stuart Little (1999) and Stuart Little 2 (2002), The Little Vampire (2000) and Like Mike (2002), is born in Westlake Village, CA.
2003 - Actor and singer Liza Minelli files for divorce from producer David Gest. The previous day, Gest had filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming Minelli beat him during alcoholic rages.
2007 - Marie Osmond (Donny & Marie) fainted on live television during ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.
2007 - He played Max Fuller in the atrociously awful (not that we’re blaming him!) Netflix sitcom, Full House sequel Fuller House. Elias Harger is born.
2009 - Innovative TV pioneer, not to mention a very nice person and a very funny guy, Soupy Sales passes away from cancer, aged 83.
2013 - Ben & Jerry's announce they will be releasing a limited edition ice cream flavor in promotion of the film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, called Ron Burgundy's Scotchy Scotch Scotch.
2014 - A block of West 121st Street in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Harlem, where George Carlin grew up, is renamed "George Carlin Way" in his honour.
1881 - Al Christie, who began his career at David Horsley's Centaur Film Company in Bayonne, New Jersey, is born in London, Ontario. One of the Canadian pioneers of Hollywood, when Centaur created a west coast unit, The Nestor Film Company, Christie, who had begun his career turning out weekly single-reel Mutt and Jeff comedies based on the popular comic strip, was put in charge. Thus, when Nestor established the first permanent movie studio in Hollywood, Christie became Hollywood’s first studio boss.
1925 - Comic, magician and future King of Late Night Television, Johnny Carson is born in Corning, Iowa.
1941 - The Disney animated classic film Dumbo is released.
1950 - Vaudeville superstar singer, comedian and actor Al Jolson dies in San Francisco at the age of 64. Best remembered today for starring in The Jazz Singer, the first “talkie” (talking film), he billed himself as "The World's Greatest Entertainer" and was America's most famous and highest-paid star of the 1920s, though he is criticized for his frequent blackface performances.
1954 - He broke out as a filmmaker with his “Father Knows Best” comedy trilogy - Pushing Hands (1991), The Wedding Banquet (1993), and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) - before becoming an acclaimed, three time Oscar winning superstar director. Ang Lee is born in Chaozhou, Taiwan.
1959 - “Weird Al” Yankovic is born in Downey, California, USA.
1959 - Director Sam Raimi, perhaps best known for creating the Evil Dead film and TV franchise, is born in Royal Oak, Michigan.
1964 - Prolific actor who usually wore a gorilla suit, or a robot suit, or even - confusingly - both, when he played Ro-Man in Robot Monster (1953), gets a rare on screen credit for his performance as Gorgo the Gorilla in The Addams Family episode, Morticia Joins the Ladies League.
1969 - Actor Jon Huertas is born Jonathan William Scott Hofstedt in New York City. He’s best known for playing witch hunter Brad Alcerro in the teen sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Detective Esposito in Castle.
1976 - Ryan Reynolds is born in Vancouver.
1976 - Alice’s Linda Lavin asks “coffee, hon?” on the cover of TV Guide.
1982 - Billy Barty began acting as a three year old in 1927, and became a prominent dwarfism activist as a young adult, establishing the Little People of America organization in 1957. By the 1980s, it was time to realize another dream by opening Billy Barty’s Roller Fantasy! The family friendly rink would also serve as a concert venue on Saturday nights (don’t worry, you can still roller skate while the bands perform) for decidedly less family friendly rock, punk and heavy metal bands. Which brings us to this night in 1982; perhaps the most interesting and surreal of these events, as Barty plays host to a couple of relatively new metal bands that would both make it huge. The headliners? RATT. Their opening act? Metallica, who played an economical nine songs including the world premiere of “Whiplash.” We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say this is probably the only time Billy Barty ever worked with RATT and Metallica on the same date - and it’s probably also one of the few roller-skating audiences RATT or Metallica ever performed for. Unfortunately Barty had to close his rink by 1984, but at least we have the stories - and ticket stubs like this one to prove that they actually happened.
1985 - Actress Masiela Lusha, best known for starring as Carmen in ABC’s sitcom George Lopez, as well as the films Time of the Comet and Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, is born in Albania.
1986 - She played Raviva in MTV’s Underemployed, and Maddie in Bravo’s Imposters. Inbar Lavi is born in Ramat Gan, Israel.
1992 - In Living Color’s David Alan Grier, with Larry Miller opening, play the annual Gator Growl at the University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
1993 - Actor Taylor Spreitler is born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She’s known for acting in the sitcoms Melissa & Joey (2010–2015) and Kevin Can Wait (2016–2018), and the movies Leprechaun Returns (2018) and 3 Day Test (2012).
1994 - In Kalispell, Montana, actor Margaret Qualley is born. She is known for the films The Nice Guys (2016) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
1998 - Amandla Stenberg is born in Los Angeles. She played as Halle Foster in NBC’s sitcom Mr. Robinson (2015).
2003 - It all looked so good on paper!… NBC’s US version of the hit UK series Coupling, after less than a month on TV, airs its final episode. 6 of its 10 episodes were left unaired. Ouch.
2004 - After the wrong vocal track was played during her performance on Saturday Night Live, which revealed she was lip-synching, Ashlee Simpson dances a bizarre jig and then walks off stage.
2010 - Singer Katy Perry marries comedian Russell Brand at a tiger sanctuary in India. The coupling would end the same way most tiger-sanctuary-marriages do: with a divorce two years later.
2020 - Weeks after its limited theatrical release, Sofia Coppola’s film On the Rocks, starring Rashida Jones and Bill Murray, gets a wide release on Apple TV+.
1884 - Emil Fjellström is born in Östersund, Sweden. His acting career began with a role in the comedy Thomas Graals bästa (1917), written by Gustaf Molander, directed by Mauritz Stiller and starring Victor Sjöström and Karin Molander. Working steadily until his death in 1944, he is remembered for his comedic roles, particularly when playing stern but affectionate characters. Other notable credits include Secret Svensson (Hemliga Svensson) (1933), With You in My Arms (Med dej i mina arma) (1945), and Thunder and Lightning (Blixt och dunder) (1938).
1895 - English Actor whose films include Holiday Camp (1947), Easy Money (1948), Talk of a Million (1951), Meet Me Tonight (1952), Those People Next Door (1953) and The Square Ring (1953), Jack Warner is born Horace John Waters in Bromley-by-Bow, London, UK.
1947 - Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in A Fish Called Wanda also known for The Big Chill, Dave, I Love You To Death and In & Out, Kevin Kline is born in St. Louis.
1980 - The final episode of David Letterman’s morning show airs on NBC.
1981 - ABC’s sitcom Maggie, based on the books of Erma Bombeck and starring comedian Miriam Flynn, premieres. The story follows a housewife in Dayton, Ohio as she deals with her husband and three children - one of whom was literally never seen because he was literally always in the bathroom. Doris Roberts of future Everybody Loves Raymond fame co-starred as Loretta, Maggie's friend and hairdresser.
1984 - Having been discovered by Mike Nichols, and having the project shepherded by the director, Whoopi Goldberg’s one person presentation The Spook Show (by then retitled Whoopi Goldberg) makes its Broadway debut
1989 - The Kids in the Hall TV series makes its debut on CBC.
1989 - Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is sentenced for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer to 72 hours in jail and 120 hours of community service at a women’s shelter.
1994 - Raul Julia passes away at age 54 in Manhasset, Long Island, NY, four days after suffering a stroke and falling into a coma. He had been battling stomach cancer for three years. The Emmy and Golden Globe winner and multiple Tony Award nominee is known for such films as Moon Over Parador (1988), Tempest (1982), Trading Hearts (1988), Mack the Knife (1990) and as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993).
2000 - Michael Richards returns with his first TV project since Seinfeld went off the air, The Michael Richards Show, in which he plays a bumbling detective. Despite NBC retooling the show, ratings are poor and the series lasts only until December.
2003 - Actor Hudson Yang (Fresh Off The Boat) is born.
2006 - Based on the hit 1992 Whoopi Goldberg movie, Sister Act the musical, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater and book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, premieres in California at the Pasadena Playhouse. It would later have West End and Broadway runs and be produced around the world.
1912 - “How-dee!” One of the most famous and influential “country comedians” of all time, Minnie Pearl is born Sarah Ophelia Colley in Centerville, Tennessee. She would be a regular on the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years (1940-1991) and a fan favourite cast member on the hit TV comedy-variety show Hee Haw for more than 20 years (1969-1991), until her performing career was ended by a debilitating stroke. She was known for her red-and-white checkered dress and a flower-decorated straw hat with a $1.98 price tag still dangling from it. Her bronze statue stands next to Roy Acuff's at the Ryman Auditorium - the home of the Opry.
1924 - Prolific actor well known to comedy audiences for his TV and film work, Billy Barty is born in Millsboro, PA. His career would span seven decades, and earn him a spot on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. FUN FACT: Also a prominent activist for dwarfism, Barty founded the Little People of America organization in 1957.
1928 - She’s best known to us as Mrs. Cunningham (or to Fonzie as “Mrs. C”) on the hit ABC sitcom Happy Days (1974-1984), and her film roles include Sabrina (1954), Teacher's Pet (1958), Operation Petticoat (1959) and The Evening Star (1996). Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Marion Ross is born in Watertown, Minnesota.
1949 - Film credits include Murphy's Romance, Hard Promises, 27 Dresses and Jack. TV credits include Showtime’s Beggars and Choosers, ABC’s Roseanne, and NBC’s The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. Stage and screen actor Brian Kerwin is born in Chicago.
1957 - “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” Nancy Cartwright, best known for voicing Homer and Marge’s troublemaking scamp Bart as well as their baby Maggie and various other characters in Fox’s hit animated series The Simpsons, is born in Dayton, Ohio.
1963 - Her acting resume includes the sitcoms Square Pegs (1982-1983) and A League of Their Own (1993), based on the movie, as well as the films Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and Dumb Luck (2001). Tracy Nelson is born in Santa Monica, CA.
1964 - Dr. Hibbert in The Simpsons, Rosie in F Is for Family, and various characters in Seth MacFarlane's shows Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad!, Kevin M. Richardson is born in NYC.
1964 - On one of his “really big shows”, Ed Sullivan welcomed The Rolling Stones as guests for the first time. So many people complained that Sullivan said he’d never invite them back onto The Ed Sullivan Show - but they would make another appearance, in 1965.
1964 - Michael Boatman, who played Carter Heywood in ABC’s sitcom Spin City and sports agent Stanley Babson in HBO’s sitcom Arli$$, is born in Colorado Springs, CO.
1965 - Film credits include The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), If You Don’t, I will (2014), The Very Private Life of Mister Sim (2015), Families (2015), Sink or Swim (2018) and Mother Schmuckers (2021). Mathieu Amalric is born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
1966 - Actors Burt Reynolds and Judy Carne divorce. They had married in 1963.
1969 - Best known for her 12 years on The Daily Show, and since then on her own series Full Frontal, the delightful Samantha Bee is born in Toronto.
1970 - He played William Shakespeare in the Tony Award-winning musical Something Rotten!, Adam Pascal is born in The Bronx, NYC.
1971 - Comic, actor and musician best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on The Office, but also from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and films like Hot Tub Time Machine and Pineapple Express, Craig Robinson is born in Chicago.
1971 - In Los Angeles, Leslie Grossman is born. She is known for her roles on WB comedy series, playing Lauren in the sitcom What I Like About You, and Mary Cherry in the comedy-drama Popular.
1972 - She played Lynn Searcy on UPN’s sitcom Girlfriends (2000-2008). Persia White is born in Nassau, Bahamas.
1975 - Beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show episode Chuckles Bites the Dust airs, in which the WJM crew tries to deal with the death of the station’s children’s clown. It's widely considered one of the series' best - and funniest - episodes.
1980 - James Gregory and Hal Linden of Barney Miller hit the cover of TV Guide.
1980 - Actor and model Mehcad Brooks is born in Austin, TX. He is known for his roles in two comedy-drama series, playing Matthew Applewhite in ABC's Desperate Housewives and Jerome in CW’s The Game.
1981 - Another Desperate Housewives actor-slash-male model born on this day in the state of Texas? Yes, ma’am. This time it’s Josh Henderson, who played Austin McCann, born in Dallas. Yee-haw!
1982 - Bob Newhart, who had previously starred in the hit sitcom The Bob Newhart Show, returns to network TV with his new sitcom on CBS, Newhart. It would be a hit too.
1986 - With SNL being preempted by a Mets/Red Sox World Series game, the episode is taped in front of the live studio audience and airs two weeks later, prefaced by an “apology” from Mets pitcher Ron Darling.
1988 - Krista Marie Yu, known for her roles in two sitcoms, is born in Alameda, CA. She played Molly Park in ABC’s Dr. Ken, and Jen in Fox's Last Man Standing.
1993 - Horror movie icon Vincent Price passes away in Los Angeles, CA, at the age of 82. Among his comedy roles: The Raven, Catchfire, Theater of Blood, Dead Heat, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Bustin’ Loose, Scavenger Hunt, The Monster Club, Elvira's Haunted Hills, House of Long Shadows, Comedy of Terrors, Tales of Terror, Beach Party, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, It's Not the Size That Counts, Bloodbath at the House of Death and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. He also voiced (and sang as) Professor Rattigan in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective as well as The Thief and the Cobbler and various Scooby-Doo episodes and movies. On TV he also played Egghead in the 1960s TV series Batman, and served as the poetic narrator for every episode of the Canadian cult classic comedy series The Hilarious House of Frightenstein… so yeah, the dude had comedy chops.
1993 - Rachel Matthews, who played Danielle in the films Happy Death Day and its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, is born in Los Angeles.
1997 - Chris Farley made his final appearance on Saturday Night Live, as a first-time host. The cold open featured Lorne Michaels contemplating Farley's ability to host with Tim Meadows advocating that "he will be calm, he will be focused, and he will be good… His party days are over." Chevy Chase was Farley's "sponsor" in the sketch. The episode was to include another Bill Brasky sketch, where the Brasky Buddies (Farley, Will Ferrell and Norm Macdonald) drunkenly share stories about their superhuman friend Bill Brasky at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, with Ana Gasteyer and Tim Meadows as A.A. members - unfortunately it was cut after dress rehearsal, where Farley’s big fake teeth kept falling out and he stumbled over his lines. Clips of this sketch were briefly made available as “The Best of Chris Farley on SNL”.
2004 - SNL’s Lorne Michaels becomes the first non-American to be presented with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
2008 - Seth Meyers hosts SNL’s Weekend Update for the first time solo.
2010 - Andy Dick is photographed flashing his genitals at a cafe in Los Angeles. According to a witness, Dick was sitting with a group of about four people and kissed one of the guys on the lips before whipping out his privates and fleeing the scene. “He was outside yelling at a celebrity tour bus that was going by, saying ‘I’m right here, I’m right here!’” So, a pretty uneventful day by Andy Dick standards.
1890 - Italian author and humorist Carlo Collodi, best known for his fairy tale novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, dies suddenly in his home town of Florence, at the age of 63.
1914 - Comic actor Jackie Coogan is born in Los Angeles. Coogan first gained fame as the title character in the Charlie Chaplin classic The Kid, then 43 years later began his most famous role as Uncle Fester on The Addams Family.
1942 – Bob Hoskins, English actor (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Super Mario Bros.) was born.
1946 - He’s most famous for hosting Wheel of Fortune (in fact, he’s the world record holder for longest tenured game show host), but he also hosted his own late night talk show and played a Buffalo, New York, newscaster in Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) - and is a subject of obsession for Martin Short’s SCTV/Saturday Night Live character Ed Grimley. Pat Sajak is born in Chicago.
1953 - In Braddock Pennsylvania, Lauren Tewes is born. She is best known for playing Julie McCoy on ABC’s The Love Boat (1977-1986).
1954 - Actor D.W. Moffett is born in Highland Park, Illinois. He was one of the stars of the sitcom For Your Love (1998–2002).
1956 - Rita Wilson is born Margarita Ibrahimoff in Hollywood. Her film resume includes roles in such films as Volunteers (1985), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Now and Then (1995), That Thing You Do! (1996), Jingle All the Way (1996), The Story of Us (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), It's Complicated (2009), and Larry Crowne (2011). She also championed and produced the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), based on Nia Vardalos’ screenplay/one woman show.
1960 - Broadway (Next Fall), TV (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and film (Just a Kiss, Space Chimps, Milkwater) actor Patrick Breen is born in Brooklyn, NYC.
1961 - His film roles include Steel Magnolias (1989), Twister (1989), Jersey Girl (1992), The Cowboy Way (1994), Miracle on 34th Street (1994), Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), Home for the Holidays (1995), 'Til There Was You (1997), Three to Tango (1999), Unbeatable Harold (2006), The Campaign (2012) and Behaving Badly (2014). Golden Globe winning actor Dylan McDermott is born in Waterbury, Connecticut.
1962 – Cary Elwes is born in Westminster, London, UK. The English actor is best known for starring as Westley in The Princess Bride (1987) and in the title role in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Other notable comedy credits include Hot Shots! (1991), Liar Liar (1997), Ella Enchanted (2004) and Ivan Reitman’s No Strings Attached (2011).
1963 - Comic actor Tom Cavanaugh, best known for Ed, is born in Ottawa, Canada.
1966 - He’s known to comedy fans for his work in two sitcoms, playing Martine in Nikki (2000-2001) and Derek in I’m in the Band (2009-2011). Steve Valentine is born in Glasgow, Scotland.
1966 - In a memorable episode, Liberace played a dual role, as both a good and evil pianist, on Batman.
1970 - Having evolved from its form as Bull Tales in the Yale University student newspaper, Garry Trudeau’s comic strip Doonesbury makes its debut in twenty-eight newspapers. At its peak it would be featured in more than 1400.
1971 - Rosemarie DeWitt, best known for playing Charmaine Craine in the series United States of Tara, is born in Flushing, Queens, NYC.
1973 - Seth MacFarlane is born in Kent, Connecticut… which probably isn’t all that far from Quahog, Rhode Island.
1977 - Actor Jon Heder is born in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has starred in such films as Just Like Heaven, The Benchwarmers, School for Scoundrels, Blades of Glory, Mama's Boy and When in Rome, but we will forever love him most for rocking our worlds in Napoleon Dynamite.
1983 - Nigerian actress Folake Olowofoyeku is born. She stars in Chuck Lorre’s CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola.
1984 - A pilot throws a Coke bottle from his plane that lands unbroken in the African wilderness. A tribesman finds it and, never having seen anything like it previously, thinks it must be a gift from the Gods. That’s the premise of the South Africa/Botswana co-pro film The Gods Must Be Crazy which, a full four years after it’s Johannesburg premiere, and film festival presentations the world over, finally opens in the USA, and becomes a hit.
1996 - Written by Ben Stiller and Drake Sather, the mock profile Derek Zoolander - Model airs as part of the VH1 Fashion Awards. It would be the first look at the character and would prompt another short for the 1997 VH1 Awards, and two films. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTz03HABurw
2004 - The Bill Engvall album A Decade of Laughs is released.
2012 - A modern reimagining of The Munsters called Mockingbird Lane airs on NBC, but the network decided not to pick the pilot up as a series due to disagreements about the show’s darkness of tone.
1911 - The Nestor Film Company, the west coast unit of David Horsley's Centaur Film Company in Bayonne, New Jersey, establishes the first permanent movie studio in Hollywood. The operation is managed by Canadian Hollywood pioneer Al Christie, who began his career at Centaur turning out single-reel Mutt and Jeff comedies every week, based on the popular comic strip.
1939 - Legendary English comedian John Cleese, of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda fame, was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England.
1946 - Canadian-American comedy filmmaking superstar Ivan Reitman is born in Komárno, Czechoslovakia. Among the many classic he has directed and/or produced are Animal House (1978), Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Beethoven (1992), Dave (1993), Junior (1994), Space Jam (1996) and Howard Stern’s Private Parts (1997).
1947 - The radio show You Bet Your Life, starring Groucho Marx, premieres on ABC. It later became a hit television show on NBC.
1950 - Sardonic author Fran Lebowitz is born in Morristown, New Jersey. She is best known for her books, the collections of comedic essays Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981), and for being the subject of Martin Scorsese’s HBO documentary Public Speaking (2010) and Netflix docu-series Pretend It's a City (2021).
1951 - Jayne Kennedy (Group Marriage, Let’s Do It Again) is born in Washington, DC.
1952 - Actor, comedian and filmmaker Roberto Benigni is born in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. He is best known for his Holocaust comedy-drama Life Is Beautiful (1997), for which he won two Academy Awards, for Best Actor (the first for a non-English speaking male performance) and Best International Feature Film. His other films include Berlinguer, I Love You (1977), Tu mi turbi (1983), The Little Devil (1988), Johnny Stecchino (1991), The Monster (1994), Pinocchio (2002) and The Tiger and the Snow (2005), while he has also acted in others’ films, including portraying Inspector Clouseau’s son in Blake Edwards’ Son of the Pink Panther (1993), and his collaborations with Jim Jarmusch, including Down by Law (1986), Night on Earth (1991) and Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), and Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (2012).
1953 - When he wasn’t busy doctoring on Voyager as the most famous hologram in Star Trek canon, he was earning an Emmy nod for playing Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years. On the big screen, he played “The Cowboy” in Innerspace. Robert Picardo is born in Philadelphia.
1954 - Marilyn Monroe’s divorce from Joe DiMaggio is finalized, ten months after they had gotten married.
1954 - Walt Disney’s first television program, named Disneyland after his yet-to-be completed theme park, premieres on ABC.
1968 - Actor Sean Holland is born. He’s best known for his roles in Clueless - playing Lawrence in the movie, and then Sean Holiday in the teen sitcom adaptation of it.
1990 - Patrick Swayze hosts Saturday Night Live. While it’s notable for the musical guest being Mariah Carey, and the debut of Rob Schneider as a cast member, it is most remembered for the sketch where the host and newcomer Chris Farley portray dancers auditioning for Chippendales. The manic, frantic dance off became one of the most popular sketches in the history of the show. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xai10q
1993 - Troy Gentile is born Troy Francis Farshi in Boca Raton, Florida. He’s best known for playing Mark in Hotel for Dogs and Barry Goldberg on the comedy series The Goldbergs. He has also twice played younger versions of Jack Black‘s characters, in Nacho Libre and Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
2005 - A Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s classic comedy The Odd Couple opens at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane star as Felix and Oscar, respectively - except for three January shows, in which Brad Garrett (who played Murray in the same production) filled in for Lane due to illness. The show would raise the curtain 249 times until closing the following June.
2019 - Dave Chappelle is presented with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
1929 - Winner of two Golden Globes for acting - in the same year - as well as a Tony Award, with additional Academy Award, Emmy and BAFTA nominations, Joan Plowright is born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, England. Her career began with roles in such plays as The Country Wife and The Chairs, before moving on to films such as Enchanted April (1992), Dennis the Menace (1993), Last Action Hero (1993), 101 Dalmatians (1996) and Tea With Mussolini (1999).
1944 - He’s best known for his dramatic work in the TV series Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, which won him a boatload of awards, including a Golden Globe and four Emmys, but he also did some comedy work - including his own series, the Hill Street Blues spinoff Beverly Hills Buntz (1987–1988). Dennis Franz is born Dennis Franz Schlachta in Maywood, Illinois.
1950 - The Jack Benny Program premieres nationally on CBS and has a hugely successful run until he calls it quits in 1965. The radio show, which continued until 1955, had begun in 1932, making Jack Benny’s variety show one of the biggest benchmarks in 20th century comedy.
1952 - Actress from the Ghostbusters films as well as Pretty in Pink, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Who’s Harry Crumb, Corvette Summer and the TV series Designing Women, Annie Potts is born in Nashville, Tennessee. She also voiced Bo Peep in the Toy Story movies.
1956 - Elvis Presley made his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, singing several songs, including “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog.”
1962 - Princess Vespa in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, who also starred in Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing (1985) with John Cusack, and the cult comedy Modern Girls (1986) with Virginia Madsen, Daphne Zuniga is born in San Francisco, CA.
1963 - American-Canadian actress whose film roles include Dumb & Dumber, What Women Want, Down Periscope and Beautiful Girls, Lauren Holly is born in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
1965 - Jami Gertz is born in Chicago. She’s best known for her roles in such sitcoms as The Facts of Life on NBC, Still Standing and Square Pegs on CBS, and ABC’s The Neighbors. Film credits include The Lost Boys, Sixteen Candles, Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, Mischief and Sibling Rivalry.
1966 - In our opinion he’s one of the greatest TV sidekicks of all time. Comedian and actor Andy Richter, who appeared in all of Conan O’Brien’s late night shows - from Late Night to The Tonight Show then on to Conan - is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also starred in a few of his own TV series, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Quintuplets and Andy Barker P.I., and has a number of movie credits, including his first big screen role as Kenny, the cabin boy who is somehow even dumber than the other cabin boy in Cabin Boy.
1967 - Comedian and singer Jodie "Butterbeans" Edwards, the surviving half of the long-running vaudeville duo Butterbeans and Susie, dies as he walks onstage at the Dorchester Inn, outside Chicago.
1967 - Oscar and three time Golden Globe winning rom-com superstar Julia Roberts, whose many films include such hits as Mystic Pizza (1988), Steel Magnolias (1989), Pretty Woman (1990), Something to Talk About (1995), My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), Notting Hill (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), Erin Brockovich (2000), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Valentine's Day (2010) and Larry Crowne (2011), is born in Smyrna, Georgia.
1969 - He played Ray Aibelli in Spanking the Monkey (1994), Smitty in It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), Sonny in Going All the Way (1997), Paul in CQ (2001) and Peter in Secretary (2002). Jeremy Davis is born Jeremy Boring in Traverse City, Michigan.
1972 - Peanuts observes its own hilarity on the cover of TV Guide.
1974 - Mary Tyler Moore and the star of its spinoff Rhoda, Valerie Harper represent on the cover of Time Magazine.
1974 - Winner of an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Grammy and two Golden Globes, Joaquin Phoenix is born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Comedy film roles include Inherent Vice (2014), Parenthood (1989), To Die For (1995), I'm Still Here (2010) and Buffalo Soldiers (2001).
1978 - Saturday Night Live’s special Things We Did Last Summer airs, consisting of four short films focusing on Not Ready for Prime Time Players Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris and Bill Murray (who actually played professional baseball in his piece) intercut with stage performances by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as The Blues Brothers.
1983 - The comedy concert-slash-documentary movie Richard Pryor: Here and Now is released.
1986 - Marie Osmond marries for the second time, to record producer Brian Blosil. She had divorced her first husband, Steve Craig, a year earlier.
1988 - A tradition dating back to 1932, the Gator Growl takes place over Homecoming weekend at the University of Florida and, along with the Saturday football game, a variety show headlined by comedians on the Friday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville is the big event. When it comes to a stand-up to headline in front of 60,000 people, the obvious choice was Steven Wright, with Jerry Seinfeld (who had won Club Comic of the Year at that year’s American Comedy Awards) opening. Here the duo clown with U of F’s Homecoming Sweetheart Rachel Jackson.
1996 - Actor-comedian Morey Amsterdam dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles. He’s best remembered for playing Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
1997 - Chris Rush’s third album, There’s No Bones in Ice Cream, is released. It was recorded at Banana’s Comedy Club.
1998 - He played Luke Dunphy, the youngest Dunphy sibling, in ABC’s hit sitcom Modern Family. Nolan Gould is born in NYC.
2011 - Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird podcast features guest T.J. Miller. The comedian and Silicon Valley actor discusses what it was like to have an undiagnosed cerebral arteriovenous malformation, saying that the condition made him more philosophical, caused him to narrate his actions, and prevented him from sleeping while filming the movie Yogi Bear in New Zealand in 2010… on the same day, T.J. Miller does a stand-up set on CONAN.
2014 - Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, is published.
1891 - Fanny Brice is born Fania Borach in Manhattan, New York. The comedian and actress who made many stage, radio, and film appearances but is best known as the creator and star of the top-rated radio comedy series The Baby Snooks Show. She was also the subject of the 1964 musical Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand, and the 1968 movie version for which Streisand won an Oscar, and that movie’s sequel, Funny Lady.
1945 - Henry Winkler, who is in our opinion easily as cool as - and even nicer than - his Happy Days character Fonzie, is born in Manhattan, NY.
1945 - Stage and screen actor Melba Moore is born in NYC. She can be seen in such films as Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), The Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker (1970) and The Fighting Temptations (2003), and her voice can be heard in All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989).
1945 - Stage and screen actor Melba Moore is born in NYC. She can be seen in such films as Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), The Sidelong Glances of a Pigeon Kicker (1970) and The Fighting Temptations (2003), and her voice can be heard in All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989).
1947 - Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (American Graffiti, Jaws, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Goodbye Girl, Tin Men, Stakeout, Another Stakeout, What About Bob?) is born in Brooklyn, NYC.
1957 - “D’oh!” Dan Castellaneta, best known for voicing Homer Simpson, is born in Chicago.
1967 - She’s known for the sitcoms Ellen on ABC, and ‘Til Death on Fox, as well as Lifetime’s series Wild Card. Her film credits include Inspector Gadget (1999), Mixed Nuts (1994) and The Mask (1994). Golden Globe nominee Joely Fisher is born in Burbank, CA.
1971 - Since her film debut in Lucas (1986), she has starred in such films as Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1989), Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Reality Bites (1994), Celebrity (1999), Mr. Deeds (2002), Stay Cool (2009), The Dilemma (2011), Frankenweenie (2012) and Destination Wedding (2018). Golden Globe winner Winona Ryder is born Winona Laura Horowitz in, believe it or not, Winona, Minnesota.
1972 - Actress best known for starring in the sitcoms Girlfriends (2000–2008) and Black-ish (2014–), Tracee Ellis Ross is born Tracee Joy Silberstein in Los Angeles.
1972 - Gabrielle Union is born in Omaha, Nebraska. Her many comedy credits include She's All That (1999), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Bring It On (2000), The Brothers (2001), Deliver Us from Eva (2003), Bad Boys II (2003), Daddy's Little Girls (2007), Think Like a Man (2012) and Think Like a Man Too (2014), Top Five (2014) and Almost Christmas (2016).
1973 - Miles Goodman in the sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Trevor Lissauer is born in Dallas, TX.
1976 - Paul Lynde hates Halloween so guests Tim Conway, Florence Henderson, Margaret Hamilton, Billy Barty, Donny and Marie Osmond, Betty White, Roz Kelly, Billie Hayes and the band KISS show up to convince him otherwise. The Paul Lynde Halloween Special airs on ABC.
1977 - Charles Grodin becomes the first SNL host to be banned from the show after a show in which he flubbed his lines, deliberately ruined sketches, and “forgot” the show was live. He also reportedly missed a lot of rehearsals over the week.
1977 - Jon Abrahams, whose film roles include Bobby in Scary Movie (2000), Meet the Parents (2000), My Boss’s Daughter (2003) and Bottoms Up (2006), is born in NYC.
1981 - The sitcom Gimme a Break, starring Nell Carter, makes its debut on NBC.
1982 - A new version of the classic TV sitcom The Odd Couple (itself based on the classic Neil Simon play and film), appropriately titled The New Odd Couple, premieres on ABC, starring Demond Wilson and Ron Glass as updated, African-American versions of Felix and Oscar. The series would struggle to find an audience and be canceled in 1983.
1990 - A British series revolving around snobby social climber Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet”), the beloved sitcom Keeping Up Appearances makes its debut on BBC1... Poor Richard!
2001 - Artie Lange joins The Howard Stern Show full time.
2003 - Norm MacDonald’s new show “A Minute with Stan Hooper” debuts.
2004 - While his career may have died on November 22, 1963, comic/impressionist Vaughn Meader, whose First Family album, a comedic take on President John F. Kennedy and his circle, had been the fastest selling album in recording history, passes away at the age of 68.
2008 - Australian TV host and stand-up comedian Rove McManus appears as a guest on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for the third time. In 2011, he would host his own segment for the show: "Rove Across America."
2010 - Orny Adams' one-hour stand-up special, Orny Adams Takes The Third, premieres on Comedy Central.
2013 - Artie Lange’s second book, Crash and Burn, was published and entered The New York Times Best Seller list.
2014 - Comedian Katt Williams and Suge Knight were arrested along with Suge Knight after a female photographer in Beverly Hills claimed they had stolen her camera on September 5 because she was taking their pictures. Williams would plead no contest and receive a sentence of three months’ probation and a year of anger management sessions. In 2017 Williams pled no contest to the charge of robbery and was ordered to undertake a year of anger management while also receiving three years' probation.
2019 - A bidding war between Netflix and HBO for the entire 23-year South Park catalogue’s domestic streaming rights comes to an end as it’s announced HBO Max has come out the winner to the tune of over 500 Million dollars. They would begin streaming all the episodes (with the exception of five they decided against distributing “due to controversial depictions of Prophet Muhammad”) the following June.
1886 - Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress from Harold And Maude, Any Which Way But Loose, Maxie and My Bodyguard, Ruth Gordon is born in Quincey, Massachusetts.
1923 - Actor Herschel Bernardi is born in New York City. Bernardi is best remembered for starring as a loading dock worker suddenly promoted to an executive in the CBS sitcom Arnie (1970-1972), which earned him two consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy. A prolific actor, he could also regularly be seen on Broadway and the big screen as well, including such comedy features as Irma La Douce (1963), Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), No Deposit, No Return (1976), and The Front (1976). His final role was in a pilot for a Family Ties spinoff series called Taking It Home, but he sadly passed away four months before it aired.
1932 - Filmmaker Louis Malle is born in Thumeries, Nord, France. He directed such movies as the comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre (1981), Pretty Baby (1978) and Crackers (1984).
1938 - In one of the greatest “pranks” in entertainment history, Orson Welles’ radio play The War of the Worlds airs on CBS. Using fake news bulletins and simulated on-scene reports to portray a realistic invasion by Martians, the broadcast actually convinced some listeners that the dramatized events were authentic… though it didn’t spark the “panic” it would later be accused of causing in newspaper articles.
1940 - While the leads of the film were Allan Jones, Nancy Kelly and Robert Cummings, the real stars (in their film debut) were Abbott and Costello who were making their film debut. Incorporating a number of Abbott and Costello sketches ino the script, the film One Night In The Tropics has its world premiere at the fabian Theater in Lou Costello’s hometown of Paterson, New Jersey.
1945 - He broke out as the uber-cool Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on the hit sitcom Happy Days (1974-1984) and went on to play Barry Zuckerkorn in Arrested Development (2003–2019), Sy Mittleman in Childrens Hospital (2008–2016), Dr. Saperstein in Parks and Recreation (2009–2015), Eddie R. Lawson in Royal Pains (2009–2016) and acting coach Gene Cousineau in Barry (2018-). His film roles include Night Shift (1982), The One and Only (1978), The Waterboy (1998), Holes (2003), Click (2006), and Here Comes the Boom (2012) and, as a director, Memories of Me (1988) and Cop and a Half (1993). He also really, really loves to fish! Two time Golden Globe and three time Emmy winner, the wonderful Henry Winkler is born in Manhattan, NYC.
1953 - Director of Stone of Destiny (2008) and actor from such films as American Graffiti (1973), Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975), No Deposit, No Returns (1976) and Speechless (1994), British Columbia’s Charles Martin Smith is born in Van Nuys, CA.
1957 - Stand-up, impressionist, actor and podcaster known for The Whole Nine Yards, Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, The Aristocrats and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Kevin Pollak is born in San Francisco.
1963 - Actor known for the films Short Cuts (1993), Waiting to Exhale (1995) and Soul Food (1997), Michael Beach is born in Roxbury, MA.
1964 - After The Addams Family mistake them for trick-or-treaters, burglars Don Rickles and Skip Homeier are roped into a typically bizarre Addams family Halloween celebration, in the Halloween with the Addams Family episode of… wait for it… The Addams Family!
1965 - The Addams Family dance their way onto the cover of TV Guide.
1970 - Talk show host Dick Cavett appears on the cover of Life Magazine. You may assume he was talking about Groucho again when the picture was taken.
1970 - Actress whose career kicked off when she played Lisa on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before moving on to movies like Soul Food, Friday, Are We There Yet?, and the Big Momma’s House and The Best Man film series, Nia Long is born in New York City.
1972 - A Royal Variety Performance took place at the Palladium in 1972 for an audience that included Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Host Dickie Henderson suffered at the hands (or rather beak) of Rod Hull and Emu, while Carol Channing and TV Ken Dodd and Mark Yarwood delighted the audience, and the Till Death Us Do Part cast (Warren Mitchell, Anthony Booth, Una Stubbs and Dandy Nichols) did a sketch. Musical acts included drag performer Danny La Rue, Liberace, Jack Jones, The Jackson Five (featuring Michael Jackson), and Elton John. The command performance benefit special, taped for broadcast in BBC’s 50th anniversary year, would air that November.
1973 - After WBAI radio in New York airs George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” routine, complaints lead to the landmark court case of the FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, broadcasters start to use the "Carlin Warning" to remind performers of the words they could not say during a live performance.
1976 - During the Saturday Night Live sketch Samurai Stockbroker, host Buck Henry is playing a dissatisfied patron complaining about the state of his portfolio. When the samurai stockbroker (John Belushi) explains how bad it is, Henry suggests if the office had a window he would hurl himself to his death. The samurai uses his razor sharp sword to start cutting a window out of the wall and at one point clips a too-close Henry in the forehead, just before he jumps. Returning from the break to Weekend Update, newsreader Chevy Chase is sporting a bandage on his forehead, and as the show goes on, all of the cast members don bandages in support of their wounded, bandaged host.
1977 - The Addams family celebrate their favourite holiday while a shifty gang plans to steal their fortune in Halloween with the New Addams Family, a special airing 11 and a half years after the show’s cancellation... And don’t let the “New” fool you, it’s basically the entire original cast.
1978 - “As God is my witness… I thought turkeys could fly”. With those words from station manager Arthur Carlson, the classic WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving episode Turkeys Away would come to a close. It is still frequently cited as one of the greatest episodes of any sitcom in TV history.
1978 - The animated TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park airs on NBC.
1978 - Tony Award nominated actor Matthew Morrison, known for playing Link Larkin in Hairspray on Broadway and Will Schuester in Fox’s hit musical comedy series Glee (2009–2015), is born in Fort Ord, CA.
1981 - Known for BBC America's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and Showtime’s Shameless (US), Fiona Dourif is born in Woodstock, NY.
1981 - Canadian actor Shaun Sipos is born in Victoria, BC. He played Jack in the ABC sitcom Complete Savages.
1981 - The pseudo-sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Shock Treatment premieres. Despite pre-premiere hype and a larger budget than its predecessor, the film does not do well with critics or audiences - including Rocky Horror fans, though reviewers are kinder to the film today.
1988 - She played Jade in the teen comedy film Bratz (2007). Janel Parrish is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1989 - Stand-up comedian and actor Dustin is born in San Antonio, Texas. He is best known for his role as Tyler Medina in Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, and for appearing in the movies We Bought a Zoo and Hop.
1991 - An entire episode spent searching for the car, the Seinfeld episode The Parking Garage airs on NBC.
1992 - Tequan Richmond, aka T-Rich, is born in Burlington, North Carolina. He played Drew Rock in Chris Rock’s UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.
1992 - Friday Night with Ralph Benmurgui debuts on CBC. The opening show features guests Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada, Scott Thompson of The Kids in the Hall, and comic Judy Croon.
1992 - Billy Barty appears at the Fullerton, CA public library for a speaking engagement, to talk to school children and senior citizens about his life as an actor (he began performing in 1927 at the age of three) and living with dwarfism (he founded the Little People of America organization in 1957). Problem is, someone forgot to set up a stool for him - so when he arrived, he was completely hidden behind the podium. How does a professional entertainer of more than six decades deal with this situation? “As I look out over this lovely audience…” The crowd erupted with laughter, which continued as Barty got his own chair, waving off help with another quip: “If I fall, I don’t have far to go.” Barty spoke to the crowd and answered their questions for more than two hours.
1993 - Actor Brett Kelly (Thurman Merman in Bad Santa 1 & 2) was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1993 - The TV special A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre is taped at, well, Ford’s Theatre. Performers for President Clinton include Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Brett Butler and Michael Davis.
2017 - Andy Dick is fired from the film Raising Buchanan after allegedly groping, propositioning and licking people on set. Explained Dick: "I might have kissed somebody on the cheek to say goodbye and then licked them. That's my thing."
1925 - Lee Grant, who would win an Oscar for her role in Shampoo (1975) as well as two Emmy Awards, is born in NYC. Sadly she missed out on 12 prime years in her career as she was infamously blacklisted in 1952 after refusing to testify before the HUAC committee when they were investigating her screenwriter husband.
1941 - Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland is born in NYC. Her comedy movie roles include Crazy Mama (1975), Cold Feet (1989), Bullseye! (1990), Excess Baggage (1997), EDtv (1999) and Bruce Almighty (2003).
1946 - BAFTA Award winning and Oscar nominated Irish actor Stephen Rea is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has starred in such comedies as Breakfast on Pluto (2005), Still Crazy (1998), Asylum (2014), Sixty Six (2006) and Stuck (2007).
1950 - John Candy is born in Newmarket, ON. He's best remembered for his many movie roles, particularly in John Hughes' films, and as one of the stars of SCTV.
1961 - Filmmaker Peter Jackson is born in Wellington, NZ. The winner of three Oscars and a Golden Globe is of course best known for his Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies, but he started out making some great indie dark comedies, including Meet the Feebles (1989) and the mockumentary Forgotten Silver (1995) as well as the cult classic horror comedies Bad Taste (1987), Braindead (1992) and the Michael J. Fox starring The Frighteners (1997).
1963 - Stand-up comic and Saturday Night Live veteran Rob Schneider is born in San Francisco, CA. He has also starred in such films as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The Animal, The Hot Chick, The Benchwarmers, and Grown Ups… but we’re still waiting for “Rob Schneider is… A Carrot” (PG-13).
1963 - His films include Staying Together (1989), Angels in the Outfield (1994), My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), About Schmidt (2002), The Wedding Date (2005) and August: Osage County (2013); he also played Sean Pierce in Showtime's Shameless (US). Dermot Mulroney is born in Alexandria, Virginia.
1966 - In Boston, Mike O’Malley is born. The actor is best known for his TV work, first hosting Nickelodeon’s 1990s children’s game show Guts before starring in his own sitcom on NBC, The Mike O'Malley Show, then playing Jimmy Hughes in the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear, then his Emmy nominated role as Burt Hummel on the hit Fox musical-comedy series Glee.
1967 - Robert Matthew Van Winkle is born in Dallas, TX - but we bet you’ll know him better by his rapper name, Vanilla Ice. But he didn’t just act, he’s also appeared in a number of comedy films, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), Cool as Ice (1991), the Blair Witch Project parody Da Hip Hop Witch (2000), The New Guy (2002), the Matrix parody The Helix… Loaded (2005), Big Money Rustlas (2010), David Spade’s The Wrong Missy (2020), and the Adam Sandler movies That's My Boy (2012), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), and Sandy Wexler (2017).
1974 - The first of Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts aired, with special guest Bob Hope as the first “honoree”. Roasters include comedians Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Flip Wilson, Phyllis Diller, Foster Brooks, Rich Little, Nipsey Russell, and Don Rickles, as well as astronaut Neil Armstrong, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ginger Rogers, evangelist Billy Graham, Henry Kissenger, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, swimmer Mark Spitz, baseball player Johnny Bench, Howard Cosell, and General Omar Bradley.
1976 - Golden Globe nominated actor Piper Perabo is born in Dallas, TX. Since her breakout role in Coyote Ugly (2000) she has starred in such movies as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Imagine Me & You (2005), Because I Said So (2007), and Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008).
1977 - Actor Dennis Hopper marries singer Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas. They would divorce after eight days.
1980 - He’s best known for playing Paul in the American Pie movie series, but also played Andy in the Harold & Kumar movie franchise; Eddie Kaye Thomas is born in Staten Island, NY. On TV he’s known for his roles in two sitcoms, as Jeff Woodcock in Fox’s 'Til Death, and Mike Platt in The WB’s Off Centre.
1981 - The band Fear, recommended by former cast member John Belushi, appear as musical guests on the Halloween episode of SNL. Belushi agrees to appear in the episode if the producers allow Fear’s dancers to perform with the band in what ends up being a slam-dancing mosh pit likened to a “riot on stage” while the band sang lyrics filled with expletives. The show cut to a pre-taped segment before the band finished, but not before more than $200,000 damage was done to the set.
1982 - Films on his resume include Unleashed (2016), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), CHiPs (2017) and Summer Night (2019). Justin Chatwin is born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. On the small screen, he played Jimmy Lishman in Showtime’s acclaimed series Shameless (US).
1988 - John Houseman dies of spinal cancer at the age of 96 at his home in Malibu, California. He’s best remembered for his Oscar winning supporting role in The Paper Chase (1973). His final two film roles, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and Scrooged, came out after his death.
1991 - Aside from producing and directing many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, he founded Shakespeare in the Park and established The Public Theater in Manhattan. Joseph Papp passes away from prostate cancer in NYC.
1993 - We lose one of the greatest film directors of all time, as 12-time Academy Award nominee and five time winner, including an Honorary Oscar, Federico Fellini passes away in Rome, following a heart attack, and one day after his 50th wedding anniversary. Among his many classic films are the comedies La dolce vita (1960), 8½ (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1967), Roma (1972) and Amarcord (1973).
1993 - Roles in his too-short career included the comedies I Love You to Death (1990), Sneakers (1992) and The Thing Called Love (1993). River Phoenix tragically dies at age 23 after overdosing on heroin and cocaine. He had taken a “speedball” dissolved into a drink at the Viper Room in West Hollywood, L.A.
1996 - Elizabeth Taylor’s divorce from Larry Fortensky is finalized.
2000 - In Los Angeles, Willow Smith is born. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, she acted in the movie Kit Kittredge: An American Girl with Abigail Breslin and played Young True in the Nickelodeon series True Jackson, VP, as well as voicing characters in the Madagascar movie series.
2000 - The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is founded by the actor, dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease.
2001 - The final episode of Britcom The League of Gentlemen aired on BBC Two.
2004 - The final episode of Dead Like Me airs on Showtime. Fittingly, the show about a young woman who dies and is conscripted as a grim reaper comes to a close on Halloween… Unfittingly, the story wasn’t over yet, leaving fans unhappy - at least until a followup movie was released in 2009.
2016 - Actor/writer Tim McArthur, who lives in Highgate Village, was walking down Greek Street with a friend when they were assaulted and robbed by six men. After being discharged from hospital, McArthur went on to direct the annual Lauderdale House “Spooky Walk” as planned, for 500 parents and children, saying “I didn’t want to let the people who attacked us steal a day of my life.”
2020 - Mayor of the City John Tory officially proclaims October 31, 2020 as John Candy Day in the City of Toronto.