Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Jack Benny or... "Now cut that out!"

By popular demand, here are a few more examples of Jack Benny's greatness.

A number of commenters mentioned the famous "Sy" routine with Mel Blanc. Notice the timing... from both Mel and Jack.

Other commenters noted his influence on Johnny Carson. Here they are together.

And finally, Jack and his violin. This is a segment of a tribute to Benny hosted by another one of his disciples, Kelsey Grammer.


Anonymous said...

The "Si-Sy" Benny routine ranks right up there with the Abbott & Costello "Who's on first?" routine!
Some of our so-called comic talents of today could learn a lot from these comedy giants.

Dave said...

Great clips, Ken.

Here's one of my favorites that nicely combines Sy/Si and some pretty darn good violin by Jack:

Anonymous said...

The end of Jack's 1963 show with Carson is great, when Johnny goes backstage (ostensibly after the show) and asks Jack how he stays so young, Jack then freezes and workers come in and take him apart piece by piece like a mechanical man, until only his head is left on a pedistal at which point a shocked Carson hears Jack tell him, "Johnny, please don't tell anybody about this." Both their reactions are priceless.

The Curmudgeon said...

So wonderful -- and the timing is great, sure, but Benny is fighting hard to keep from bursting out laughing at Mel Blanc in the first clip... and even that makes it funnier.

The only problem I had is that, instead of YouTube, I got the economy version, YouVacuumTube, and it took about half of Saturday morning to load all three video clips.

But, oh, was it worth it.

MrCarlson said...

wasn't Mel Blanc the guy that did the voice of Barney Rubble in "The Flintstones"? very funny stuff, really when comedy was funny, and there weren't 1000 scenes in a 22 minute show, which began when the reveered Seinfeld showed up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you for posting wonderful video. It's done more to revive me than all the medicine I had to take this week for a temporary malady that decorum prevents me from mentioning.

Just wonderful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your Comedic acuity is on the mark,
Ken...Timing was the hallmark for
Benny as well as most of the older
comedians & monologists who came
from vaudeville. I also loved Fred
Allen whose wit with words was above reproach. His "bits" with Jack were legendary. The "Allen's Alley" segment was one radio show I never missed. Mr. Fallbrook
(Gary Allyn)

j said...

Jack Benny was a genius on many levels, especially acting. He created the character he played for over 40 years, a complete departure from his own persona. He wasn't cheap, and Benny was actually a very good violin player--he started out as one. As a teenager he was playing in the pit orchestra in the Waukegan, IL vaudeville palace when he was discovered. By the Marx Brothers, but that's another story. Try and find a copy of Ernst Lubitsch classic To Be Or Not To Be, which pairs Benny with Carole Lombard.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I got my start in newspapers at age 17 in Waukegan, Ill., Benny's hometown and home of the Jack Benny Junior High School 39ers.

Every comedian I ever talked to of a certain age -- Bob Hope and younger-- adored Benny. Loved him. Worshipped him. They all talked about how generous he was and how he didn't feel he needed to always score, on stage or off it. (Groucho Marx particularly annoyed Jack Paar that way.)

Among the anecdotes I've collected:

**** Albert Brooks in 1995, recalling an early '70s appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

Brooks had just done a bit in which he portrayed an elephant trainer who, through a shipping mistake, was forced to do his act with a frog instead. Still laughing afterward, Jack Benny, Carson's idol, leaned over to Carson during a break and asked if he could get a plug in at the end of the show.

So, as the piano tinkled in the background, Carson obliged and asked Benny where he would be appearing next. "Never mind about me," Benny said, turning to Brooks. "This is the funniest kid I've ever seen."

**** There's a clip from Danny Thomas' "Make Room for Daddy" in which Thomas marvels at how Benny can get such big laughs by doing nothing more than folding his arms, turning his head and going "Well." ''It's all in the phrasing," Benny says.

"What phrasing?" Thomas yells. "It's just one word!"

**** Furious that an NBC censor the night before had cut a reference to a "water closet," the British term for a bathroom, Jack Paar quit in the middle of a live telecast. "There must be a better way of making a living than this," Paar said angrily, tears welling in his eyes.

Paar returned three weeks later. "As I was saying before I was interrupted. . ." he said. Then, recalling his comment about how there must be a better way of making a living, he used a line suggested by his friend and idol, Jack Benny. "Well, I looked," he deadpanned, "and there isn't."

Unknown said...

Jack Benny was just mentioned in the 4th episode of "Damages" (Glen Close, Ted Danson). A patient's granddaughter mentioned her grandfather got her into "these old radio shows" and made the doctor listen to one of them. She said "it's Jack Benny" and they both laughed.

It's funny how you never hear about something you whole life and then, once you get pointed towards it, you notice it later on.

It's just like driving an old car - as long as you drive it, you notice every single other car on the road that's the same - and once you get another car you start noticing that particular brand/model :-)

Thanks again for showing us these clips Ken :-)

Patricia said...


Does anyone remember the name of Jack Benny's car?

Thank you!

Patricia said...


Does anyone remember the name of Jack Benny's car?

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Jack drove a Maxwell. I just listened to the old show in which he accidentally drove it into a taxi that was up on a grease rack...and hired the taxi driver, Rochester, as his valet.

At the end, in an accidental flub that later paid off in a lot of jokes, Mary Livingstone says to Jack, "How did you hit the taxi if it was up on a grass reek?"