Today in Comedy History

Comedy: Cartoonist - Comedian - Humorist - Ventriloquist

Related Topics: Comic Artist

Historical Events

  • 1598-04-30 1st theater performance in America (Spanish comedy-Rio Grande)

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1611-11-01 Shakespeare's romantic comedy "Tempest" first presented

  • 1787-04-16 1st American comedy, "The Contrast," made its debut in NYC
  • 1886-09-25 Comedy opera "Dorothy" 1st produced in London
  • 1912-09-23 1st Mack Sennett "Keystone Comedy" movie released
  • 1914-12-21 1st feature-length silent film comedy "Tillie's Punctured Romance" released starring Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand and Charles Chaplin
  • 1921-05-23 "Shuffle Along" 1st black musical comedy, opens in NYC
  • 1933-10-02 Eugene O'Neill's comedy "Ah, Wilderness" premieres in NYC
  • 1936-07-29 RCA shows 1st real TV program (dancing, film on locomotives, Bonwit Teller fashion show & monologue from Tobacco Road & comedy)
  • 1939-04-17 SN Behrman's "No Time for Comedy" premieres in NYC

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1942-10-08 Comedy duo Abbott and Costello launch their weekly radio show

Comedian and Actor Lou Costello
Comedian and Actor
Lou Costello
  • 1944-09-28 1st TV Musical comedy (The Boys from Boise)

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1946-07-25 At Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stage their first show as a comedy team.

Comedian Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
  • 1949-05-29 Candid Camera, TV comedy show, moves to NBC
  • 1952-03-27 "Singin' in the Rain", a musical comedy starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, is released
  • 1953-06-11 "Amos 'n Andy" TV Comedy, also radio from '29; last aired on CBS
  • 1953-10-02 "Comedy in Music (Victor Borge)" opens at John Golden NYC for 849 perf
  • 1955-06-04 "Mickey Rooney Show" TV comedy last airs on NBC
  • 1955-06-12 "Mr Peepers" (TV Comedy) starring Wally Cox airs for last time on NBC

Film-release-premierFilm Release

1955-12-08 Black Ealing comedy "The Ladykillers", directed by Alexander Mackendrick and starring Alec Guinness is released in the UK

  • 1956-01-21 "Comedy in Music (Victor Borge)" closes at Golden NYC after 849 performances
  • 1957-01-04 "Blondie" situation comedy premieres on NBC TV (later on CBS)
  • 1959-01-24 Dmitri Shostakovitch's comedy "Cheryomushk" premieres in Moscow
  • 1962-09-26 TV comedy series "Beverly Hillbillies" premieres on CBS
  • 1964-11-09 "Comedy in Music-Opus 2" opens at John Golden NYC for 192 performances
  • 1965-04-24 "Comedy in Music-Opus 2" closes at John Golden NYC after 192 performances
  • 1967-02-05 "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" premieres on CBS (later ABC, NBC)

Film-release-premierFilm Premier

1967-04-19 "Casino Royale" James Bond comedy film starring David Niven and Peter Sellers premieres. Based on the Ian Fleming novel.

Actor and Comedian Peter Sellers
Actor and Comedian
Peter Sellers
  • 1967-06-04 Monkees take home an Emmy for their Outstanding comedy Series
  • 1969-05-11 Monty Python comedy troupe forms
  • 1969-06-08 "Smothers Brothers comedy Hour" last airs on CBS-TV
  • 1973-06-30 "Burns & Schreiber Comedy Hour" TV Variety; debut on ABC
  • 1975-01-24 "Hot l Baltimore" situation comedy premieres on ABC TV
  • 1975-01-29 First American Annual Comedy Awards, hosted by Alan King
  • 1977-10-03 "Comedy with Music (Victor Borge)" opens at Imperial NYC for 66 performances
  • 1977-11-27 "Comedy with Music (Victor Borge)" closes at Imperial NY after 66 perf
  • 1978-09-12 Situation comedy "Taxi" premieres on ABC television
  • 1979-02-04 "Co-Ed Fever," TV Comedy, debut & cancelled that outing on CBS
  • 1979-11-08 Bernard Slade's "Romantic Comedy" premieres in NYC
  • 1980-07-02 Comedy film "Airplane!" written and directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty premieres
  • 1981-06-23 NYC Mayor Koch turns down a $7,500 offer to perform comedy
  • 1984-04-05 "Human Comedy" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 13 performances
  • 1984-04-15 "Human Comedy" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 13 performances
  • 1986-09-29 "Designing Women" TV comedy, debuts on CBS

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1987-05-19 1st American Comedy Award: Johnny Carson & Betty White

Actress and Comedian Betty White
Actress and Comedian
Betty White

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1988-05-15 2nd American Comedy Award: Robin Williams & Tracey Ullman

Actor and Comedian Robin Williams
Actor and Comedian
Robin Williams
  • 1989-05-23 3rd American Comedy Award: Paula Poundstone
  • 1989-06-12 "Doctor Doctor," TV Comedy starring Matt Frewer, debuts on CBS-TV
  • 1990-03-10 4th American Comedy Award: When Harry Met Sally
  • 1990-04-01 "Ha!" comedy Channel on cable TV begins transmitting
  • 1990-05-28 Dave Thomas Comedy Show, debuts on CBS-TV
  • 1990-06-25 "Dave Thomas Comedy Show" last airs on CBS-TV
  • 1991-03-09 5th American Comedy Award: Dennis Wolfberg
  • 1992-03-28 6th American Comedy Award: Cathy Ladman, Judy Watkins, Billy Crystal

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1993-02-28 7th American Comedy Award: Jerry Seinfeld

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld
  • 1993-09-01 "White Liars/Black Comedy" opens at Criterion NYC for 38 performances
  • 1993-10-03 "White Liars/Black Comedy" closes at Criterion NYC after 38 performances
  • 1994-03-07 8th American Comedy Award: Carrot Top
  • 1994-12-18 "Comedy Tonight" opens at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • 1994-12-25 "Comedy Tonight" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 8 performances

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1995-03-06 9th American Comedy Award: Rodney Dangerfield

Comedian and Actor Rodney Dangerfield
Comedian and Actor
Rodney Dangerfield
  • 1996-03-06 10th American Comedy Award: James Burrows
  • 1996-07-21 "The Daily Show" hosted by Craig Kilborn premieres on Comedy Central in the US
  • 1997-02-09 11th American Comedy Award: Debbie Reynolds
  • 1998-06-14 "Comic Relief" benefit comedy show

Famous Birthdays

  • 1655-02-07 Jean-Francois Regnard, French comedy writer (Slave in Algeria)
  • 1793-07-20 Aleksander Fredro, Polish comedy writer (Pan Jowiolski)

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1878-07-03 George M Cohan, Providence Rhode Island, American father of musical comedy (Phantom President, Give My Regards to Broadway)

Composer George M. Cohan
George M. Cohan
  • 1890-08-12 Al Goodman, Nikopol Russia, orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour)

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1892-01-18 Oliver Hardy, Harlem Ga, comedy team member (Laurel & Hardy)

Comic Actor Oliver Hardy
Comic Actor
Oliver Hardy
  • 1892-01-31 Eddie Cantor, comedian (Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater), born in NYC, New York
  • 1893-03-01 Theo Frenkel, actor (Footlights, Hague's Comedy)
  • 1897-04-18 Pedro Regas, actor (Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour) [or Apr 12]
  • 1899-04-03 Cees Lasseur, Dutch actor/owner (Hague Comedy)
  • 1903-01-04 Joris Diels, Flemish actor/director (Haagsche Comedy)
  • 1905-02-04 Hylda Baker, English comedy actress (d. 1986)
  • 1906-09-30 John I M Stewart, British detective writer (Comedy of Terrors)
  • 1907-03-22 Paul J Steenbergen, Neth, actor (Ciske Rat)/founder (Hague's Comedy)
  • 1910-05-12 Gordon Jenkins, Webster Grove Mo, orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour)
  • 1910-12-02 Robert Paige, actor (Colgate Comedy Hour), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1912-01-23 Ank van der Moer, actress (Verkade, Dutch Comedy)
  • 1913-08-03 Mel Tolkin, Ukrainian-born television comedy writer (d. 2007)
  • 1920-03-23 Jimmy Edwards, comedy actor (Barnes)
  • 1924-06-08 George Kirby, comedian (ABC Comedy Hour, Pearl Bailey Show), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1924-10-13 Terry Gibbs, American orchestra leader (Steve Allen Comedy Hour), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1924-11-17 Lucas J "Luc" Lutz, Dutch actor/director (Hague Comedy)
  • 1926-01-17 Richard Michael Hills, comedy script writer
  • 1928-06-19 Barry Took, English comedy writer (d. 2002)
  • 1931-05-19 Eric Davidson, comedy scriptwriter
  • 1931-07-28 Darryl Hickman, Hollywood, California, American actor (Human Comedy, Tea & Sympathy)
  • 1933-11-15 Barbara Carson, actress (Comedy Tonight, Carter Country), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1934-03-22 Larry Martyn, English comedy actor (d. 1994)
  • 1939-04-05 David Winters, choreographer (Steve Allen Comedy Hour), born in London, England
  • 1940-11-22 Terry Gilliam, Minneapolis, comedy author-animator (Monty Python)
  • 1943-05-15 Harve Brosten, comedy writer/producer/director (All in the Family)
  • 1944-02-26 Marilyn Michaels, comedienne (ABC Comedy Hour)
  • 1944-11-17 Lorne Michaels [Lipowitz], Canadian producer, actor and comedy writer (Saturday Night Live), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • 1946-09-27 Robin Nedwell, English comedy actor (d. 1999)
  • 1948-11-10 Mario Viegas, actor (The Jew, Divine Comedy, Funeral of Patrao)
  • 1948-11-23 Bruce Vilanch, American comedy writer
  • 1950-10-30 Louise Duart, Quincy MA, comedienne (Paramount Comedy Theater # 5)
  • 1951-07-27 Janet Eilber, actress (Hard to Hold, Romantic Comedy), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1953-06-21 Robyn Douglass, Sendai Japan, actress (Lonely Guy, Romantic Comedy)
  • 1955-01-07 Sandra Bernhard, Arizona (Follow That Bird, King of Comedy)
  • 1955-06-06 Sandra Bernhard, Flint Mich, actress (King of Comedy, Nancy-Roseanne)
  • 1955-07-09 Fred Norris, comedy writer/singer (Howard Stern Show)
  • 1965-02-25 Carrot Top, [Scott Thompson], Fla, comedian (Amer Comedy Award-1994)
  • 1970-11-07 Neil Hannon, Northern Irish musician (The Divine Comedy)
  • 1987-11-30 Ian Hecox, Part of the America Online comedy duo Smosh

Famous Weddings

  • 1971-10-05 Producer Lorne Michaels (26) weds comedy writer Rosie Shuster (21)
  • 2005-10-09 "The O.C." writer and talk show host Regis Philbin's daughter Jennifer Joy Philbin (31) weds NBC comedy series "The Office" writer Michael Schur (32) at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in New York City
  • 2014-05-25 Happy Endings actress Casey Wilson (33) weds comedy writer David Caspe (35) in Ojai, California

Famous Deaths

  • 1321-09-13 Dante Alighieri, author (Divine Comedy), dies
  • 1876-07-15 Aleksander Fredro, Polish comedy writer (Zemstra), dies at 82

Person-of-interestPerson of Interest

1942-11-05 George M Cohan, father of musical comedy, dies of cancer at 64

Composer George M. Cohan
George M. Cohan
  • 1955-06-01 Theo Frenkel, actor (Footlights, Hague's Comedy), dies
  • 1957-01-07 Al White, choreographer (NBC Comedy Hour), dies
  • 1960-01-02 Cees [Cornelis J] Laseur, Dutch actor/dir (Hague Comedy), dies at 60
  • 1961-06-02 Peter H "Paul" Huf, actor/director (Dutch Comedy), dies at 70
  • 1964-10-10 Eddie Cantor, comedian (Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater), dies at 72
  • 1972-01-10 Al Goodman, Russian/US orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour), dies at 81
  • 1983-03-28 Ank [Anna M] van der Moer, actress (Verkade, Dutch Comedy), dies at 71
  • 1983-12-31 Frank Link, actor (Burns & Schreiber Comedy Show), dies at 46
  • 1984-05-01 Gordon Jenkins, orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour), dies at 73
  • 1985-06-28 James Craig, actor (Human Comedy, Kismet), dies of lung cancer at 74
  • 1986-05-01 Hylda Baker, English comedy actress (b. 1905)
  • 1992-04-04 Sy Kramer, singer/comedy writer dies of cancer at 59
  • 1993-03-02 Paul D Zimmerman, US screenwriter (King of Comedy), dies at 54
  • 1994-08-07 Larry Martyn, comedy actor (b. 1934)
  • 1994-11-08 Michael O'Donoghue, American comedy writer (SNL), dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 54
  • 1994-11-14 John I M Stewart, detective writer (A Comedy of Terrors), dies at 88
  • 1996-04-01 Mario Viegas, actor (The Jew, Divine Comedy), dies at 47
  • 1996-05-20 Eric Davidson, comedy scriptwriter, dies at 65
  • 1996-06-06 Richard Michael Hills, comedy script writer, dies at 70
  • 2005-08-18 Gao Xiumin, Chinese comedy actress (b. 1959)
  • 2006-11-10 Diana Coupland, British comedy actress (b. 1932)
  • 2007-11-26 Mel Tolkin, television comedy writer (b. 1913)
  • 2008-08-29 Geoffrey Perkins, British comedy producer (b. 1953)
  • 2010-09-29 Greg Giraldo, American comedian (Comedy Central Roast) (b.1965)
  • 2011-04-23 John Sullivan, British comedy writer (b. 1946)

Famous Comedians