Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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WHO’S ON FIRST?

March 15th, 2011 · No Comments · humor

I’m recording a biography piece on Sam Kinison. It’s (brutally) funny. Whether it’s Sam, or Motley Crue or Charlie Sheen, it seems that some of the most entertaining fare in the media is full of vulgarity. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say it’s not funny, or that I don’t like the music or that I turn my attention from the news, but recently I saw a post on Facebook with a link to an Abbott & Costello clip.

Now, I would venture a guess that fewer than 1 percent of people under 25 would know who Abbott and Costello are.

(From Wikipedia)
William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello were an American comedy duo whose work on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s, as well as a top ten box office draw for a full decade (1942—1952). Their iconic and influential patter routine “Who’s on First?”—with its rapid-fire word play and comprehension confusion—set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. As a result of its enduring popularity, a video loop of the team performing “Who’s on First?” is on permanent exhibit in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Here’s some good clean fun from the masters themselves.

Who’s On First

By Abbott and Costello

Abbott: Well Costello, I’m going to New York with you. You know, Bucky Harris, the Yank’s manager gave me a job as coach for as long as you’re on the team.

Costello: Look Abbott, if you’re the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: Right, certainly do.

Costello: Well, I never met the guys, so you’ll have to tell me their names, and then I’ll know who’s playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I’ll tell you their names, but you know strange as it may seem, they give these ball players now a days, very peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names?

Abbott: Strange names, pet names. Like, Dizzy Dean, and…

Costello: His brother Daffy?

Abbott: Daffy Dean.

Costello: And their French cousin.

Abbott: French?

Costello: Goofe’.

Abbott: Goofe’ Dean, oh I see! Well let’s see, we have on the bags, we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, and I Don’t Know is on third.

Costello: That’s what I want to find out.

Abbott: I say, Who’s on first, What’s on second, and I Don’t Know’s on third.

Costello: Are you the manager?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: You going to be the coach too?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: And you don’t know the fellow’s names?

Abbott: Well I should.

Costello: Well then who is on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who!

Costello: The guy playing first base.

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: I’m asking you who’s on first!

Abbott: That’s the man’s name.

Costello: That’s whose name?

Abbott: Yeah.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: That’s who?

Abbott: Yeah.

(Pause)

Costello: Look, you got a first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Who’s playing first?

Abbott: That’s right.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar of it.

Costello: All I’m trying to find out is the fellow’s name on first base.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy that gets the money.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: Who gets the money on first base?

Abbott: He does, every dollar! Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Whose wife?

Abbott: Yes. (Pause) What’s wrong with that?

Costello: Look, all I want to know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name to the contract?

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: How does he sign it?

Abbott: That’s how he signs it!

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Yes.

(Pause)

Costello: All I’m trying to find out is what’s the guy’s name on first base.

Abbott: No, what’s on second base.

Costello: I’m not asking who’s on second.

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: One base at a time!

Abbott: Well don’t change the players around!

Costello: I’m not changing nobody!

Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.

Costello: All I’m asking you, who’s the guy on first base?!

Abbott: That’s right.

Costello: Okay.

Abbott: Alright.

(Pause)

Costello: What’s the guy’s name on first base?!

Abbott: No, What is on second!

Costello: I’m not asking you who’s on second!

Abbott: Who’s on first.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott: Oh, he’s on third. We’re not talking about him. Now let’s get back to first.

Costello: Now how did I get on third base?

Abbott: Well you mentioned his name.

Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman’s name, who did I say’s playing third?

Abbott: No, Who’s playing first.

Costello: What’s on first?

Abbott: What’s on second.

Costello: I don’t know.

Abbott: He’s on third.

Costello: There I go, back on third again! Will you stay on third base and don’t go off it?

Abbott: Alright, what do you want to know?

Costello: Now who’s playing third base?!

Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

Costello: What am I putting on third?!

Abbott: No, What is on second.

Costello: You don’t want who on second?!

Abbott: No, Who is on first.

Costello: I don’t know!

Both: Third base!

(Pause)

Costello: Look, you got outfield?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: I just thought I’d ask you.

Abbott: Well I just thought I’d tell you.

Costello: Then tell me who is playing left field.

Abbott: Who is playing first.

Costello: I’m not…Stay out of the infield! I want to know, what’s the guy’s name in left field?

Abbott: No, What is on second.

Costello: I’m not asking who’s on second.

Abbott: No, Who is on first.

Costello: I don’t know.

Both: Third base!

(Pause)

Costello: And left fielder’s name?

Abbott: Why!

Costello: Because.

Abbott: No, he’s center field.

Costello: (Fumbles words loudly)

Abbott: Well that’s the fellow’s name.

Costello: Look, look, look, you got a pitcher?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The pitcher’s name?

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: You don’t want to tell me today?

Abbott: I’m telling you then.

Costello: Well go ahead.

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: What time?

Abbott: What time what?

Costello: At what time tomorrow are you going to tell me who’s pitching?

Abbott: Now listen, Who is not pitching. Who is on…

Costello: I’ll break your arm you say who’s on first! I want to know, what’s the pitcher’s name?

Abbott: What’s on second!

Costello: I don’t know!

Both: Third base!

(Pause)

Costello: Got a catcher?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: The catcher’s name.

Abbott: Today.

Costello: Today? And tomorrow’s pitching?

Abbott: Now you’ve got it.

Costello: All we got is a couple of days on the team. You know, I’m a catcher too.

Abbott: So they tell me.

Costello: I get behind the plate, do some fancy catching. Tomorrow’s pitching on my team and a heavy hitter gets up.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Now, the heavy hitter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me being a good catcher, I want to throw the guy out at first base. So I pick up the ball, and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now that’s the first thing that you’ve said right.

Costello: I don’t even know what I’m talking about!

Abbott: Well that’s all you have to do!

Costello: Is throw the ball to first base?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Now who’s got it?

Abbott: Naturally.

(Pause)

Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody’s got to get it. Now who has it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Naturally?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and throw it to Naturally?

Abbott: No you don’t! You throw the ball to Who!

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s different.

Costello: That’s what I said.

Abbott: You’re not saying that.

Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally?

Abbott: You throw it to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: That’s what I said!

Abbott: Listen, you ask me.

Costello: I throw the ball to who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Now you ask me.

Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: Same as you!

Abbott: You just changed them around.

Costello: Same as you! I throw the ball to who. Whoever it is drops the ball, the guy runs to second, who picks up the ball, throw’s it to what, what throw’s it to I don’t know, I don’t know throw’s it back to tomorrow, triple play!

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Another guy gets up, and it’s a long fly ball to because. Why? I don’t know, he’s on third, and I don’t give a darn!

Abbott: Oh…What?

Costello: I said, I don’t give a darn!

Abbott: Oh, that’s our short stop.

Who's on First?

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