clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

You Tube Gold: Who’s On First

The greatest American comedy routine of all

Abbot And Costello
Bud Abbot, top and Lou Costello.

Lou Abbott and Bud Costello were a comedy team most popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s with roots in burlesque.

Their most famous routine was “Who’s On First,” in which baseball players had confusing names like Who, who was on first, What, who was on second, and Idontknow who was on third.

It’s fairly rare in that it’s still funny today. A lot of what was funny then is lost on modern audiences. In 20 to 30 years, the routine will be 100 years old and will still be funny. And thanks to the Internet, it should be around long after that.

The funny thing (poor choice of words) is that despite their chemistry, they didn’t always get along. At one point, Costello threatened Abbot in a newspaper, saying that he’d be happy to beat his partner up.

But they did have a spectacular chemistry and nowhere was it funnier than on this routine, which remains a classic piece of American comedy. The version here - they didn’t always do it the same way - is considered the definitive one.