Henny Youngman

Henny Youngman was known as the King Of The One Liners. He had a rhythm that was all his own. His act had no form at all. It was just joke after joke with no continuity at all. That’s what made it so funny. I traveled all over the East coast and Canada with Milton Berle, Sid Ceasar and Henny Youngman. The show was called “A Night Of A Thousand Laughs.” The audiences went crazy for them. Even though they had all heard every joke before, coming from these guys made it something special. They were the originals. The real deal. I watched as night after night Henny would come into Milton’s dressing room and say “Milton, do me. Do me.” He wanted Milton to do his makeup for him for the show. Milton would of course do it for him. Later in the evening he would give Henny a bill for one dollar. They constantly ribbed each other all day and all night. Sometimes other comics would come to say hello and pay respects to the masters and they would stay up until four or five in the morning just ribbing each other and telling jokes.

I would sit there absorbing all I could from these honest to goodness pioneers of comedy. We would pick a topic, and everyone had to tell a joke about that topic. The interesting thing about all of these guys is that in their eighties and ninties they still had the passion and fire that they had when they were younger. I asked them about that. They all had the same answer. “That’s who we are, that’s what we do. When we stop breathing we won’t do it anymore.” Sadly they were right. Milton and Henny are both gone now, and they won’t be doing it any more. Our loss.