Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy birthday, Mr. Benny!

Yes, yes, today is Valentine's Day. We know all that. (Love you, sweetheart!)

But, today is also the birthday of my all-time favorite comedian, the late and great Jack Benny!

Just in case you don't know him, Benny was a superstar in his day, first on radio and later on television. Coming out of vaudeville, he pioneered what we know now as the situation comedy.

He was also the king of perfect timing. All Jack needed was an exasperated look and an indignantly-uttered, "Well!" to get a laugh. No four-letter words for him.

His vain, miserly alter ego (so different, his friends said, from the warm-hearted real-life Jack Benny) is in my mind THE CHAMP of 20th century American comedy.

You can listen to at least 600 of his classic radio shows here.

And here is part one of a classic TV interview with Mr. Benny and Dick Cavett.

Happy birthday, Mr. Benny!

("Oh, shut up and sing, Dennis!")

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