Site icon Abbott and Costello – Who's on First?

Introduction to Abbott and Costello, famous comedy team

Lou Costello and Bud Abbott getting soaked in The Buzzing Bee, aka. Busy Bee

Lou Costello and Bud Abbott getting soaked in The Buzzing Bee, aka. Busy Bee

Introduction to  Abbott and Costello, one of the greatest comedy teams of all time

Abbott and Costello  was a legendary comedy team, consisting of  Bud Abbott, the tall, thin straight man, and  Lou Costello, the short, pudgy comic. They were famous for their rapid-fire verbal exchanges, and Costello’s clownish view of the world. Like  Laurel and Hardy, they were a visual contrast — the tall, debonair Bud Abbott, and the short, goofy, unkempt Lou Costello.  In fact, when they were hired by Universal Studios, the studio was thinking of them as a more up-to-date version of Laurel and Hardy.

Abbott and Costello initially teamed up in 1931 when Bud Abbott was working at a Brooklyn theater, and Lou Costello asked him to fill in for his act’s straight man, who had taken ill. Throughout the 1930’s Abbott and Costello built and polished their act in vaudeville and burlesque theaters, using well-known vaudeville routines.

National prominence

In 1938, they came to national prominence after performing on the  radio show The Kate Smith Hour, which led to Abbott and Costello signing a  movie contract with Universal Studios  the next year. In 1940, Abbott and Costello released their first film,  One Night in the Tropics, in which they were only supposed to be supporting roles, but they ended up stealing the show, notably with an abridged version of their classic €œWho’s on First?€ routine. They were quickly propelled to stardom,  starring in the movies, their own radio show, and television program.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello swiftly became box office sensations, and one of the most popular comedy teams of all times, creating dozens of movies (as well as radio shows, a ground-breaking television show, and their own comic book series) over the next twenty years.

In 1957, the team separated, due to internal stresses as well as virtual bankruptcy, due to tax issues with the IRS. Lou Costello died the next year, due to a weakened heart after his exposure to Rheumatic Fever during World War II.

In 1994, comedian Jerry Seinfeld hosted the television special,  Abbott and Costello meet Jerry Seinfeld  which aired on NBC to over 20 million homes.

Filmography of Abbott and Costello


Famous routines

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