[Ads-l] Everyone's A Comedian

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 15 03:41:04 UTC 2018

Margaret Winters wrote:
> With apologies to the list if this has been (much) discussed, a friend
> asked if I knew who said it first -- I don't.

In 1903 the phrase "Everybody is a comedian" appeared in "The
Pittsburgh Post". The entertainer and painter Charley Abbe explained
his use of the phrase below.

Date: October 25, 1903
Newspaper: The Pittsburgh Post
Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Section: Three
Article: The Stage and Its People
Quote Page 2, Column 6
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
While putting some finishing touches to the work yesterday he said:
"Did it ever occur to you that every man is a humorist? I am not
referring to the play at Carnegie hall recently, but to every man in
the daily walk of life. One business man goes in to see another, and
the first thing he says is have you heard the latest? And then they
tell jokes before settling down to business. We are a nation of
story-tellers—not in relation to the truth, though. Everybody is a
comedian, and everybody is a critic—that is, on comedians.
[End excerpt]

The citation above is interesting, but I haven't searched enough to
make any strong claims about it.
The phrase "Everybody's A Comedian Now" appeared in the subtitle of
the1935 newspaper article below.

Date: December 03, 1935
Newspaper: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Article: New Craze Hits Air Colony: Everybody's A Comedian Now:
Reverse a Maxim, Bring It Up to Date - And You're a Member
Author: Darrell V. Martin (Post-Gazette Radio Editor)
Quote Page 20, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
MOTHER GOOSE UP to date, a la Fred Allen: "Don't kill the goose that
might win a prize on my amateur hour."

This golden egg is followed by Nick Dawson, who says: "A bird in the
hand is better than one from the studio audience."

While Jane Froman interrupts to say, "People who live in glass houses
are called control men" . . .

Jack Benny: "An ounce of pretention is worth a pound on the back, for
a radio comic.
[End excerpt]


> ----------------------------
> Former Provost
> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
> Wayne State University
> Detroit, MI  48202
> mewinters at wayne.edu
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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