[Ads-l] "A comic does funny things; a comedian does things funny"
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 21 01:52:04 UTC 2020
Here is a link to the article on Barry Popik's website
“A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny”
On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:44 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Interesting question, Ben Y. Thanks for sharing excellent citations, Ben Z.
> I came across a slightly earlier citation in 1959. After I found this
> I noticed that it had very recently been clipped by Barry Popik.
> An ex-vaudevillian named Robert Lemke was interviewed, and he (or the
> interviewer) attributed the saying to Fred Allen.
> Date: August 9, 1959
> Newspaper: The Sunday Press
> Newspaper Location: Binghamton, New York
> Article: Rock 'n Roll 'Musically Horrid' Says Ex-2-a-Dayer
> (Continuation title: Rock)
> Author: Sunday Press Bureau
> Start Page C1, Quote Page C2, Column 1
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> Asked his views on humor, Mr. Lemke recalled words of the late Fred
> Allen. "He said something like, "A good comedian can say things funny
> and other guys just say funny things,"" Mr. Lemke said.
> [End excerpt]
> On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 3:53 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'll get the ball rolling with these three variants credited to Ed Wynn in
> > late 1960...
> > ---
> > LA Times, Nov. 1, 1960, p. III8 (syndicated column by Hedda Hopper)
> > "A comic is a monologist who tells jokes but he isn't necessarily funny,"
> > says Ed Wynn. "He's a man who doesn't do funny things but who does things
> > funny. He doesn't open a funny door, he opens a door funny."
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/42670027/ed_wynn_funny_things/
> > ---
> > Quad City Times (Iowa), Dec. 8, 1960, p. 36 (wire story from UPI)
> > [Ed Wynn:] "Red [Skelton] is saying things funny and the others are saying
> > funny things. There's a difference. Today, many comedians just stand up and
> > do a monologue."
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/42670146/ed_wynn_funny_things/
> > ---
> > Anderson (Indiana) Herald, Dec. 22, 1960, p. 21 (wire story from UPI)
> > [Carol Burnett:] "I always remember what Ed Wynn once told me: 'Some people
> > say funny things -- but a true comedian says things funny.'"
> > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/42670216/ed_wynn_funny_things/
> > ---
> > On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 3:32 PM Ben Yagoda <byagoda at udel.edu> wrote:
> > > Question for Garson: On Facebook, I just encountered a quote attributed to
> > > Buster Keaton: “A comedian things does funny things. A good comedian does
> > > things funny.” I was skeptical of the attribution (partly because of the
> > > flat adverb) but when I Googled the quote I found lots of Keaton
> > > attributions. But Wikipedia quoted a variant (citing Simpson’s Contemporary
> > > Quotations, 1988) and attributed it to Ed Wynn: "A comic says funny things;
> > > a comedian says things funny.”
> > >
> > > That jogged my memory that when I encountered the quote years ago the
> > > contrast was indeed comic/comedian instead of comedian/good comedian.
> > >
> > > Anyway, Garson, I’d appreciate it if you sleuth out this quote.
> > >
> > > Ben
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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