Posted ByUK Pete on February 24, 2004 at 10:07:02:
In Reply to: A Word About George Burns.... posted byGerry O. on February 24, 2004 at 09:01:49:
: In fairness to Irving Fein, much of George Burns' humor (at least the humor that he pulled on Jack)does not translate well to the printed page. That's because so much of what made Jack laugh was not necessarily WHAT George said, but the WAY that he said it....with that completely deadpan delivery and straight face.
: The same could be said about Jack. If you were to just READ a Jack Benny routine on paper, it might not seem very funny....but add Jack's stares, pauses and facial expressions (or lack of them), and you have a HILARIOUS bit of comedy!
I certainly accept what you say that often the humor was in the delivery rather than the actual words but in the case of the London joke about looking in the basement windows, the words alone were funny as Jack told the story. He was following George down the street and George was stopping and looking in every basement window so Jack did the same and couldn't understand what George was looking at as there was nothing to be seen. When they got back to the Hotel Jack asked George what on earth he'd been looking at and then George replied that as he was only in London for a short time he hadn't wanted to miss anything. O.K. so I haven't told the story particularly well either but Fein just says that George said, after being asked by Jack what he'd been doing that "there's nothing there" at which point Jack fell about laughing. Doesn't seem quite right does it?
As i mentioned before I'm also hoping that the story about the old lady lost something in translation