Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 10, 2004 / 19 Iyar, 5764

No joke, he stole it all

By Jimmy Breslin


Comedians Alan King, left, and Henny Youngman
hamming it up with a bust of George Burns
Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


A little known story about how 'providence' saved Alan King, who died yesterday, from disgrace



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | "Where did you get it from?"


"In my office. Comedy writers always came in. I bought jokes by the pound," Alan King said.


"What were these specific jokes?"


"A monologue I was going to use on the Tonight Show."


This was last year and we were talking about plagiarism, theft, making it up, any of the flaws in writers that you see heralded in the daily newspapers at this time.


"Do you remember the monologue?" King was asked.


"No, not the jokes. Not anymore. I remember reading it when he gave it to me. I said to him, 'This is very good. Let me ask you, are you sure it's your own?' He said to me, 'This is my work. It's what I do. I worked hard on this. I thought it would be great for you.' So I said, 'All right.' I read it again. I said to him again, 'You're sure you didn't get this somewhere?' He says, 'It's mine. I told you. I wrote it especially for you.'"


"Then what did you do?" I asked King.


"I paid for it!"


"Where were you going to use it?" he was asked.


"On the Tonight Show. Johnny Carson took nights off and I was going to do the show."


Any other joke stealing wasn't going to kill him. Mostly, it was just like an act in Britain. "I'm a big hit in England. Billy Eckstein told me there was a guy playing in the suburbs who was using everything of mine. One night we went out to see him. The guy took my act word for word. Fool couldn't even time them right. We were on the floor laughing at him. Then he says, 'As I was telling my wife, Jeannette ...' That did it. The bum wouldn't even change my wife's name."


Then he said, "That was all right. This other thing was dangerous."


King was talking about his wonderful new monologue at a time when Johnny Carson did the show that Jay Leno does now, the Tonight Show. Leno is a 15-round fighter. Somebody says he is falling. He comes right back, working like a bricklayer, and he is on top again.


Johnny Carson was the one fastest man on television we ever saw. He had these people on his show like King. I make him about as smart as you'll meet. He comes out of the Milton Berle and Henny Youngman class. I always thought that they were the smartest people I've met in any endeavor of life. They snatch something and turn it around into words so bright they flash and make people laugh. They take some serious dummy and turn him into what he should be, ludicrous.

Donate to JWR


All their jokes are smart. There are no dumb jokes. Dumb jokes are not funny. They are the long jokes that politicians and businessmen tell.


The Alan King brigade does it in a sentence or two. I still remember walking out of the Carnegie Delicatessen and the late Henny Youngman waved. "No regards." Then he went back to his coffee.


"So I buy the monologue," King went on yesterday." I pay for it. I read it and start to put it in my mind. I'm going to use it on the Carson show. Alan King walks out with the band playing and I wave and I have my body moves and then I start with a good fresh monologue. That's how I see things coming up.


"So I'm home and I watch the 11 o'clock news. I always watch the news. Then here comes the Tonight Show. It is a rerun from about eight years ago. What's the difference? I watch. Ed McMahon says, 'Here's Johnny!' Out comes Carson. He starts his monologue. Fast, beautiful.


"He starts with the exact same thing the kid sold me.


"I grabbed my copy and followed him. Every word was the same. There was not one original line. This kid who sold me the monologue copied Carson word for word. The show is a rerun. How did he get a hold of a rerun and copy it? He figured nobody would know. Eight years old. Who could remember? Who would watch? He got hit by lightning. They put on the show with me watching.


"What if I didn't happen to watch Carson and then went on the show with the same monologue? I don't know the time difference between seeing this rerun and my date to do the show. But it would've been sudden death.


"I'll give you something worse. What if I went on another show with Carson's monologue? Death.


The kid bent me in half. I'm from Williamsburg. What right does a thief have to beat me? "COMMENTARY' All their jokes are smart. There are no dumb jokes. Dumb jokes are not funny. They are the long jokes that politicians and businessmen tell.'

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jimmy Breslin needs no introduction. To comment, please click here.



© 2004, Newsday