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Posts tagged "jokes"

Aug 21, 2012
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Phyllis Diller’s “gag file”

A large, Steelmaster-brand beige metal cabinet contains jokes that comedienne Phyllis Diller used to create her unique solo stand-up comedy routines. Forty-eight drawers hold thousands of 3” x 5” x 5” white index cards, each bearing a typewritten joke. Drawers are labeled with topical headings and arranged in alphabetical order. Headings range from “Accessories” to “Washing.” Large segments of the file are devoted to material about the mythical characters of her husband “Fang” and neighbor “Mrs. Clean.” The “gag file” is a part of the Museum’s Phyllis Diller Collection, which also includes costumes, props, scripts from her TV appearances, photographs, recordings, and several of her trademark cigarette holders with wooden cigarettes.

See also: the card catalogue system of Joan Rivers

Watch a Smithsonian video about the gag file→

(via @pennjillette)

May 03, 2011
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Dec 19, 2010
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Joan Rivers and her card catalogue of jokes

[Watch the video]

Joan Rivers talking about her filing system in the documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (on Netflix Watch Instantly)

GQ:

For the past thirty-some years, Rivers has been filing each and every joke she’s written (at this point she’s amassed over a million) in a library-esque card cabinet housed in her Upper East Side apartment. The jokes—most typed up on three-by-five cards—are meticulously arranged by subject, which Rivers admits is the hardest part of organizing: “Does this one go under ugly or does it go under dumb?”

GQ has a slideshow of some of the cards:

George Carlin was also meticulously organized when it came to jokes:

“When I harvest the pieces of paper and I go through them and sort them, the one lucky thing I got in my genetic package was a great methodical left brain. I have a very orderly mind that wants to classify and index things and label them and store them according to that. I had a boss in radio when I was 18 years old, and my boss told me to write down every idea I get even if I can’t use it at the time, and then file it away and have a system for filing it away—because a good idea is of no use to you unless you can find it….[In my filing system there are files for all kinds of subjects] but then there are subfiles. Everything has subfiles….It’s like nested boxes, like the Russian dolls—it’s just folders within folders within folders. But I know how to navigate it very well, and I’m a Macintosh a guy and so Spotlight helps me a lot. I just get on Spotlight and say, let’s see, if I say “asshole” and “minister,” I then can find what I want find. “

Sep 11, 2010
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Arrested Development, “Good Grief” | TV | A Very Special Episode | The A.V. ClubTerrific analysis of an episode of A.D. and what made is such an amazing show.

There’s a reason Arrested Development’s opening-credits sequence features arrows and extra text, all circling and connecting and explaining. Even the four fairly simple comic moments in the clip below could take a wall-sized chart to adequately explain.

Arrested Development, “Good Grief” | TV | A Very Special Episode | The A.V. Club

Terrific analysis of an episode of A.D. and what made is such an amazing show.

There’s a reason Arrested Development’s opening-credits sequence features arrows and extra text, all circling and connecting and explaining. Even the four fairly simple comic moments in the clip below could take a wall-sized chart to adequately explain.

Jul 28, 2010
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Louis CK: “Everything is amazing, and nobody is happy”

What I needed to hear after a day on airplanes yesterday:

Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, “OH MY GOD! WOW!” You’re flying! You’re sitting in a chair in the sky.

viafrank:

“If you’re going to tell the truth, be funny, or they will kill you.” — Billy Wilder

Frank also posted recently about the similarities between jokes and philosophy.

When I was growing up, my philosophers were comedians: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Hicks…

May 11, 2010
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I know a good joke when I steal one.
— Paul Mooney quoting Milton Berle in a terrific interview

Jul 31, 2009
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Apr 15, 2009
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Jan 20, 2009
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Groucho Marx’s resignation joke

From Groucho and Me:

I’m not a particularly gregarious fellow. If anything, I suppose I’m a bit on the misanthropic side. I’ve tried being a jolly good club member, but after a month or so my mouth always aches from baring my teeth in a false smile. The pseudo-friendliness, the limp handshake and the extra firm handshake (both of which should be abolished by the Health Department), are not for me. This also goes for the hearty slap-on-the-back and the all-around, general clap-trap that you are subjected to from the All-American bores which you would instantly flee from if you weren’t trapped in a clubhouse.

Some years ago, after considerable urging, I consented to join a prominent theatrical organization. By an odd coincidence, it was called the Delaney Club. Here, I thought, within these hallowed walls of Thespis, we would sit of an evening with our Napoleon brandies and long-stemmed pipes and discuss Chaucer, Charles Lamb, Ruskin, Voltaire, Booth, the Barrymores, Duse, Shakespeare, Bernhardt and all the other legendary figures of the theatre and literature. The first night I went there, I found thirty-two fellows playing gin rummy with marked cards, five members shooting loaded dice on a suspiciously bumpy carpet and four members in separate phone booths calling women who were other members’ wives.

A few nights later the club had a banquet. I don’t clearly remember what the occasion was. I think it was to honor one of the members who had successfully managed to evade the police for over a year. The dining tables were long and narrow, and unless you arrived around three in the afternoon you had no control over who your dinner companion was going to be. That particular night I was sitting next to a barber who had cut me many times, both socially and with a razor. At one point he looked slowly around the room, then turned to me and said, “Groucho, we’re certainly getting a lousy batch of new members!”

I chose to ignore this remark and tried talking to him about Chaucer, Ruskin and Shakespeare, but he had switched to denouncing electric razors as a death blow to the tonsorial arts, so I dried up and resumed drinking. The following morning I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER.

Dec 04, 2008
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[H]umorists are very commonly the youngest children in their families. When I was the littlest kid at our supper table, there was only one way I could get anybody’s attention, and that was to be funny. I had to specialize. I used to listen to radio comedians very intently, so I could learn how to make jokes. And that’s what my books are, now that I’m a grownup—mosaics of jokes.
— Kurt Vonnegut, Paris Review interview
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