Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fred and Portland

I hear a lot of great comedy duos while listening to old time radio, but one of my favourites is Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa. There's something about his deadpan sarcasm and her earnest stupidity -- and strangely clipped delivery -- that makes me happy. Not to mention they have a decidedly bizarre and almost scary style of humour.

After years of hearing them guest-star on other people's programs, I've finally gotten started on the Fred Allen Show proper. Here I am, listening to the first existent episode (from Christmas day 1932) and I'm already in love.
FRED: Who's first on your list?

PORTLAND: Grandpa. I wanna buy him some liver tonic.

FRED: "Doctor Groan's" is the best.

PORTLAND: Yes, that's very good. The man upstairs used that for twenty years. It cured HIM!

FRED: That's fine.

PORTLAND: He died last week.

FRED: Well, if he died cured, that's something.

PORTLAND: You can't blame the liver tonic.


PORTLAND: No! After the old man died they had to beat his liver with a stick for three days to kill it.
If I had a daughter, I would seriously consider naming her Portland.


Kimber said...

Now that was funny.

Adam Thornton said...

It hardly fits into my idea of "early '30s humour!"

More typical of the times was her following joke: "My aunt's too poor to have mice! Sure, they SLEEP in her pantry, but when they get hungry they have to eat out!"

That makes me think of the '30s. Beating a liver to death with a stick, however...

Anonymous said...

Sounds a bit like Burns & Allen to me (that's a good thing).

Say goodnight, Gracie!