Monday, November 23, 2015

Vaudevillians at play

Mencken presents this exchange as the work of one Julius H. Marx — Groucho to you and me:

First Vaudevillian — How they comin’, Big Boy?

Second V. — Not so hot, not so hot. I’m playin’ a hit-and-run emporium over in East New York.

First V. — Gettin’ much jack?

Second V. — Well, the storm and me is cuttin’ up two and a half yards, but when the feed bill and gas for the boiler is marked off, they ain’t much sugar left.

First V. — Why don’t you air her and do a single?

Second V. — I guess I should; everyone that’s caught us says that the trick is a hundred per cent. me. I had ’em howling so forte last night the whole neighborhood was in an uproar. What are you doing these days?

First V. — I just closed with a turkey that went out to play forty weeks and folded up after ten days. Believe me, them WJZ and WEAF wise-crackers ain’t doin’ show business any good. In the West now they are even gettin’ the rodeo by radio.

Second V. — Why don’t you get yourself a partner and take a flyer?

First V. — Well, if I could get a mama that could do some hoofin’ and tickle a uke, I think I would.

Second V. — Well, ta ta, I gotta go now and make comical for the bozos. If you get a chance come over and get a load of me, but remember, Capt. Kidd, lay off my wow gags.

Quoted in H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States , 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936). Mencken gives the source as Franklin Pierce Adams’s newspaper column “The Conning Tower.” No date.
Also from The American Language
The American a : The American v. the Englishman : Anglic : “Are you a speed-cop? : Benjamin Franklin and spelling : B.V.D. : English American English : Franco-American : “[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty” : On professor : Playing policy : Proper names in America : “Slang is . . .” : “There are words enough already” : The -thon , dancing and walking Through -thing and -thin’ : The verb to contact

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