1. Henry “Henny” Youngman was an American comedian and violinist famous for his mastery of the “one-liner”.
2. These depicted simple, cartoon-like situations, eliminating lengthy build-ups and going straight to the punch line.
3. He was known as “The King of the One Liners”, a title conferred to him by columnist Walter Winchell.
4. A stage performance by Youngman lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes but contained dozens of jokes in rapid-fire succession.
5. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York, when he was a child.
6. He grew up in New York City, and began as a comedian after he had worked for years at a print shop, where he wrote “comedy cards” containing one-line gags.
7. The comedy cards were discovered by up-and-coming comedian Milton Berle, who encouraged Youngman and formed a close friendship with him.
8. Encouraged by his family to study the violin, Youngman began in show business as a musician.
9. He led a small jazz band called the “Swanee Syncopaters”, and during their performances he often told jokes.
10. He enjoyed it and began his long career as a stand-up comic.
11. His inoffensive, friendly style of comedy kept his audiences laughing for decades.
12. He first played in clubs and speakeasies, but his break came on the Kate Smith radio show in 1937.
13. During the 1940s Youngman tried to work into films as an actor, but he found little work in Hollywood.
14. Working with writer/producer Danny Shapiro, Youngman recorded The Primitive Sounds of Henny Youngman a “live” album for National Recording Corporation in 1959 at the Celebrity Club in St. Louis.
15. The album is still popular today in CD, and is a frequent iTunes download.
16. Like many comedians, Henny Youngman treated his profession as a working job, one where it is difficult to make a living, and getting paid for the work is all-important.
17. He was quoted in an interview with the Web-based magazine Eye: “I get on the plane.
18. I go and do the job, grab the money and I come home and I keep it clean.
19. Sinatra does the same thing, only he has a helicopter waiting.