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Classic Comedy: Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First?"

Abbott: Well, Costello, it was a wild season for the Yankees.

Costello: Abbott, you love that team, you must know all the players.

Abbott: Right, certainly do.

Costello: Well, I don't know the guys, so you'll have to tell me their names, and then I'll know who's playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I'll tell you their names.

Costello: Well, then, who's on first?

Abbott: Jason Giambi.

Costello: I'm asking you the fellow's name.

Abbott: Jason Giambi.

Costello: Who's the guy on first?

Abbott: Jason Giambi.

Costello: Who's the first-baseman?

Abbott: Jason Giambi.

Costello: I want to know the name of the guy playing first base.

Abbott: Jason Giambi is on first.

Costello: I'm asking you who's on first!

Abbott: Yea, I know. It's Jason Giambi.

Costello: Just tell me who's on first, OK?

Abbott: Jason Giambi.

Costello: Put it to me this way, when the Yankees' first baseman picks up his paycheck, how does he sign his name?

Abbot: Jason Giambi.

(Pause)

Costello: Look, I'm going to ask you again. The Yanks got a first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Who's playing first?

Abbott: The first baseman is Jason Giambi.

(Costello grows enraged, turns red, throws Abbott to his knees)

Costello: You want to play games with me, Abbot? I'll tell you his goddamn name, then, if you won't. His name is fuck your mouth!

(Costello forces Abbott's head into his lap)

Costello: Fuck your mouth, that's his name! I'll fuck you right in your mouth, Abbott! How do you like that? Why don't we call the first baseman Fuck Your Mouth?!?

(Curtain)

Editor's Note: The underlying joke behind this tragedy is twofold. First, the author has bastardized the classic "Who's on First" comedy routine, performed throughout the 1940s by Abbott and Costello. In their performance, the imaginary first baseman's name is 'Who,' and so, in response to Costello's question of 'Who's on First,' the answer was Who-laying the foundation for a hilarious comedy routine. In this piece, Abbott repeatedly responds that the first baseman's name is Jason Giambi-the Yankee's current first baseman-and so Costello's repeated query of 'Who's on first' seems ridiculous in the face of that answer. Second, in the original routine, Abbott and Costello ended their conversation with some annoyance, but, given the social climate of the 1940s, Costello does not tell Abbot that the first baseman's name is actually 'Fuck Your Mouth.' Not only would that have been inappropriate-it also would have wrecked the slapstick tenor of the routine. It should also be pointed out that the "His name is Fuck Your Mouth" bit was directly stolen from the HBO Series "Carnivale."

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