Henny Youngman: The Primitive Side

Henry "Henny" Youngman (March 16, 1906 – February 24, 1998) was a British-born comedian and violinist famous for "one-liners," short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire. His best known (and oft misattributed) one-liner was "Take my wife—please". In a time when most comedians told elaborate anecdotes, Youngman’s comedy routine consisted of telling simple one-liner jokes, occasionally with interludes of violin playing. These gags depicted simple, cartoon-like situations, eliminating lengthy build-ups and going straight to the punch line. He was known as the King of the One Liners, a title bestowed upon him by columnist Walter Winchell. A typical stage performance by Youngman lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes, but contained dozens of jokes, spouted in rapid-fire fashion. Youngman was born in Liverpool, England, and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, when he was young. He grew up in New York City, and his career as a comedian began after he had worked for a number of years...

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