#TBT Comedians


By Tanya Silverman

Photo courtesy of Raina Gauthier.

For Throwback Thursday, let’s examine some intriguing attributes about the lives of comedic legends.

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball’s iconic six-year run of I Love Lucy remains an undying relic for the comedian’s success story. I Love Lucy duly persists as a mark of the conservative media standards of the time–like how Lucy and her husband had to sleep in two separate beds, or how she wasn’t even allowed to describe herself as pregnant.

But did you know that before she even entered television, Ball was a radio personality who also appeared in over 50 films? And that she was actually in her 40s when she got around to I Love Lucy? In addition to the show serving as a groundbreaker for television history–being both the first one to be filmed in front of a live audience, along with using the three-camera system–the fact that a female comedic actress was so successful in the later part of her career is certainly notable.

Lenny Bruce

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A legend and pioneer, comedian Lenny Bruce was known for his successful stand-up career throughout the ‘60s. That same decade, authorities arrested Bruce various times for his use of obscenities onstage, causing police officers to monitor his performances.

Using foul language during comedic performances was not the only deed that got Bruce in trouble. During the ‘40s, he was discharged from the army for wearing women’s clothing. He was also arrested for possession of narcotics more than once.

Bruce died in 1966 of morphine overdose; however, his legacy lives on, as does his projected forgiveness. In 2003, George Pataki granted Bruce a posthumous pardon. The former NY State governor’s response was in regard to Bruce’s third and fourth arrests in 1964 at NYC’s Cafe Au Go Go, where undercover agents attended performances, claiming he uttered over 100 obscene words.

Andy Kaufman

It’s no secret that Andy Kaufman was an edgy character onstage and off. However, some parties are currently fixated on a supposed secret about Kaufman–that he’s still alive.

In 2004, some rumors were circulating that Kaufman, who faked his 1984 death, was living a low-key life in NYC. This year, Bob Zmuda, Kaufman’s writing partner, came out with numerous allegations, like how the comedian located a body-double diagnosed with cancer and switched places with the patient once he died.

Nevertheless, for whatever truth or morality we’re left to judge, these comedians remain legends in our culture.