// you’re reading...


Robert Orben, gag writer p2

Here are a few samples from Robert Orben’s 1950s gag books. These are old style nightclub one liners but they have the classic one liner structure. They kind of bury the lead. They start with some introduction or misdirection, then surprise you with some crazy remark or point they’re making. Sometimes they leave it to the last second to sneak in the gag. Some of these one liners are nearly 70 years old and a bit old fashioned, but their structure is timeless.

Here are a few gags chosen at random from Boff Bundle, a booklet published by Robert Orben, 73-11 Bell Boulevard, Oakland Gardens, Flushing 64, New York. 1954:

I know a TV comic who became a burglar — but he couldn’t forget the old routine. After every job, he’d stand in the doorway and say: “I want to thank all of you lovely people for letting me come into your living room tonight.”

Man, get a load of this place. Looks like a garbage disposal backfired.

We just remodelled the bar. Put new drunks in.

Incidentally, if there’s anything about the show, the food, the liquor or the service, that you don’t like — the manager wants you to please keep it to yourself cause he’s tired of hearing it.

I like this room. What did they do with the tombstones?

Here are some gags from Crack Comedy, a booklet published 1955, Orben Publications. 111 East Carpenter Street, Valley Stream, New York:

It’s easy to spot well-informed people. They’re the ones who think the way you do.

I went to the movies last night. You remember the movies. That’s television with washrooms.

Now they’ve got a new kind of tinted windshield. You look through it and red traffic lights appear green. Sells for 52 dollars, complete with funeral expenses.

Lines for the Nightclub M.C.:

Most nightclubs are starving but not us. You should have seen the third show last night. What a crowd! I thought he’d never leave.

– continued next page

– readersvoice.com