Abbott and Costello disagreed on what made people laugh the most
Image credit: The Everett Collection
Whenever someone needed a laugh, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were there to bring smiles to faces all across the country. Abbott and Costello are considered to be one of the best comedy duos of all time.
With a long list of credits in film, television, and radio, Abbott and Costello were once ranked among the most popular stars in the U.S. between 1941 and 1953. They were even the highest-paid entertainers in the world during WWII.
So, what made the legends so loveable?
According to a 1953 interview with Valley Times, Abbott and Costello would argue so often in real life that sometimes interviewers and fans couldn't tell when it was part of the act and when it wasn't.
In the interview, the two legends argued about the first question that was asked: "Is it harder to make people laugh these days?"
"Absolutely," Abbott said. "With all the war, taxes, and unrest in the world, people don't laugh as readily as they used to."
"I disagree," Costello said. "I think people are more eager to laugh than ever before because of all their troubles."
According to the interview, the two argued about this question on and off. The only thing the two comedians could seem to agree on is that, in general, television is wonderful.
"I'll tell you another reason it's harder to make people laugh today," Abbott said. "Thanks to TV, more people are getting more entertainment than ever before in history. Something has got to be really funny, or they'll switch the dial to another program."
The Abbott and Costello Show was loosely based on the radio program with the same name. The TV series ran from 1952 to 1954 and lasted for about 52 episodes.
They starred in familiar favorites which included: Hold That Ghost, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Do Rita, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, and many more.
Costello said that with the changing TV landscape, there were more stars for fans to choose from than ever before. Even with more celebrities for people to discover, Abbott and Costello reached peak popularity through a variety of films and through The Abbott and Costello Show.
"Ten or twelve years ago, we'd get mobbed wherever we went because of our movies," Costello said. "After a few years, that sort of thing died down. But now we're getting it all over again. I used to take my kid to the amusement park with no trouble at all. Now I can't go there at all unless I want to sit down and write autographs for an hour."
Both comedians did agree with the fact that they worked hard to revive their careers with The Abbott and Costello Show.
"TV is actually harder work than pictures," Costello said. "Before starting to prepare for a show, I go in training — just like a prizefighter. I'm constantly working on new ideas for the show."
So, with such long and successful careers, how did they not run out of ideas?
"That doesn't worry us," said Abbott. "Why, when we were in burlesque, we played the same theater for five years, changing the show every week. We've got enough material to last us as long as we live."