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Was Bob Hope funny?

Just curious. I've seen him in some "Road" pictures on TCM. He seems to have had a huge career.

by Anonymousreply 163Last Thursday at 8:01 AM

Since you ask, I think he was funniest when young, but my belief is that comedians arise from the zeitgeist and their "funny" can't be recaptured. Check out Baby Schnooks (Fanny Brice)--not funny. Martin and Lewis--not funny. Steve Martin--not funny. Humor, in other words, has a short shelf life.

by Anonymousreply 110/15/2020

I always liked his witty asides in the movies but his television stuff always seemed forced and trying too hard.

I've heard different versions of his relationship with Ethel Merman when they appeared together in RED, HOT, AND BLUE in 1936. One is that she hated his unprofessional behavior on stage and the other is that they were having an affair while both living on Central Park West (in separate apartments)

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by Anonymousreply 210/15/2020

How did he ever get to where he did, I've always wondered. Hes never been runny to me, not in the least.

Humor is probably a generational Zeitgeist thing. The three stooges are painful to watch. Henny Youngman is dreadful. Yet Chaplin and Keaton (Buster not Diane) seem ageless.

by Anonymousreply 310/15/2020

No.

by Anonymousreply 410/15/2020

I've seen clips of his USO shows in VietNam and have mixed feelings. He never seemed funny, just lecherous with all the young cuties he'd pimp out for the troops. But he did put on a show during an unpopular time.

by Anonymousreply 510/15/2020

I was just reading about him recently, last week I think. I had no idea he was American! I had no idea he was British from the UK. I've always thought of him as an American icon, but didn't know he was American born. That kinda changed things for me in regards to him.

But than again, I'm a millennial so I guess I wouldn't have known.

by Anonymousreply 610/15/2020

Wasn't American^^^^^

by Anonymousreply 710/15/2020

He was funny until the late 40s. Woody Allen had a Bob Hope style of delivery, SCTV did a few skits parodying Hope & Allen.

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by Anonymousreply 810/15/2020

To me, never. He should have retired decades before he did. He was, by most accounts, a total asshole, also.

by Anonymousreply 910/15/2020

Poster #1 is right on target; I teach a college class on humor, and no students find any of those mentioned funny; the same is true of Woody Allen, most Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Roseanne...just to name a few. Chappelle rules, and most get Larry David.

by Anonymousreply 1010/15/2020

Interesting, R10. It's so subjective: personally, the Larry David/Seinfeld school of Whine Humor never did anything for me and I'm not that knocked out by Chappelle, either. I'm a comedy whore. I may have found Steve Martin and Roseanne funny decades ago but my tastes keep changing.

Some DLers get so enraged by that idea that humor is not universal or timeless. I was crucified once in another thread for suggesting that I found Nichols and May rather dull. It was sacrilege to them.

by Anonymousreply 1110/15/2020

Comedy doesn’t age well because of its nature. It often relies on a twist from what is expected. Often times, it is a high-class person being demeaned or abused, such as Margaret Dumont in the Marx Bros. movies. But once a comedian has breached a particular twist, it is no longer a twist. It becomes part of the collective culture, so the next generation of comedians have to find new material. A comedian who is bombing on stage will sometimes, revert into using crude language for this “shock value” as a substitute for genuine wit.

Abbott & Costello had a bit about “Who’s on First?”. A comedian today could repeat that bit, but unless it was to an audience that knew nothing about Abbott & Costello, it would t be funny. This is contrary to music, for example, where many multiple singers can “cover” and old song and make it new with their ‘interpretation”. We had a Christmas thread a couple years ago consisting entirely of favorite versions of “Oh, Holy Night”.

So Hope May have been funny once, but his work is dull, to us today. My theory, anyway.

by Anonymousreply 1210/15/2020

My brother in law was a very likable person. He had a tremendous personality. He was in a hotel bar in the Poconos when Henny Youngman came in, after his performance, and they got to talking. They got liquored-up, and my BIL got Youngman to call my mother in Connecticut to tell her jokes at 1am. A few years later, they did it again.

I, personally, still enjoy Youngman because of his delivery! even though I know his jokes. It’s similar to how I can enjoy watching a movie more than once, if the story is well told.

by Anonymousreply 1310/15/2020

Some of the absurd jokes in the "Road" movies still make me laugh. Like all gagmen he was hit or miss.

by Anonymousreply 1410/15/2020

Here’s a Youngman joke. It might not be funny without his delivery, but I’ll try:

A financial advisor tells his client to buy a certain penny stock. The client is skeptical, but invests $1000. He inquires a week later, and the FA tells him that the stock has doubled. The investor is surprised, and tells him to put another $5000 into the stock. A week later, the FA tells him that the stock was up fourfold. The investor is impressed. He tells his FA to put $25,000 into the stock. Another week later, the investor asks, and is told the stock was up tenfold. The investor is thrilled, but he has enough. He tells his FA to sell it all. The FA replies, “to who?”

by Anonymousreply 1510/15/2020

The character of Taz’s father in the TAZ OF TASMANIA cartoons was an affectionate parody of Hope.

Can’t imagine that the little Gen Y kids watching it caught the reference, or even all of their parents.

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by Anonymousreply 1610/15/2020

I never found him funny, but my dad sure did. I will say this about him - he was a good Oscars host. Him, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal. They made it seem effortless.

by Anonymousreply 1710/15/2020

Billy Crystal was wonderful at the Oscars for years. The last time the producers brought him back for a one-off, it was just sad.

It's become the most thankless job in the world. Think of all the recent crash-and-burns: James Franco & AnnE, Seth Macfarlane. No one needs to host the Oscars (or watch them either, frankly).

by Anonymousreply 1810/15/2020

True, R17, but didn't you think the last couple of times he seemed repelled by the new generation of films? Like by 1968 he seemed less happy to be there? (just my memory of it)

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by Anonymousreply 1910/15/2020

// sorry, that was supposed to be a link to this article:

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by Anonymousreply 2010/15/2020

If you ever see clips of Bob Hope ad-libbing unscripted, he had a quick, sharp dry wit, similar to Bob Newhart. Much better than his scripted stuff. He would have made a good talk show host, in my opinion. But his TV specials, where he just stood there reading off prepared, canned jokes from a teleprompter, were unfunny.

by Anonymousreply 2110/15/2020

There's something about aging that hurts comedians, as most are not funny after 50.

The always inventive Jonathan Winters was the only comedian who stayed funny until the end of his life.

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by Anonymousreply 2210/15/2020

As a kid I loved the movie CRITIC'S CHOICE, with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball (and DL fave Richard Deacon).

Interesting that even after I LOVE LUCY and THE LUCY SHOW, Ball took second billing.

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by Anonymousreply 2310/15/2020

[quote]Some DLers get so enraged by that idea that humor is not universal or timeless. I was crucified once in another thread for suggesting that I found Nichols and May rather dull. It was sacrilege to them.

Many DLers are stuck in a time warp and stopped paying attention to things many years ago.

by Anonymousreply 2410/15/2020

Hope, Carson were smug and out of touch with the Oscar audience; Crystal was fun, Letterman awful, Ellen beyond hideous.

by Anonymousreply 2510/15/2020

At the time he was popular he was considered funny but it was just basic slapstick. He turned into a right wing whack job as he got older, and that is all I remember about him now. A republican asshole. In the Reagan days.

by Anonymousreply 2610/15/2020

Johnny Carson despised two guests when they appeared on his show: Bob Hope and Bill Cosby.

by Anonymousreply 2710/15/2020

Johnny Carson retired when he did because he didn't want to turn into Bob Hope. And old man who was coasting on fumes and hadn't been funny in a long time. Carson couldn't stand him.

by Anonymousreply 2810/15/2020

That lifetime contract with NBC was no joke. They were still trotting Bob Hope out when he was completely senile and propping him up to do those awful specials.

Gilbert Gottfried was very funny about it...

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by Anonymousreply 2910/15/2020

Yes, in the beginning. He stayed way too long at the fair.

I agree with the idea that humor is somewhat generational. I'm a boomer who doesn't get Sarah Silverman's level of popularity. She is occasionally a bit funny to me. The show [italic]Seinfeld[/italic] is tedious to me, although I have enjoyed some of Seinfeld's standup work.

I've seen Dataloungers question the comic talents of Bob Newhart and John Belushi. I suppose if you're looking backward as a Millennial or later, they're nothing special. But they were innovators. The stoner jock was not a trope when I was a kid. It might be now, but, AFAIK, Belushi started it in the mid 70s.

by Anonymousreply 3010/15/2020

R18 speaking of Steve Martin, he was by far the best Oscar host in recent memory (the time he hosted solo). But I’ve always loved Steve Martin’s humor and still do. Even in his crap paycheck movies he’s still funny.

I could never stomach Bob Hope and I can’t imagine he was ever funny, though supposedly he was — the era of his road movies . Woody Allen was a huge fan which always seemed so odd. By the 50s he was already dated and over the hill, which is what most people forget.

I also watched that Enquirer special and he’s one of those celebrities that got all his stories killed (about his infidelities).

by Anonymousreply 3110/15/2020

I remember watching some of his films with my grandmother, who thought he was funny. I didn't get it. I remember a 1970s (?) holiday special in which Hope and what seemed like hundreds of other comedians and character actors got bumped off by a masked figure, who turned out at the end to be Johnny Carson. Assuming it's true that Carson hated Hope I guess it was an in-joke, but I remember being profoundly creeped out by the carnage (the swimming pool was soon filled with corpses). There was a funny line from Phyllis Diller, who screams "I'm too young to die! Well...parts of me are..." I saw clips more recently and it was a who's who of Hope's era - and earlier - it had Groucho Marx's last appearance and Groucho requested that he be seated for the duration as he was at that time too weak to stand for long periods of time.

Hope seemed to be popular and generally well-liked by his peers, for whatever that's worth.

by Anonymousreply 3210/15/2020

Bob Hope's public image was a far cry from who he really was.

He wasn't the family man he liked to portray, married to the very Catholic Dolores and the father of four adopted children.

He was a flagrant womanizer throughout their marriage. He kept longtime girlfriend Marilyn Maxwell in an apartment near his home so he could stroll on over for a quickie anytime he felt the urge.

by Anonymousreply 3310/15/2020

Mr. Bob Hope was "funny" as heck....

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by Anonymousreply 3410/15/2020

R33

Bob Hope ran around literally up until the day he died; still pulling even in his 80's.

Moreover there seems to be some ambugity as to if he and Dolores Hope (nee Reade) were ever legally married. That may go far in explaining why Mrs. Hope put up with her husband's constant and public humiliation. Everyone in Hollywood knew about Bob Hope and his various mistresses, so they must not have been a surprise to her either.

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by Anonymousreply 3510/15/2020

I read a rumor that at the Ed Sullivan Show, Bob Hope lead the Jackson Five in a room with a few men, and then one man raped them one after the other.

by Anonymousreply 3610/16/2020

Bob Hope was not funny in the least, and he seemed a mean-spirited old fuck, too.

Jack Benny from more or less the same time frame I always found very old-fashioned but arresting, for his timing, that even his insults were funny because they reflected back on him more than on the subject,, and for his unhurried fussiness. Where Hope was always the wisecracking asshole picking on others, Benny's insults usually splashed back in his face to reflect on the butt of his own joke, himself. If Hope was quick at the smartass remark, Benny was ultimately making fun of himself and parts of all of us, in a smarter, kinder, more gentlemanly way.

Henny Youngman and Rodney Dangerfield are in the class of comedian I like despite themselves. The relentlessness, the making of fool of oneself thing works when it shouldn't with them.

Steve Martin I like but not his comedy.

Martin & Lewis, Burns & Allen, Nichols & May, Marx Brothers, that whole bunch from the Dick Van Dyke Show, Nichols & May, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Jonathan WInters, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal (I can't leave a room fast enough)...I never liked; they seemed dated even when they were fresh.

Early Roseanne, early Woody Allen I liked, but then, not now.

Bob Newhart is one of the few whose comedy held up over time, both seeing his old work and seeing work from much later. It's very thoughtfully constructed, obviously which seems a key factor in whether comedy holds up, but even then it's not guarantee in itself.

Comedy doesn't hold up well.

by Anonymousreply 3710/16/2020

R37 Roseanne was great in the beginning. Johnny Carson gave her her first shot on The Tonight Show and she took off like a rocket with her 'domestic goddess' shtick. Carson loved her.

Jack Benny was great at poking fun at himself (his violin playing, his 'thriftiness') and, you're right, his timing. He was laid back and took his time with a joke as did Newhart. Carson could do the same thing in his monologues.

On the other hand, poor Robin Williams and his maniacal cackling was never funny to me. He just screamed out punch lines to jokes he heard in his head and people roared.

I never got Milton Berle or Red Skelton or any of those other TV comics. They were old even when they were young.

R29 That clip had me LMAO. Thank you!

by Anonymousreply 3810/16/2020

Bob Hope has completely disappeared from public consciousness, in spite of how famous he was for decades.

by Anonymousreply 3910/16/2020

I met Bob Hope when I was a concierge in Palm Springs; he was nasty and mean spirited, and was a womanizer until the end. Everyone in town knew this. And he had long since ceased to be funny; his appearance on The Golden Girls is cringe-worthy.

by Anonymousreply 4010/16/2020

I remember those godawful Bob Hope specials from when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s. He was absolutely ancient by then and was still doing the same act he'd done for decades. It was like watching a time capsule.

The "Jack Frost" number above was from his last (or one of his last) specials, in 1993. That shit would've looked corny and dated in 1963.

by Anonymousreply 4110/16/2020

For years I assumed Bob Hope was gay. His leering, lecherous schtick was so distasteful--an ugly imitation of super-heterosexuality. So I assumed he was faking big time as a coverup. I was shocked when I later learned he was a notorious "ladies man" with a big dick who fucked every woman he could get his hands on. Which also grosses me out.

by Anonymousreply 4210/16/2020

I like his Palm Springs house.

by Anonymousreply 4310/16/2020

"Comedy does not hold up well"...

Oh I don't know.... Some of it does, others not.

W.C. Fields diner sketch still gets laughs.

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by Anonymousreply 4410/16/2020

One of the strangest mornings of my life was watching Hope MC a memorial service for a Congressman's wife.

He wasn't funny.

by Anonymousreply 4510/16/2020

In all fairness, a funeral might be a tough audience for any comedian.

by Anonymousreply 4610/16/2020

My grandparents said that Bob Hope was basically considered one of the two or three funniest people alive from about 1939 (when he became a huge star with "The Ghost Busters" and "The Cat and the Canary") to the early 50s (when he did "The Paleface."--his last really big comedy hit). During that period I think he was regularly the biggest comedy box office star in America.

But thereafter he was on a long decline. He loved attention, and he kept doing those awful Christmas specials (with Brooke Shields, Miss America of that year, Donny and Marie, and the starting lineup of the USC football team) all through the 80s, even though he had long ago ceased to be funny.

by Anonymousreply 4710/16/2020

R46 It was her memorial service, not the funeral. She'd been in the ground for a couple of months. It was mostly his old friends (Tip O'Neill, Tommy Corcoran, Jim Wright, etc - granted not a million laughs) but Hope was just so leaden, like he was standing there as he phoned it in.

by Anonymousreply 4810/16/2020

Affable, maybe. Funny, no. Candice Bergen said it best, without naming him. Read her book. He really was a pig with women. Famously a cheater and if not a rapist, at least a strong suggester to hot young women that they should cooperate or suffer consequences to their career. Bob Hope was long before my time, but it makes me wonder if every starlet who ever travelled on his tours for the boys overseas - understood the arrangement. Did they all have to fuck him? I bet he wore cologne though. Didn't smell too bad down there. Even in the jungle.

by Anonymousreply 4910/16/2020

In the Road pictures, I always thought Bing was the funny one.

by Anonymousreply 5010/16/2020

A Star Wars parody with Bob as "Barf Vader."

He really should've been forcibly retired, instead of forcing this shit on the public.

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by Anonymousreply 5110/16/2020

I'm guessing Bob never touched Phyllis Diller.

by Anonymousreply 5210/16/2020

No mention of his AIDS joke yet?

by Anonymousreply 5310/16/2020

Bob Hope appealed to largely those who were adults before or after WWII years. By the 1970's and certainly 1980's it was our parents or grand-parents who found him funny. But then again there were tons of other comedians/entertainers making money in Las Vegas or whatever who appealed to same target audience. Remember watching one of those Dean Martin or whoever "roasts" on television with my parents and thinking it was some of the most corniest shit jokes on earth.

Bob Hope's womanizing was well known and tolerated because it too came from a different generation. A time when it was ok to oggle and otherwise demean young women for jokes. It was old as vaudeville (which Bob Hope and others all well knew); some stacked female bounces onto stage to act as eye candy and foil for the "star's" jokes.

The other part of it (sexual molestation) is old as Hollywood, vaudeville or whatever. For every stage mother who chaperoned her daughter everywhere or otherwise sat on her chest; others gladly whored their girls out, or the young women in question did it themselves.

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by Anonymousreply 5410/16/2020

His house in Palm Springs was quite "different".

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by Anonymousreply 5510/16/2020

Hilarious as FUCK!

His Bing Crosby/Bob Hope movies were so fuckin' genius!

His dry humor should be studied at Universities!

I loved Bob Hope!

by Anonymousreply 5610/16/2020

I was also appalled when I found out what a sleaze Hope was. I don’t want to think of him fucking.

I bet he was an awful fuck, too.

by Anonymousreply 5710/16/2020

R49 what did she say in her book, exactly?

Did any famous or semi-famous women actually tour with Bob Hope? Not talking about the TV specials,

by Anonymousreply 5810/16/2020

Not to me as a kid. What I have seen of him as an adult was unempressive.

by Anonymousreply 5910/16/2020

"When Hope died in 2003, two months after he turned 100 years old, his "reputation was already fading, tarnished or being actively disparaged," Zoglin writes. "He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long." Hope was considered sexist and homophobic."

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by Anonymousreply 6010/17/2020

"Zoglin also uncovered one more piece of odd information pertaining to the couple. When Troxell’s daughter died of a drug overdose in 1998, the person who supplied information about the deceased “is listed, intriguingly, as ‘Dolores Hope — Godparent.’”

For his part, Hope never was particularly faithful to Reade during their marriage. Zoglin recounts many tales of Hope’s infidelities with numerous women including stars such as Marilyn Maxwell, Lucille Ball, Ethel Merman, Jane Russell and Dorothy Lamour. Comedy writers were even hired not to write jokes, but to keep Reade in the dark about the multiple affairs."

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by Anonymousreply 6110/17/2020

I never found him funny as I grew up. His brand of humor always seemed forced. I think his popularity, especially later in his career, was fed by his embrace of patriotism and all those USO shows. His talk show appearances were tepid and unamusing.

by Anonymousreply 6210/17/2020

Some of the 'Road' pictures still hold up only because of Bing Crosby. The two of them were rumored to be quite the cocksmen. Bing broke a few hearts, including Inger Stevens. Kept up his 'I love you' shtick right up until marrying Kathryn Grant. I remember reading something about him being the cause of Inger's suicide.

Hope always looked disconnected from his delivery, as though he was looking in the mirror not at the audience.

by Anonymousreply 6310/17/2020

I love his house. John Lautner was great, imo. I love that space-age look, like the TWA terminal done by Saarinen. I can't imagine how much fun celebrities used to have at those parties--the food, the cards, the desert sky, swimming in the pool, performing at the piano.

Hope was richer than God--a heard he owned a ton of real estate around L.A.

by Anonymousreply 6410/17/2020

Tom Selleck lived in the neighborhood as a kid. He tells the story of Trick or Treating in the neighborhood and all the kids loved going to Bob Hope's house because he gave out nickels.

by Anonymousreply 6510/17/2020

R64, The original house was destroyed by fire in 1974 and had to be completely rebuilt.

Hope sued the construction company, claiming they caused the fire due to negligence, and he won.

by Anonymousreply 6610/17/2020

I don't get the stock joke. Sell to who? Price is determined by bid/ask. Maybe it appeals to people who are not economic majors.

Hope was a homosexual.

by Anonymousreply 6710/17/2020

R65/r66 Toluca Lake is gorgeous! Can you get any more for your money there because it’s in th Valley, or not really?

by Anonymousreply 6810/17/2020

R67, I think the idea is that the buyer is the one who's been driving up the price of the stock.

by Anonymousreply 6910/17/2020

I showed my young nieces and nephews two of my favorite old films, the Marx Brothers' "Night at the Opera" and then "What's Up Doc?". Neither one got a laugh from anyone except me. They even thought it was wrong of Barbra to be trying to take Ryan away from his fiancee. Ugh.

by Anonymousreply 7010/17/2020

Watching old clips of those Bob Hope Specials from the 70s and 80s that are on Youtube is just painful.

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by Anonymousreply 7110/17/2020

As linked articles above make clear; BH should have retired long before 1970's and certainly by 1980's. Lord knows he didn't need the money as he was *very* wealthy. However like many who were born into/grew up in hard times Bob Hope found love and acceptance being in front of audiences and wasn't ready to give all that up. His work made him important (in BH's eyes) so that was that.

In many ways Bob Hope was no different than many men of his generation. Entire lives are invested in their career/job. They have a view that the company, workers or whatever "need" them, so they keep on keeping on until they die or are finally pushed out. Retirement equals death in their eyes I suppose.

by Anonymousreply 7210/17/2020

R69 I guess the stock market was more corrupt in those days. I just buy at market which means I will pay whatever other people are paying. If he was the only buyer, the stock would be worthless.

by Anonymousreply 7310/17/2020

He was highly criticized and forced to apologize for this in 1986 . . .

"Hope appeared before 360 guests, who paid $1,000 each for a July Fourth dinner and fireworks cruise aboard the yacht Princess. His so-called “joke” was about Miss Liberty having AIDS. Hope said, “Nobody knows if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island Ferry.” Those who did not groan in embarrassment sat silent in dismay."

by Anonymousreply 7410/17/2020

He would go on Carson and it was painful...sitting there tapping the pencils clueless about what to say next, totally unspontaneous and rehearsed to the millisecond with pre-arranged gags delivered rat-tat-tat. Then off he went.

by Anonymousreply 7510/17/2020

His actual ad-libs could be good. His cheap-coward character was basically a less refined counterpart to Jack Benny. Hopes humor was more forced and obvious. You didn’t mind knowing the line that was coming with Benny but with Hope it became tiresome. His later movies were awful—very sitcom-like. Even NeilSimon wasn’t ever this bad.

Two of his brothers stayed back in Ohio, but he set them up up in business. The other brothers worked for him once he was successful.

by Anonymousreply 7610/17/2020

Frank Rich wrote a great article on how Bob Hope became totally irrelevant.

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by Anonymousreply 7710/17/2020

He wasn't a great father to his four adopted children.

Two of them, Linda and Tony, worked for him as adults, but neither experience was without problems.

At different points, they both encountered personal financial distress, but Hope would not offer any assistance.

When he died, his estate was in the neighborhood of $300 million.

by Anonymousreply 7810/17/2020

He was born in the UK. Why was he never knighted as Elizabeth Taylor was?

by Anonymousreply 7910/18/2020

R79

Get your facts straight Miss Ghurl!

Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope KBE KC*SG KSS

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by Anonymousreply 8010/18/2020

His specials always preempted my shows. It used to piss me off when I was a kid. I couldn’t wait for him and Billy Graham to die.

by Anonymousreply 8110/18/2020

Who?!

by Anonymousreply 8210/18/2020

It really is amazing how a man who was so famous and on tv every five minutes for decades disappeared from the public's consciousness so fast.

by Anonymousreply 8310/18/2020

He lived too long.

by Anonymousreply 8410/18/2020

R77 Great article! Thanks for the link.

by Anonymousreply 8510/18/2020

R83 Check out the article at R77. It asks and answers your question.

by Anonymousreply 8610/18/2020

[quote]I never got Milton Berle or Red Skelton or any of those other TV comics. They were old even when they were young.

At least Skelton was smart enough to know his comedy would become dated and specifically did not want his old shows rerun. He preferred to remain a pleasant memory,

by Anonymousreply 8710/18/2020

It's no different than Jerry Seinfeld, who hasn't been funny since the mid 90's.

Joy Behar, who keep telling the same recycled jokes.

by Anonymousreply 8810/18/2020

R87 didn’t he start painting?

by Anonymousreply 8910/18/2020

R89 Yes, Red Skelton started painting. Clowns. And he began exaggerating the number of paintings he completed -- somewhere in the hundreds. Rumor was that they were completed by others and he signed and sold them as being his work.

by Anonymousreply 9010/18/2020

Red Skelton was one of Johnny Carson's idols, as was Jack Benny.

by Anonymousreply 9110/18/2020

Johnny Carson is another one who's fading away.

by Anonymousreply 9210/18/2020

R91 Johnny was a fan of Red Skelton? Never! You'll have to prove it to be believed.

by Anonymousreply 9310/18/2020

Few are geniuses. Only WC Fields comes to mind.

Chris Rock may prove timeless.

by Anonymousreply 9410/18/2020

Groucho’s timeless.

by Anonymousreply 9510/18/2020

Good point, R95.

by Anonymousreply 9610/18/2020

He's Woody Allen's favorite comedian. I think the Road movies, Son Of Paleface, some others are funny. He played such a weasel at times, it was hilarious. His radio show that I've listened to is not that funny. Bachelor In Paradise is a funny movie.

by Anonymousreply 9710/18/2020

R93, Johnny Carson adored Red Skelton, which he made clear in this 1983 clip. When Carson was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame, he requested that Red do the honors.

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by Anonymousreply 9810/18/2020

OP - Bob Hope is long dead. The present perfect cannot be used to write about his long long career.

by Anonymousreply 9910/18/2020

I'd like to present r99 to the crew of a rocket ship and have it fly straight into the sun. That would be perfect.

by Anonymousreply 10010/18/2020

What about the pluperfect?

I have no idea what it is other than having heard the phrase in German class!

by Anonymousreply 10110/18/2020

We always strive for pluperfection here at DL.

by Anonymousreply 10210/18/2020

No. I never understood his popularity...

Even if you take the differences between generations.

On the other hand, I love Bing Crosby's singing.

by Anonymousreply 10310/18/2020

R102 and I just had an exchange that was funnier than anything Bob Hope ever said on his life!

I was the perfect straight man.

by Anonymousreply 10410/18/2020

He was a throwback to old-timey, hackneyed vaudeville, and he never progressed beyond that.

by Anonymousreply 10510/18/2020

R94 Chris Rock's standups may prove timeless. I loved his show "Everybody Hates Chris" but it hasn't aged well. It's full of pop culture references that make little sense now. His standup is great.

I loved George Carlin but surprisingly didn't care for him in his later years. He started coming off as cocky and his body English / facial expressions became annoying.

by Anonymousreply 10610/18/2020

R98 Thank you! I stand corrected.

by Anonymousreply 10710/18/2020

R100 beat you both, R101 and R102

by Anonymousreply 10810/18/2020

All three funnier than Bob Hope in 100 years.

by Anonymousreply 10910/18/2020

Even my grandmother, who would be almost 100 years old if she were still living, thought Bob Hope was an unfunny asshole and his specials were torture to watch.

by Anonymousreply 11010/18/2020

It doesn't really matter who is funny 100 years from now. Conversationally witty and funny people will always be understandable as funny. Even if the references are not. Joan Rivers made celebrities fall off the couch on Graham Norton and other shows. Steven Wright, Carlin, Chris Rock, and Robin Williams can all be seen as funny or heard in their rhythm of their delivery or stage audacity. You see Eddie Murphy tell jokes and you're ready to laugh. Same with Rodney Dangerfield. They are completely formed comedic prescences. And Bob Hope might fit in that too. He's too far before my time and too canned for my taste. But he must have once been very good. Most comics are always of the moment, making fun of topical things. Or themselves. But comedy ages. Clowns last and great comedic timing carries over like a song in a language you can't understand but still enjoy.

But who the fuck would mention Joy Behar in contrast to Seinfeld? Joy Behar was never a successful comedian. She was always terrible. Elayne Boosler and (Joy's friend) Susie Esmond were much more inventive and good writers too. All were lower end female comedians. They made enough money to keep going. Were seen in other formats.

Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart, Letterman and others were "wits." It fades fast, requires new input constantly. Nobody quotes them or remembers them - they're just funny in the moment. A gift in life for sure.

Bob Hope seemed to come in can. I'm not very good at this. Who's funny and why is too big a topic. Lots of people are funny. But we take them for granted. Unless we know them well.

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by Anonymousreply 11110/18/2020

R1 is an ass.

The issue seldom involves such bullshit as the "Zeitgeist." Trendiness in humor doesn't last. Comedy that deals with life's themes, even when expressed in contemporaneous terms, lasts, provided ample wit and technique are applied. Much of what is funny changes with time, but it's not the "Zeitgeist" that determines this - it's the staleness that comes with silliness becoming too familiar, schtick getting stuck, and acute observation being sacrificed for cant. And of course humor about buggy whips will lost its fun when people forget what a buggy whip was. That ain't the Geist of the Zeit.

Citing Baby Shnooks is a false measure. Many of Martin's and Lewis' acts are still funny. W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, the Three Stooges, Mae West, Oscar Wilde's dialogue, Shakespeare's "material," Josephine Hull, Margaret Rutherford, George Carlin, Redd Foxx - these people remain hilarious in retrospect to many contemporary audiences in various comedic genres.

But the question of the thread concerns Bob Hope. Hope lost his savor not because of the times but because his schtick was lazy, detached, impersonal, and untimely, and in his age he lost his touch and his understanding of his talent. Not all older comedians do - Henny Youngman, against all odds, could break an audience up at the end of his career, and Moms Mabley only got better as she aged.

Hope's oldest available work, as in his early films, remains very funny - delightfully "present," surprisingly modest and self-aware, snide and cynical. And seeing his best work with Crosby is revelatory.

I go on because putzes such as R1 are a bane of the DL and similar cites. A grand pronouncement, invoking an unevidenced claim sometimes with a cherry-picked anecdotal example, serves to slap a smug expression on the dolt's mug, when all that is being shared is personal opinion, personal limitations and shallowness.

I never found Steve Martin's stand-up routines funny. Was I ahead of my time? No. But plenty of people still laugh at them. And I can admire his timing and invention even while not laughing.

Ugh - such people.

by Anonymousreply 11210/18/2020

I wrote this on another thread, but here goes.

His 1960s TV specials were events that no one missed. In the 70s it was an event, but not such a huge deal. By the 1980s it became must miss TV.

And by the 1990s, my father who was a huge Bob Hope fan, would ask why he didn't just retire and sit at home counting his money.

by Anonymousreply 11310/18/2020

A list of the 267 specials he did on NBC.

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by Anonymousreply 11410/18/2020

Tastes change over time.

The Miss America Pageant used to be one of the most watched television programs for many years.

It earned Super Bowl ratings.

by Anonymousreply 11510/18/2020

^ Is that a new observation on this thread R115? The Miss America Beauty Contest is rightfully anachronistic. Comedy, comics and comedians are not.

by Anonymousreply 11610/18/2020

r1 is correct imho. All of the people he listed are a chore to watch and not funny.

by Anonymousreply 11710/18/2020

Big difference between comedians and comic actors. I can't define it but I know it when I see it.

Walter Matthau was a great comic actor but not a comedian.

Groucho and George Burns were both.

by Anonymousreply 11810/18/2020

Shakespeare's death of Falstaff scene is funny still. Black humor but funny.

by Anonymousreply 11910/18/2020

I thought Monty Python would be funny fir eternity but not so. Of course once you hear a joke it loses its sizzle. Bob hope was a clever man. Adopted kids pretty much signals gay. Of course, woody Allen adopted and is straight.

by Anonymousreply 12010/18/2020

A lot of this discussion reminds me of this : “do you say funny things or do you say things funny?” Generally speaking, the latter ages much better and is more important generally (although you can certainly be both).

And i saw someone mention grandparents above; I know my late grandmother never cared for Bob Hope either and made fun of his specials. So I mean...

by Anonymousreply 12110/18/2020

Bob Hope was the first celebrity for whom I remember the National Enquirer would have on their front page that giant headline "SAD FINAL DAYS!"--and even more tastelessly, they had the headline "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, BOB!" tacked up underneath it.

I think they did this multiple times before he finally kicked off.

by Anonymousreply 12210/18/2020

R122, They never dared to pull that shit with me.

by Anonymousreply 12310/18/2020

[quote] I showed my young nieces and nephews two of my favorite old films, the Marx Brothers' "Night at the Opera" and then "What's Up Doc?". Neither one got a laugh from anyone except me.

I first saw Night at the Opera in a college auditorium packed with hundreds of other students. Collectively we laughed so hard it was difficult to breathe. Comedy is infectious and so is much better in large groups.

I think Hope is funny but in several films he was allowed to show he could be more. This is really quite a sweet scene between a divorced couple, not at all what you expect from his overall body of work.

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by Anonymousreply 12410/18/2020

Thanks for the mammaries.

by Anonymousreply 12510/19/2020

[quote]Adopted kids pretty much signals gay.

Maybe his wife was was barren. Or may he had low sperm count. That could be a reason for his rampant cheating in proving his manhood since he couldn't father children.

by Anonymousreply 12610/19/2020

"Adopted kids pretty much signals gay."

Bloody rubbish!

by Anonymousreply 12710/19/2020

R125, No problem.

by Anonymousreply 12810/19/2020

[quote]no students find any of those mentioned funny; the same is true of Woody Allen, most Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder

I'd be surprised to hear that teens as a whole don't like either Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein these days, r10, or even Men in Tights and Spaceballs. Chappelle was heavily influenced by Mel Brooks, so if they like him, they'd like SOME of Brooks's and/or Wilder's work.

by Anonymousreply 12910/19/2020

I'm not familiar with his earlier films so I couldn't say. The fact Woody says they were great means little to me because I never liked the Marx Brothers and Wood says they always cheered him up. The later Bob Hope films, like one with Lucille Ball ,unwatchable. His delivery and presence on screen and on TV was great but the material always sitcom. One I always liked from that period and who wasn't mentioned here was Jackie Gleason. (On youtube key in "Honeymooners Trump") He was also terrific playing dead serious rolls in several movies and he wrote and did the score for one really weird film 'GIGOT' (His music in it by the way was superb)

by Anonymousreply 13010/19/2020

Another thumbs down on the Marx Brothers, who appear to be comedy gold to many of you. I was a kid in the 70s when the Marx Brothers and WC Fields were enjoying a renaissance, especially on college campuses. (I was a faculty brat so I saw it firsthand.) Didn't care for the Marxes then or now. Just frantic and tiresome.

And Woody Allen's stamp of approval never meant a thing to some of us (nor does Dick Cavett's or Johnny Carson's, for that matter). Talk about cultural irrelevance.

by Anonymousreply 13110/19/2020

R131 Whose cultural irrelevance - yours?

Who are "some of us?" - people in your age cohort, people without an appreciation for the foundations of present-day humor, those who are ahistorical?

Or just you?

by Anonymousreply 13210/19/2020

I'm reminded of an NPR interview I heard years ago with the author of a then-recent Bob Hope biography.

One of the topics of discussion was about his penchant for homophobic jokes.

I found it interesting, because I never thought of him as particularly homophobic, but I grew up in the 70's. I was just a kid, probably trying to suppress my own homosexuality, and homophobic attitudes were the norm in society back then, so it probably didn't even register with me.

In any case, according to this author, he eventually wound up alienating younger audiences by becoming a representation of the Establishment. He supported Nixon, he supported the Vietnam War, he was seen as sexist and disparaging of the women's liberation movement. He did it all with humor, but in some ways that probably made it worse.

Said the author:

"It's hard to be [a] comedian and be part of the establishment because comedians, their job is to satirize and to poke fun at the powerful people. And this is something that Bob was — one of the powerful people. So just as a comedian, he became less and less relevant."

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by Anonymousreply 13310/19/2020

"The Statue of Liberty has AIDS. They don't know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island 'ferry'." Bob Hope, 1985

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by Anonymousreply 13410/19/2020

Was Bob Hope a womanizer at the age of 100?

by Anonymousreply 13510/19/2020

My grandfather had a coffee mug with the inscription "Dirty old men need love too"

by Anonymousreply 13610/19/2020

Bob Hope was funny...funny like a turd in the punch bowl.

by Anonymousreply 13710/20/2020

I used to see Bob Hope occasionally on TV when I was a kid in the sixties and seventies. My parents thought he was moderately funny, but he gave me the creeps.

Apparently his comedy style had started out deadpan, but when he was older, he radiated chill rather than deadpan humor. He'd tell jokes written by other writers with no feeling, while he scanned the crowd with cold, cold eyes. It may have worked in person with undemanding or drunk crowds, but on TV you could tell what an awful person he was.

by Anonymousreply 13810/20/2020

Agree r138 there was something dead-eyed about him and he was creepy. Looking at those clips where he's leering over women young enough to be his granddaughters is pretty gross to modern eyes.

by Anonymousreply 13910/20/2020

He had shark eyes. Looking for women and who wasn't laughing. Chum.

by Anonymousreply 14010/20/2020

There was absolutely no joy in his eyes or demeanor. There was a meanness and arrogance in his delivery.

by Anonymousreply 14110/20/2020

R139 hell even when he was leering over Blanche it was creepy. Ugh vomit.

by Anonymousreply 14210/20/2020

I think there is a huge difference between the Bob Hope of the 1930's-40's and the Bob Hope of 1950's-1980's.

by Anonymousreply 14310/20/2020

Give young men too much power and praise and then watch them corrupt with it as they age - but never mature R143. Tale as old as time. Lots of men are rapists, if it's allowed. You can grab them by the pussy, do whatever you want - when you're a star.

by Anonymousreply 14410/20/2020

He seemed a bit too good looking to be a comedian. What was driving his need to be funny?

by Anonymousreply 14510/20/2020

He was never good-looking R145, in his early films he looked like an ordinary guy with a distinctively odd nose. He was moderately funny, in a smirky, douchey, attention-grabbing sort of way.

But by the 1960s, his film performances were bearing less and less resemblance to normal human activity, just a collection of schticks and mannerisms, and his eyes were getting that cold, dead, shark look. I wonder if he spent a lot of time hanging around the Playboy mansion in its heyday, he always had pretty silicon girls in tow.

by Anonymousreply 14610/20/2020

[quote]...funny like a turd in the punch bowl.

What's funny about that?

by Anonymousreply 14710/20/2020

Not to hijack the thread, but Danny Thomas and the glass coffee table is one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard.

by Anonymousreply 14810/20/2020

R146 wasn't the Playboy mansion a hangout for gays? Hefner was gay.

by Anonymousreply 14910/21/2020

R148 Details please! [quote]Not to hijack the thread, but Danny Thomas and the glass coffee table is one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard.

by Anonymousreply 15010/21/2020

There might be at least one thread on this site dedicated to that topic. If the search feature here doesn't turn up anything, try a Google search and include "datalounge."

by Anonymousreply 15110/21/2020

Bob Hope ad a colostomy bag, you know.

by Anonymousreply 15210/21/2020

R152, He was also nearly totally blind and deaf in his final years.

by Anonymousreply 15310/21/2020

And they were still trotting him out for public appearances and those putrid specials. He was clearly senile and had no idea where he was.

by Anonymousreply 15410/21/2020

Thanks for the link R77. Interesting that he suggested both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon = modern-day Bob Hopes lol.

by Anonymousreply 15510/21/2020

R155 even Jimmy Fallon is way too good for that role.

But jay Leno is perfectly fitting.

by Anonymousreply 15610/21/2020

R153 That just makes me sad. Who was dragging him out in public? Was that all his wife / family?

by Anonymousreply 15710/21/2020

R151 Thanks. I looked up the "Datalounge: Danny Thomas - coffee table link" - what a joke. I've heard the same rumor about Chuck Berry. Plus it was a scene in a Philip Roth novel a hundred years ago. Roth's version didn't name a celebrity but it was so hot at the time all sorts of speculation took place. So thank you R151 for letting me understand what that response was about.

by Anonymousreply 15810/21/2020

Hugh Hefner was bisexual, not gay. But supportive of gay rights.

I believe one of Hefner's three sons is gay, but I don't know which one. My former barber told me that the son came into his shop once, with his male lover.

My barber also used the term "clamper" as a euphemism for "gay." Is this a common meaning of "clamper?"

by Anonymousreply 15910/21/2020

David is the Hefner son long rumored to be gay.

by Anonymousreply 16010/21/2020

R134 To be fair, Hope also ended up making an anti-homophobia PSA, that he paid for out of his own pocket.

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by Anonymousreply 16110/21/2020

I swear I will punch the next person who says bisexual

by Anonymousreply 162Last Thursday at 2:33 AM

The comedian Dana Gould was on one of the last Bob Hope Specials in the 90s and he said that Hope was completely out of it during the taping. He said it was sad and depressing that Hope's "people" were still making him work when he was so obviously no longer in charge of his faculties.

by Anonymousreply 163Last Thursday at 8:01 AM
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