He was dubbed “King of One-liner” who doesn’t need elaborate jokes to elicit a laugh from the audience. Comedian/violinist Henny Youngman got his alias from the famed columnist Walter Winchell. Henny was a distinguished comedian who popularized one-liner at a time when lengthy tales were the norm in the world of comedy. He was known for simplicity in his jokes and always went straight to the punch line – reducing his audience to a state of hysterical laughter in no time at all.
He will be forever remembered as a dedicated comedian with his record of over 200 annual appearances in nightclubs all over Vegas, New York, Montreal, LA, as well as Chicago. Henny Youngman was also known to perform at cruises, meetings, functions, banquets, and colleges. He was naturally prolific and was always on the lookout for job opportunities. The witty comedian came from the era when making a living from entertainment was like getting water out of a rock and was always seen with his violin which he leverages on intermittently to spice up his gig. In collaboration with Rocky Graziano, he hosted The Henny and Rocky Show and made an appearance on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. His spouse Sadie was usually the butt of many of his jokes with the most popular being ‘Take my wife, please’ which was his signature one-liner.
Henny Youngman: His Life
A career of over seventy years of snappy and cheeky one-liners gave Henny Youngman pride of place at the very top of most lists of popular showmen. He was born on the 16th of March 1906 in London but relocated to America when was still in his diapers. His first job was in a small shop as a printer. Naturally funny, he joined Swanee Syncopaters – a musical band where he moonlighted as the leader.
One fateful night, it happened that the regular comedian failed to show up and as he was known to tickle the audience with his snappy jokes, Henny was chosen to fill the gap. As luck would have it, Milton Berle – an already established comedian stumbled on Henny’s store and was highly impressed by his comedy cards which consisted of a good number of single line gigs he printed and sold in his shop. That was the beginning of a lifelong relationship that played a big role in Henny’s emergence to the limelight.
Although the majority of his jokes were directed at his wife Sally, the couple had a long and happy union that only came to an end upon Sally’s death. She threw her weight behind her husband during his difficult years and the witty comedian wastes no time in letting people know how grateful and devoted he was to his partner. Henny’s break out role became a reality when he came on the 1937 Kate Smith radio show. Never really a huge success in the movies but his career at the nightclubs flourished. He was put in a league of his own by his popular rapid-fire one-liners coupled with a violin in hand which became his trademark. The funnyman attained a new level of popularity in the 1960s when he joined the 1967 Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Henny was also an accomplished writer, he published a good number of books consisting of his short witty jokes.
Other Interesting Facts About The Comedian
Henny Youngman’s Personal Life
Henny enjoyed a very long connubial life with his only spouse until her demise on the 19th of March 1988. He got married to Sally Cohen on the 4th of May 1928 with their union lasting for almost six decades. Though most of his one-liners were centred on his wife, they were very close and his wife accompanied him during most of his tours.
Sally died from a protracted illness and to show his support for his ailing wife during her illness, Henny installed an ICU in their bedroom so that Sally who was terrified of hospitals could stay at home. Their union was blessed with two children, a son and a daughter – their son Gary works in the entertainment industry in different capacities which include both directing and screenwriting. He is popular for his movie Rush It released in 1976. Youngman’s daughter is named Marilyn.
The details regarding his general body statistics were never published during his lifetime but Henny Youngman was known as a very tall man, standing at a great height of 6 feet 3 inches which is approximately 1.91m.
According to reports, except the subsequent week to his wife’s death and the month he was hospitalized before his death, the prolific comedian was known to have worked almost on a daily basis for more than 70 years without taking any break or vacation. He also published an autobiography with the title “Take my Wife, Please”.
Barely three weeks to his 92nd birthday, the comic legend died from Pneumonia. His death occurred on the 24th of February 1998 and his interment was at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale, New York. Henny’s final resting place was next to his beloved Sally.