Abbott and Costello’s most famous routine. Whether you are a baseball fan or not…it is enjoyable. I wanted to know who wrote the routine or what inspired it.
Some have said “Who’s on First” was based on the names of actual minor leaguers and cup-of-coffee big leaguers such as Honus J. Hoehe (Who), Allie Watt (What) and Isaiah Donough (I Dunno)… but that sounds a little too good to be true.
Most historians believe that it was derived from various early skits performed in burlesque houses including one called “The Baker Scene” (which played on multiple meanings of the word “loaf,” from bread to laziness) and another routine named “Who Dyed” (about a man named “Who”). Various comics and comedy teams over the years expanded on the bit and varied it from show to show. Eventually, somehow, the subject of baseball got involved.
Over the years, usually in obituaries, various comedy writers (including Michael Musto, John Grant, and Irving Gordon) have been credited with the final form of “Who’s On First?” but determining full ownership has proven to be impossible.
Ultimately, one thing is for sure… Abbott and Costello made it their own.