Thursday, May 15, 2014
International Day of Laughter, 2014 -- May 15, 2014
100 years ago, on 15-May-1914, vaudeville monologist Art Fisher allegedly gave the Marx Brothers, Leonard, Arthur, Julius and Milton and became Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Gummo. The baby of the family, Herbert, later got the nickname Zeppo. Fisher may have been inspired by Gus Mager's comic strips like Knocko the Monk, Sherlocko the Monk and Groucho the Monk.
There is some debate about whether the brothers used their nicknames in vaudeville, but they did by the time they went to Broadway and when they made their first released movie, The Cocoanuts. The review, from the August, 1929 Photoplay, mentions that "Groucho Marx is funny in his rapid fire wise-cracking" and that "His brothers lend assistance." I like the comment that "The thing (the Broadway show) has been screened in toto, painted back drops and all."