David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Birth, Birthdays, Books


• When Erma Bombeck’s first book, At Wit’s End, was published, she went on tour to publicize it. At one book signing, she spent three hours in a department store with a stack of her books on the desk at which she was sitting, but only two people approached her: A woman wanted directions to the ladies room, and a man asked her the price of the desk. Later, after she had written several best sellers, the lines of people waiting to have her autograph a book became very long. Once, a woman with an infant waited in line to have Ms. Bombeck sign a book. When Ms. Bombeck said that the infant was adorable, the woman replied, “Thank you. It was born in the line.”

• When comedian Henry Morgan was five years old, he was taken to a hospital where his mother was having a baby. He walked into her room, pointed to her stomach, and said, “I can see the baby.” However, his mother smiled and said, “I’ve already had the baby.” In his autobiography, Here’s Morgan!, Mr. Morgan writes, “This gift of saying the right thing at the right time has been with me all my life.”

• Entertainer Art Linkletter’s daughter Sharon was giving birth. Because her physician knew her only by her married name, he was shocked when Mr. Linkletter showed up at the hospital. He told Sharon, “Guess who’s waiting to see you on the other side of those doors — Art Linkletter!” Sharon shocked him further by saying, “Why shouldn’t he be here? He’s my father.”

• The most comedian Eddie Cantor ever laughed was in response to a line by Amanda, his four-year-old granddaughter. Mr. Cantor was in the hospital for minor surgery, and Amanda was allowed to see him as long as she was a good girl. At the end of the visit, Amanda asked, “Wasn’t I a good girl, Grandpa?” Then she added, “So now may I see the baby?”

• While Eve Arden, famous especially for her radio and TV lead character in Our Miss Brooks, was having labor pains for her son (Douglas), she ran into one small problem — nurses in the pre-labor room kept asking her for her autograph.


• Carmine Buete was a 10-year-old boy with AIDS who lived near New York City. He caught AIDS from his mother, who died when he was a year and three months old — he was so young when his mother died that he couldn’t remember her. Still, whenever the wind blew open the door of his home, he would say that it was his mother. On his mother’s birthday, he used to send her a helium-filled balloon by standing on a porch, releasing the balloon, and letting it soar into the sky. After Carmine died on July 13, 1996, his family started sending balloons to him on his birthday.

• Comedian and announcer Henry Morgan is married to an intelligent woman. On one of his birthdays, an old friend of Henry’s called him on the telephone to talk over old times. Throughout the rest of the day at half-hour intervals, more old friends of Henry’s kept calling him. He found out later that his wife, Karen, had spent a week tracking down his old friends and assigning them a time to call.

• Humorist Frank Sullivan enjoyed birthdays very much, but he enjoyed even more making jokes at his friends’ expense. A friend who sent him a congratulatory telegram sometimes received a telegram like this in reply: “Your telegram on my birthday today will suffice until you can find time to send me some more substantial gift. Thanking you in advance, Mr. Sullivan.”


• An 8th-grade student didn’t read a book for her book report, but instead made up a book and completely invented the plot and characters while telling her teacher that she had bought the book at a bookstore and had left it at home and therefore couldn’t remember such things as its publisher and copyright. The student received a good grade on the book report, but the teacher wrote a note on her report, asking where he could buy a copy of the book as a present for his niece. The student was so unnerved by the teacher’s note that she never cheated again.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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