Comedy for Two: Hilarious Duos in History


By JORDAN LUSINK, Communications Coordinator

Murder for Two is a murder mystery musical that is also filled with laughs. In this round up, we look at some of the other great comedy pairings in recent history.

Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy were big during the early Classic Hollywood period, especially in the 1920s into the 1940s. The bowler-hatted duo were Englishman Stan Laurel and American Oliver Hardy. They were especially known for their slapstick comedy, and appeared in over 100 films together.

Burns and Allen

George Burns and Gracie Allen were a married couple who entertained in vaudeville, radio, film and television from the late 1920s into the 1950s. Burns was the straight man and Allen the comic. They often used running gags as publicity stunts, most famously in reference to Grace’s brother. Gracie died in 1964, and when Burns died 32 years later at the age of 100, the marker on the crypt was edited to say, “Gracie Allen and George Burns – Together Again.” (Fun, unrelated fact – Gracie Allen had heterochromia: one of her eyes was blue and the other green.)

Abbott and Costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were arguably the most popular comedy duo in the 1940s and 1950s. Both men actually started in burlesque, and then transitioned into radio, where their rapid-fire repartee worked well (though some listeners had trouble telling their voices apart). They are the performers of perhaps the most famous comedy bit of all time, “Who’s on First?” which will never not be funny.

Martin and Lewis

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They were a duo from 1946 to 1956, including making several appearances on the Colgate Comedy Hour. Though their split was anything but amicable – they didn’t speak for 20 years afterwards – they both ended up regretting the way they left things, and reconciled privately years later.

Cheech and Chong

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are a Grammy Award-winning comedy duo who were widely popular during the 1970s and 1980s. Their comedy was based on the hippie and free love era, and especially in counterculture movements. They’re probably most well known for their love of cannabis, which was a frequent topic in their stand up and movies.

Statler and Waldorf

I wanted to make sure we had the Muppet contingent represented here, and it doesn’t get much better than these curmudgeonly, heckling old feltheads. Since the mid-1970s and the premiere of The Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf have been adding their unsolicited opinions, making guest appearances in various other Muppet vehicles such as the ever-popular Muppet Christmas Carol.

Poehler and Fey

These women are definitely friendship goals. From their first meeting all the way back in 1993 at Chicago’s ImprovOlympics, to UCB, to Mean Girls, to Weekend Update (where they became the first female co-anchors), and beyond, these women have represented a strong, supportive female partnership. Not to mention, they always bring the laughs, and hopefully will for many more years to come.

Key and Peele

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele came to the forefront of the comedy world during the five seasons of their Comedy Central show, Key & Peele. The show won a Peabody and two Primetime Emmy Awards, and was nominated for a plethora of others. Key and Peele met while working on MADtv. Their work mostly consists of sketches, which often cover American societal topics.

Glazer and Jacobson

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are the women behind Broad City. It is executive produced by Amy Poehler, and was developed from their web series of the same name. It is based on their real-life friendship and experiences, and has been put in juxtaposition to shows like Girls as a more representative view on twenty-something women in New York.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, as that could probably go on infinitely. Here are a few of our other favorite comedy duos that aren’t covered above: Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz, Dan Akroyd and John Belushi, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie (aka Flight of the Conchords), Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau, and so many others.

What are your favorite comedy pairs? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t miss our own current favorite comedy duo in Murder for Two, performed at ACT Theatre now through June 11. Find out more and purchase tickets here.

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