Henry Junggman was born in Britain in 1906 and emigrated to America as a child. He became a wise-cracking violin-player in a comedy band. At one gig, the headlining comic didn't show up and Henry was asked to fill in for him. He was a hit!
Henry changed his name to Henny Youngman, tuned up his violin and his wits and went on the road. Eventually, he became known as the most famous "clean" comedian in the United States.
Like most great comedians, he lived a long life.. (laughing a lot does it.) He died at the age of 92. Along the way, he wrote three books: How Do You Like Me So Far?, 400 Traveling Salesmen's Jokes, and Henny Youngman's Bar Bets, Bar Jokes, Bar Tricks (most people probably don't know that he was an amateur magician as well as a musician and a comedian.)
Although he is famous mainly for his one-liners, such as the famous: "Take my wife, please!".. he could also tell some wonderful "stretched out" jokes.. which his buddy Milton Berle said that he stole from other "unknown" comedians. If you would like to reaquaint yourself with some of the great one-liners, you might want to visit:
Meanwhile, take a look at some of those "stretched out" jokes:
A gravedigger, thoroughly absorbed in his work, dug a pit so deep one afternoon that he couldn't climb out when he had finished. Come nightfall and evening's chill, his predicament became more uncomfortable. He shouted for help and at last attracted the attention of a drunk staggering by.
"Get me out of here," the digger pleaded. "I'm cold!"
The inebriated one peered into the open grave and finally spotted the shivering digger in the darkness.
"Well, no wonder you're cold, buddy," said the drunk, kicking some of the loose sod into the hole. "You haven't got any dirt on you."
During a flight from New York to Los Angeles, a passenger who had been gazing out the window suddenly spied two engines on fire. He began shouting at the top of his lungs, "Two engines are on fire! Two engines are on fire!"
In a few short seconds panic and hysteria spread to the rest of the passengers. The pilot, equipped with a parachute, soon appeared in the passenger compartment. "Don't worry," he assured them, "I'm going for help."
A man who looked like a high-powered executive began to drop in at Milton's Bar regularly, and his order was always the same-- two Martinis. After several weeks of this, Milton asked him why he didn't order a double insted.
"It's a sentimental thing," he said. "A very dear friend of mine died a few weeks ago, and before his death he asked that when I drink I have one for him too."
A week later the customer came in and ordered one Martini.
"What about your dead buddy? Why only one Martini today?"
"This is my buddy's drink. I'm on the wagon."
Two mothers talking:
"It's really none of my business, but have you noticed what your daughter is up to?"
"Why no. What is it?"
"She's knitting tiny garments."
"Well, thank goodness. I'm glad to see she's taken an interest in something besides running around with boys."
A man said to his psychiatrist, "Doctor, you've got to help me. I'm sure I'm losing my mind. I can't remember anything, not what happened a year ago, or even what happened yesterday. I must be going crazy."
"How long have you had this problem?"
The man looked puzzled. "What problem?"
The forgetful professor left his hotel room and discovered he had left his umbrella behind. he went back to get it and found that the room had been rented already. Through the door he heard sounds.
"Whose little baby are you?"
"Your little baby."
"And whose little hands are these?"
"Your little hands."
"And whose little feet are these-- and whose little knees-- and whose little--"
"When you get to an umbrella," said the professor through the door, "it's mine."
A woman went to her psychiatrist and said, "Doctor, I want to talk to you about my husband. He thinks he's a refrigerator."
"That's not so bad," said the doctor. "It's a rather harmless complex."
"Well, maybe," replied the lady, "but he sleeps with his mouth open and the light keeps me awake."
A guy says to a Rabbi, "you have such a small congregation. How much do you make a week?"
The Rabbi says, "Six dollars a week."
He says, "How can you live on that?"
"If I wasn't a very religious man, and didn't fast three days a week, I'd starve to death!"
A mother says to her son, "Get out of bed and get to school."
He says, "I don't want to go to school."
She says, "Eight o'clock in the morning, you go to school."
"I don't want to go to school-- the kids don't like me, the janitor doesn't like me, and teachers don't like me."
"You're forty-five years old, and you're the principal. Go to school!"
-------> and last.... a classic:
A woman says to her husband, "Suppose you came home one night and found another man making love to me, what would you do?"
He says, "I'd kick his seeing-eye dog!"
My late Uncle Allen loved Henny Youngman's jokes.. he was able to tell hundreds of them. He felt, as I feel, that Mr. Youngman was one of the greatest comedians of the 20th century. May he rest in peace.
Enough.. find one of Henny's great books and spend a few hilarious hours reading his famous jokes and one-liners. You'll live longer if you do.