No News
February 8, 2010 2:38 PM   Subscribe

" of the most famous of all vaudeville tramps at the beginning of the 20th century was Nat Wills. He appeared on stage with a toothless grin, scruffy face, rough clothes, and oversized shoes, but he spoke like a gentleman and delighted audiences with his topical humor and observations on modern life. Released in 1909, his monologue, 'No News, or What Killed the Dog' took off like a wildfire and became one of the early recording industry's all-time biggest smash hits." // Collected Works of Nat M. Wills.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
That skit is like the vaudeville antecedent of a stereotypical country song.

Thanks for this!
posted by Asparagirl at 2:43 PM on February 8, 2010

[this is good]
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:57 PM on February 8, 2010

That sounds a lot like one of those "one side of a telephone conversation" that Bob Newhart did in the 1970's.
posted by three blind mice at 3:19 PM on February 8, 2010

Listened to "New York, What's The Matter With You?" from Collected Works ... it includes the euphemism "do the grizzly with my wife" (if I'm hearing it correctly). Really enjoyed learning that one.
posted by rattenweiler at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2010

OMG the best!! I've been hoping my whole life I'd ever get to hear this, after reading James Thurber's account of it in "More Alarms at Night", from _My Life and Hard Times_:

Father was usually in bed by nine-thirty and up again by ten-thirty to protest bitterly against a Victrola record we three boys were in the habit of playing over and over, namely, "No News, or What Killed the Dog," a recitation by Nat Wills. The record had been played so many times that its grooves were deeply cut and the needle often kept revolving in the same groove, repeating over and over the same words. Thus: "ate some burnt hoss flesh, ate some burnt hoss flesh, ate some burnt hoss flesh." It was this reiteration that generally got father out of bed.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:02 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Toodleydoodley, you beat me to it! The Thurber story is totally why I clicked on the link to listen to this --! I've been aware of this recording for about a zillion years and I've never before heard it. Awesome.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:18 PM on February 8, 2010

Ate some burnt hoss flesh ate some burnt hoss flesh ate some burnt hoss flesh are some burnt hoss flesh are some....

Would've been funnier if I had gotten here before toodleydoodley. This is one of my favorite moments of My Life And Hard Times.
posted by JHarris at 2:35 AM on February 9, 2010

I remember listening to a version of this routine on one of my father's Flip Wilson albums in the early 70's... really made me laugh.
posted by drmanhattan at 9:18 AM on February 9, 2010

Terrific, many thanks!

/another Thurber fan
posted by languagehat at 9:41 AM on February 9, 2010

Heard and have loved this routine, (and used parts of it) for many years. Did't know the origins of it and always attributed it to Flip. Thanks for teaching me something!
posted by scottymac at 4:59 PM on February 9, 2010

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