What Is a Summary of Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First" Routine?


Quick Answer

Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine is a well-known baseball comedy act involving a hilarious, witty wordplay between Bud Abbott, who's going to be a baseball coach, and Lou Costello, who wants to make sure that Abbott knows everyone on his team. Costello starts asking about the name of the first-base player, whom Abbott identifies as "Who." This leads to a string of confusion, as the second-base player is named "What," while the third base is "I Don't Know."

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Full Answer

The remaining players in the team include "Why" as the left field, "Because" as the center field, "Tomorrow" as the pitcher and "Today" as the catcher. At the end of the skit, when Costello is completely befuddled, he exclaims in frustration the phrase "I don't give a darn," to which Abbott replies, "That's our shortstop," thus revealing the name of the shortstop.

The comedian duo performed the "Who's on First" routine hundreds of times in vaudeville theaters and also showcased the skit many times on radio and television. The 1945 movie "The Naughty Nineties" also featured the routine.

In 1999, Time gave the Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century title to Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine. In 2003, the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry included a radio recording of the routine in its collection, while the American Film Institute added the routine to its list of 100 memorable movie quotations in 2005.

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