Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Memoriam: Phyllis Diller 1917-2012


 Onstage comes something that, by its own description, looks like a sackful of doorknobs. With hair dyed by Alcoa, pipe-cleaner limbs and knees just missing one another when the feet are wide apart, this is not Princess Volupine. It is Phyllis Diller, the poor man's Auntie Mame, only successful female among the New Wave comedians and one of the few women funny and tough enough to belt out a `standup' act of one-line gag.

--Time Magazine, 1961

It's my real laugh. It's in the family. When I was a kid my father called me the laughing hyena.

--Phyllis Diller


  1. I liked Phyllis Diller. I was in High School I think when I first started to watch her, anyways she was funny. That laugh was so wild and loud, she was wild and loud. But I remember her as so different to what was on TV at that time.
    I am thinking it was that whole 6o's thing going on.
    So much change going on, good and too much bad.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I normally don't like it when comedians laugh at their own jokes, but I make an exception in her case. That laugh was sometimes funnier than the actual jokes.

      If you'll allow me a bit of self-promotion, parsnip, I posted something just minutes ago about a signature event of the 1960s

  2. the day she died, i happened to listen to an interview with diller on npr, done when she was 69. the laugh was all hers, no artifice. she was a highly intelligent practitioner of her craft. she was in the guiness book of world records for delivering 12 punch lines in one minute.

  3. Just out of curiosity, rraine, I counted the number of jokes in the above clip, and then (via computer) divided it into the amount of time it ran. I got one joke every 11 seconds. Not quite as fast as the Guiness record (one joke every five seconds) but fast enough for me not to get bored in-between the punchlines.

    Incidentally, the clip may have been edited. I noticed there's a sudden shift away from fashion to her drunken husband.


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