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What is "Double-Talk"?


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Someone else might be able to define or explain it more clearly, but here's my try: Double-talk is a comedy gag where a person speaks a series of words that have the grammar and inflection that make them sound like they mean something, but if you actually listen to the words you realize that they don't make any sense at all. Of course, one sound clip would be worth a thousand words of explanation.

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One of the leading exponents on Double Talk was Cliff Nazarro. He was a vaudevillian and singer in bands in the 20's and early 30's. He was featured on the Jack Benny show in the late 30's. Jack would ask directions from, and get the great double talk routine.His gibberish was so good that you actually think he was saying something, but in truth not saying anything....you know kinda like politicians.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another great double-talking comic was Al Kelly. I'm not sure how and when he got his start in show business, but I remember, as a little kid, listening to him when he often appeared as a guest character on Milton Berle's radio show. Kelly also appeared on Berle's Tuesday-night TV show, the Ed Sullivan Show and others. Kelly also was a regular on the great radio weekend show, "Monitor."

 

He was a master of the art of double-talking. When he appeared on Sullivan's show and walked to center stage to begin to double-talking "shtik", I would crack up even before the guy even opened his mouth.

 

When Kelly died, the NY Times ran a great obituary, which included the wonderful story of the time he and Jackie Gleason entered a restaurant in New York City for dinner. Not knowing who she was talking to, the waitress asked Kelly what he wanted to eat -- he replied with non-sensical double-talking gibberish. Not wanting to admit that she hadn't understood a single word Kelly uttered, the waitress then turned to Gleason to take his order. He told her, "I'll have what my friend here ordered."

 

 

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