Costello in Africa Screams on Muppet Babies

Hey alphabet


Ernie tweet Abbott and Costello

Ernie's tweet.

Abbott and Costello (William "Bud" Abbott, 1895-1974, and Lou Costello, 1906-1959) were an American comedy team best known for their baseball-themed, wordplay comedy routine, "Who's on First?" The pair achieved success on stage (both burlesque and vaudeville), followed by their first national fame on radio (where their verbal routines were particularly well-suited), in film, and television. They were especially popular from the start of their movie career with Universal in 1940 until their partnership ended in 1956.

As with other teams, such as Laurel and Hardy, there was a physical contrast between tall straight man Abbott and the shorter, fatter Costello. Abbott was the sarcastic adult of the pair (a frustrated voice of reason on radio, he often took a more domineering, conniving edge in movies and on TV), while Costello was the child-like comic, the apparently innocent bumbler (but with an impish streak) who would shout excitedly (and in a drawn out manner) "HEY, ABBOTT!"


  • Rowlf and Jimmy Dean do a routine about the hypothetical problems of Rowlf throwing a New Year's Eve party on the December 1965 broadcast of The Jimmy Dean Show, borrowing the structure of a recurring Abbott and Costello bit done on radio and TV. Sometimes done with Abbott but most often with Sid Fields (as Melonhead on radio, on TV as landlord Mr. Fields) interrogating Lou, a seemingly harmless concept (like throwing a party) encounters countless objections and a tragic ending "All because you had to..."
  • On Sesame Street, Ernie's breathy gasps as he relates to Bert, "the staaa, the staaa-tue", in a sketch where the duo travel to Egypt, is inspired by Costello's frightened reaction in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and other films.
  • Footage of Abbott and Costello themselves, from Africa Screams (1949), appears in the Muppet Babies episode "...At the Movies." Baby Bean Bunny, trying to find Bambi, wanders into a theater screen playing the movie, a scene where Abbott and Costello are paddling a boat in the jungle. Costello discovers an alligator and, with an eggbeater, makes a quick getaway. Later in the same episode, Bean befriends the movie's gorilla suited simian (redubbed by Frank Welker).
  • An Abbott and Costello routine, done in the 1945 film The Naughty Nineties and on their TV show, has Costello wanting to audition with a song while Abbott gives directions to stage hands ("higher," "lower," etc.) and adjusting his voice or movements accordingly. The gag was used on Sesame Street when a diva tries to sing "The Alphabet Song." (First: Episode 2964)
  • In a DXD video, Kermit and Fozzie share an exchange about Whatnots resulting in a similar word play present in Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First?" sketch. Toward the end, a frustrated Fozzie even breaks the flow to interject with "third base!"
  • On February 4, 2011, Ernie tweeted, "Y’know Abbot & Costello? Not sure what it is, but there’s something so familiar about those two…" [1]
  • In a 2017 Vanity Fair video of Sesame Muppets reciting movie quotes, the Count starts reciting *both* halves of "Who's on First?" (with The Naughty Nineties specified as the source).
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