Who's on First?

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Who's on First? is a famous skit by the American comedy team of Abbot and Costello performed by them from the late 1930s through the 1950s. It is a play on words involving the confusion created between a description of the mode of play of an imaginary baseball game and the names of the players in that game.

The title of the skit itself involves the same basic play on words. As the sketch begins, Bud Abbott begins to describe the action to Lou Costello. It soon becomes evident to the audience that they are misunderstanding each other: one is making a statement, to wit that a player surnamed ‘Who’ is fielding on First Base, the other is asking a question: who is the player at first base? The standing joke becomes: “Who's on First?” “That's right!” The misinterpretations continue, with the humor becoming funnier as the characters become more and more frustrated with each other.

The sketch has its roots in old vaudeville routines. Abbott and Costello themselves performed many different versions, on television, stage and on film. Who’s on First? became an American comedy classic; was eventually copyrighted to Abbott and Costello It has been reenacted or referenced in countless other teleplays, shows and mass media. Copies of recordings of Who’s on First are held at the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress. It has been voted one of the American Film Institute’s 100 most memorable movie lines.