Friday, March 4, 2016
Irving Benson is an American actor and comedian. He is one of the last survivors of the vaudeville era and just celebrated his 102nd birthday.
Benson gained national exposure during the 1960s, when fellow vaudevillian Milton Berle hired him to play a faux heckler named Sidney Spritzer.
The character would turn up in the balcony overlooking the stage of Berle's variety show (where the studio audience could see him) and banter with Berle about the host's alleged lack of talent and originality.
Benson became Johnny Carson's favorite comic and appeared frequently on the Johnny Carson-hosted Tonight Show. He was honored for Best Documentary at the 2011 Backlot Film Festival for "The Last First Comic" uncovering the roots of American comedy also going inside the colorful world of the Burlesque show. He turned 100 in January 2014.
Here's one of the Benson-Berle heckling skits from Berle's show. Enjoy!
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