It was a great moment in classic comedy when Jimmy Fallon, guest Billy Crystal and surprise walk-on Jerry Seinfeld produced a “sequel” to the legendary “Who’s on first?” comedy routine.
The comedians’ take on this beloved Abbott and Costello routine was seen Thursday night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the original “Who’s on first?” bit, then you flunk out of comedy school. That’s because the bit — created and made famous by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello — is one of the most storied routines in the history of comedy. (You can watch it below, courtesy of YouTube.)
In the bit, confusion reigns as Abbott tries to identify the infielders on a fictional baseball team to the dimwitted Costello. The infielders’ names: Who, What and I Don’t Know.
The bit depends solely on wordplay, and there was no doubt that Fallon, Crystal and Seinfeld were well-familiar with it when they did their “revised” version on “Late Night.” Seinfeld’s admiration for Abbott and Costello is well-known, with Jerry saying over the years that the style of wordplay between his character and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) on “Seinfeld” was inspired by the comedy duo who ruled the movie box office in the 1940s.
With additional players A.D. Miles (head writer for “Late Night”) and announcer Steve Higgins, the bit was lovingly re-produced in black-and-white, and in vintage baseball-uniform costumes identical to the Abbott and Costello original. When Seinfeld stepped into the bit, it was evidently a surprise to the “Fallon” studio audience, who went wild.