Clip | This Is Bob Hope... - Learn how Bob Hope came up with his iconic standup routines

Journalist Richard Zoglin, comedy writer Robert Mills, and America’s most beloved amphibian, Kermit the Frog, discuss Bob Hope’s groundbreaking improvisational style. His fast-paced monologues were flexible, and allowed him to bring current events into his comedy act.


Major support for This is Bob Hope… is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and Roslyn Goldstein. Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Judith and Burton Resnick, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, and public television viewers.

The filmmakers and American Masters would like to thank our advisors for their time and expertise in making this documentary: James Baughman, Thomas Doherty, Michael Frisch, Kristine Karnick, Laurence Maslon, Clayton Koppes, Robert Snyder and Kathryn Fuller-Seeley.

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The old-style vaudeville comedians had set routines. They'd make jokes about their wife, or they'd have ethnic jokes. Bob's innovation in vaudeville was to get away from all that. Bob had to be spontaneous every night introducing the act - cutting the show if it needed to, stretching it where it needed to - and that prompted him to develop a much more spontaneous, conversational improvisational kind of comedy. They told me when he first started he came up with this shotgun style delivery, you know - bang-bang-bang - and he wouldn't wait for the laugh, he'd just go to the next joke. Well election day is almost over and I'm pretty tired. My uncle ran for office in Eagle Knob California, and I've been voting all day. But it doesn't pay, to be honest. I voted 12 times today and I only got paid for 10.

No one was faster and funnier than Bob. Yeah, his jokes came at you so fast you had to duck so you didn't get hit by a punch line. Hah...mmm...who wrote that?