Dan and Jay Meet Herschel F. Comedy-Hour

Herschel F. Comedy-Hour was a Vaudevillian himself, and an English music hall performer, as well as a Canadian.  In the early 1900s, he started signing acts and booking them in huge venues, but Dan and Jay were the first group to which he lent his name.  His children would continue his work with the group as the years went on.

He discovered Dan and Jay several weeks into his time on the Titanic.  He’d recently found himself stranded in Liverpool, and purchased the last-available ticket on the luxury liner, which happened to be in the entertainment quarters, all of which were near the ship’s ice machines.  When he first saw them perform, he thought little of their act.  He approached them after watching five or six of their performances, and recommended they perform more of their lines to one another directly on stage, rather than at the audience, suggesting that perhaps they could save those moments for the punchlines, if they must do it at all.  They took his suggestion, and the shows increased in popularity overnight.  He signed them three weeks later.

When Titanic struck an iceberg, Comedy-Hour was one of the few people admitted onto one of the “Platinum Rafts,” lifeboats intended for high-end passengers.  Though he had finagled his way onto the lifeboat, he soon had a change of heart, noting with great sorrow that “The lifeboats had, indeed, been plated with actual platinum, which hastened the demise of so many of the upper classes, such as Benjamin Guggenheim, John Jacob Astor, and the co-owner of Macy’s, Isidor Straus, along with Ida, his wife.”  Comedy-Hour eventually made it onto one of the normal lifeboats, surviving along with his new protegés.

Author: Jay