Uploaded on Apr 5, 2009
Who's on First? is a comedy routine made famous by Abbott and Costello. The premise of the routine is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team to Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. In this context, the first baseman is named "Who"; thus, the utterance "Who's on first" is ambiguous between the question ("which person is the first baseman?") and the answer ("Who is the name of the first baseman.").
The names given in the routine for the players at each position are:
* First Base: Who
* Second Base: What
* Third base: I Don't Know
* Left field: Why
* Center field: Because
* Pitcher: Tomorrow
* Catcher: Today
* Shortstop: I Don't Care/I Don't Give a Darn/I Don't Give a Damn
The name of the shortstop is not given until the very end of the routine, and the right fielder is never identified, though an interpretation of the routine could give his name as "Naturally". At a point in the routine, Costello thinks that Naturally is the first baseman (because naturally, Who would get the ball if was thrown to first base). However, in the board game, the right fielder's name is "Nobody". The skit serves as a climax for an Abbott and Costello radio broadcast which begins with Costello receiving a telegram from Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio explains that he is recovering from an operation on his foot and asks Costello to take over for him. One could infer that Costello is the unmentioned right fielder, and that the unnamed team is the New York Yankees.
Abbott's explanations leave Costello hopelessly confused and infuriated, until the end of the routine when he finally appears to catch on. "You got a couple of days on your team?" He never quite figures out that the first baseman's name literally is "Who". But after all this he announces, "I don't give a darn!" ("Oh, that's our shortstop.") That is the most commonly heard ending, which varied depending on the perceived sensibilities of the audience. The even milder "I Don't Care" was used in the version seen in the film The Naughty Nineties. A recording of the obvious "I Don't Give a Damn" has also turned up on occasion.