Brooklyn: the borough that breeds comic giants

Ever notice how many legendary comedians—especially comedians who are actually funny—hail from the county of Kings?

Like Jackie Gleason. Born Herbert Walton Gleason, Jr., at 364 Chauncey Street in Bed-Stuy in 1916, he attended P.S. 73 and Bushwick High School.

The Three Stooges also launched in Brooklyn. Moe (born Moses Horwitz) Howard and his two brothers, Curly (Jerome) and Shemp (Samuel), grew up in Bensonhurst in the early 1900s.

And of course, Woody Allen, aka Allan Stewart Konigsberg, made a career out of mining his Avenue K childhood for laughs.

He was a student at P.S. 99 on East 10th Street and Avenue K and Midwood High School.

P.S. 99 must have made quite an impression on him. Allen gave Mia Farrow’s character in Zelig the name Eudora Fletcher—the real name of P.S. 99’s terrifying spinster school principal in the 1940s.

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11 Responses to “Brooklyn: the borough that breeds comic giants”

  1. Frank Lynch Says:

    Alan King hailed from Williamsburg, I believe.

  2. Malcolm Kushner Says:

    My father is really funny and he grew up on Buffalo Avenue.

  3. tom murphy Says:

    Don’t leave out Henny Youngman who grew up in Sunset Park, which he called Bay Ridge in his autobiography.

  4. neshuma Says:

    Word from Mom: P.S. 99 was on East 10th Street and Avenue K; and she reports that Eudora Fletcher was there as late as 1952. (…And affirms that Eudora was terrifying.)

    • wildnewyork Says:

      I’ll fix the address, thanks.
      I’ve heard all about the frightening Eudora Fletcher from my father, a PS 99 graduate in the 1940s. My grandmother remembered having to deal with her too. She was a real stickler for the rules!

  5. Thomas Jefferson Says:

    My Uncles (long gone now) used to shoot pool with Jackie Gleason before he was “somebody”. They would tell me how he would MC at the old vaudville theater. :)

  6. Helene Says:

    I attended PS 99 when Eudora Fletcher was principal. She ran a no-nonsense school, but was always fair. In my opinion, PS 99 was the best school in the world. I got a first-rate education and, best of all, I’m still in touch with my childhood friends.

  7. Dan K. Says:

    Chris Rock grew up in Bed-Stuy

    You might find this site interesting: [famous people n Brooklyn]

    http://brooklyn.com/peopleindex.php?6

  8. Phyllis Snyder Says:

    I graduated from PS99 in June 1942, and I did not find Mrs. Fletcher frightening. I was. in fact, Student Principal on Student’s Day.
    Does aanyone remember Agnes R. Hanretty who taught the “Special” 6A and 6B and made a big difference in my life!

  9. Joe Freeman Says:

    I graduated from PS 99 in June 1955. I too remember Mrs. Hanretty, a true professional school teacher who like so many of that excellent faculty, came to teach each day with a wonderful nurturing manner. Our principal Mrs. Fletcher, on the other hand, made my football coach seem like Little Bo Peep!

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