Nipsy Russell: The Rhyming Comedian
Today is the birthday of Julius “Nipsy” Russell (1918-2005). Those of us a certain age remember him as the guy who used to go on all the game shows as a panelist and recite humorous rhyming poems. But he was more than a one-tick pony.
He was a trained dancer (influenced by Harlem tapper Jack Wiggins), started out doing stand-up comedy in his native Atlanta, and for awhile was the comedy partner of Mantan Moreland in a crosstalk act. A booking on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 50s led to a host of other bookings – -a lucrative television career that lasted almost half a century.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.