Frank Libuse: Stealthy and Strange

Eccentric comedian Frank Libuse (Frank Belohlavek, 1887-1985) born in Chicago on a first of March. Libuse worked vaudeville in the late ’20s and early ’30s as a spontaneous, improvisational and surreal comic, but he became best known for working society parties and nightclubs as a phony waiter to prank guests. This background perfectly prepared him to appear as a stooge in two Olsen and Johnson shows on Broadway, Sons o’ Fun (1941-43), and Laffing Room Only (1944-45). When the guy sitting next to you suddenly does something surprising and strange and turns out to be part of the show? That is what he specialized in. Between 1949 and 1959 Labuse also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show a half dozen times.

To learn more about vaudeville, please consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,