The hit rate for Bob Hope’s material – joke after joke after joke – is relentless. You could get tired from this kind of assault on your sense of humour, but Hope’s show is interspersed with musical numbers which act as a palette-cleanser for the next barrage of jokes.
The two shows on this record were broadcast around the world to America G.I.s in late 1945, and much of the material is not only army-centric, but deals with the premise of leaving the forces now that the war is over. Of course, this provides ample subject material for Hope to riff on, and the audiences (at military separation centres in California) lap up every gag.
You can almost taste the palpable sense of relief in these radio shows. The audience have not only reached the end of the war, they’ve also reached the end of their military career and presumably are about to re-enter normal life. If I was in their shoes I’d be laughing at anything, a cathartic release, but the strength of Hope’s material gives them more than enough to find funny.
Hit: “A discharge? That’s a little piece of paper that changes a Lieutenant’s name from Sir to Stinky”
Hidden Gem: “Not everybody flies inside the plane with their parachute open! Well, I didn’t know the pilot was being personal when he said ‘Jerk!’”