Bob Hope and American Variety
Joke File

To comedians, "material" -- their jokes and stories -- has always been precious, worthy of protecting and preserving. On stage, a good vaudeville routine could last years as it was performed on tour across the country. In radio, a year's vaudeville material might be fodder for one week's broadcast. Bob Hope used new material not only for his weekly radio series, but also for the several live charity appearances he made each week. In the beginning of his career, Bob Hope wrote his own material, adapted jokes and comic routines from popular humor publications, or commissioned segments of his vaudeville act from writers.

Over the course of his career Bob Hope employed over one hundred writers to create material, including jokes, for his famous topical monologs. For example, for radio programs Hope engaged a number of writers, divided the writers into teams, and required each team to complete an entire script. He then selected the best jokes from each script and pieced them together to create the final script. The jokes included in the final script, as well as jokes not used, were categorized by subject matter and filed in cabinets in a fire- and theft-proof walk-in vault in an office next to his residence in North Hollywood, California. Bob Hope could then consult this "Joke File," his personal cache of comedy, to create monologs for live appearances or television and radio programs.

The complete Bob Hope Joke File -- more than 85,000 pages -- has been digitally scanned and indexed according to the categories used by Bob Hope for presentation in the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment.

Bob Hope in his joke vault
Annie Leibovitz.
Bob Hope in his joke vault.
Photograph, July 17, 1995.
Courtesy of Annie Leibovitz (197)

Jokes from Bob Hope's Joke File
Jokes from Bob Hope's Joke File
December 15, 1953
Typed manuscript with
holographic notations
Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4
Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7
©Bob Hope Enterprises
Bob Hope Collection
Motion Picture, Broadcasting,
and Recorded Sound Division

Bob Hope & His Comedy Writers

Hope with Writers
Bob Hope with writers,
ca. 1946.
Bob Hope Collection,
Motion Picture, Broadcasting
and Recorded Sound Division

Hope with Writers
Bob Hope with writers,

ca. 1950. Photograph.
Bob Hope Collection,
Motion Picture, Broadcasting
and Recorded Sound Division

Bob Hope was always candid about his reliance on his comedy writers, and generous with credit to them. The writers whose creativity and wit contributed to the Bob Hope Joke Files are:

Paul Abeyta
Howard Albrecht
Buddy Arnold
Bob Arnott
Jeffrey Barron
Ruth Batchlor
Harvey Berger
Bryan Blackburn
Al Boasberg
Martha Bolton
Monte Brice
Jim Carson
Chester Castellaw
Stan Davis
Jack Donahue
Marty Farrell
Marvin Fisher
Marshall Flaum
Fred S. Fox
Melvin Frank
Doug Gamble
Larry Gelbart
Kathy Green
Lee Hale
Jack Haley, Jr.
Chris Hart
Stan Hart
Edmund Hartmann
Gig Henry
Thurston Howard
Charles Isaacs
Seaman Jacobs
Milt Josefsberg
Hal Kanter
Bo Kaprall
Bob Keane
Casey Keller
Sheldon Keller
Paul Keyes
Larry Klein
Buz Kohan
Mort Lachman
Bill Larkin
Gail Lawrence
Charles Lee
James Lipton
Wilke Mahoney
Packy Markham
Larry Marks
Robert L. Mills
Gordon Mitchell
Gene Moss
Ira Nickerson
Robert O'Brien
Norman Panama
Ray Parker
Stephan Perani
Gene Perret
Linda Perret
Pat Proft
Paul Pumpian
Martin Ragaway
Johnny Rapp
Larry Rhine
Peter Rich
Jack Rose
Sy Rose
Ed Scharlach
Sherwood Schwartz
Tom Shadyac
Mel Shavelson
John Shea
Raymond Siller
Ben Starr
Charles Stewart
Strawther & Williger
Norman Sullivan
James Thurman
Mel Tolkin
Leon Topple
Lloyd Turner
Ed Weinberger
Sol Weinstein
Harvey Weitzman
Ken & Mitzie Welch
Glenn Wheaton
Lester White
Steven White

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