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Today's Pearls Before Swine — "Who's on first" updated:

We have some puns of this kind here at Ware College House, for example a regular events announcement title "What When Ware", t-shirts labeled "Ware it's at", and so on. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) there's no Hu College House or Watt College House at Penn. Though I believe there's a naming opportunity at New College House, and perhaps others in the future.


  1. Leo T said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 8:19 am

    Animaniacs did a similar spin about 20 years ago, with Slappy Squirrel at a 60s rock festival, who I believe was listening to 'The Who', leading to 'who's on stage?' 'Yes'. 'Yes is the band on stage?' 'No, Yes aren't playing until tomorrow'.

  2. peterv said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 9:29 am

    Yesterday, in his weekly Guardian column, the death-defying Clive James reported the silent reaction the Who's on First sketch received in a country that did not play baseball:

  3. Matt McIrvin said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 10:07 am

    Updated to 50 years ago.

  4. Neil Dolinger said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 10:46 am

    "… I believe there’s a naming opportunity at New College House"

    Though if the renaming occurs, they will have lost the opportunity to call their events announcement "So, New?"

  5. Ariel Cohen-Goldberg said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 12:31 pm

    YouTube Comedy channel RocketJump has made an incredible version of the "who's on first" act, updated for the digital age.

  6. EricF said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 2:09 pm

    And every time I meet someone named "Hu" or "Yu", my mind wanders off at the speed of light.

  7. DonBoy said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

    This is how got named.

  8. Ralph Hickok said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 3:07 pm

    The "No-Frills Revue" has a very funny routine based on the names of musical groups, a dialogue between a young woman and an older woman. But you'll have to go to the show, because it doesn't seem to be on line.

  9. Boudica said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

    What's Up, Doc?

  10. aka_darrell said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

    Several years ago when some bureaucrat decided that ever home should have an address some squatters in a trailer park in the Nevada desert named their streets "Goa Way", "Keepa Way", "Staya Way" etc.

    [I doubt if their names were original. Trailer park people tend to imitate a lot.]

  11. Narmitaj said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

    The mouse creature could also have stammered "The, the -" and the other one said "Not The The" before Mousey spat out "- the band". The The, of course, being a band.

  12. wtsparrow said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 5:36 pm

    In 2006 my wife and I visited Beijing. The tour started with an orientation which the guide started by asking, as if quizzing us, "Who is President of China?" Then he stated, "Hu is President of China."

  13. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

    I remember hearing a version of the Who's On First routine involving some of these specific rock-band names (at least the Who, the Guess Who, and Yes) back in high school if not earlier, so let's say 35-40 years ago. Way before Animaniacs was a thing. It is perhaps significant that the other two groups referenced here (Them and the Band) are also formed-in-the-'60's acts of approximately the same vintage as those three (the same vintage, in fact, as the admittedly more obscure rock band Pearls Before Swine). On the other hand, wikipedia tells me the cartoonist was born in '68 (so a bit younger than me) so it's not like he's some ancient Boomer you couldn't have expected to have heard of The The. So the fact that he's doing a version of a thing that was done before The The even had a record out (1983) without even mild post-1983 updating is … interesting, I guess.

  14. Gwen Katz said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 1:26 am

    J.W. is right: It was The Credibility Gap and they're trying to write a newspaper ad for a concert. Presumably, since the act is from the 70s, that must be the original version of the band-name variant.

    And here's the Animaniacs version.

  15. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 7:20 am

    Gwen Katz has correctly identified what I dimly remember. In terms of more precise timing some quick internet research shows that to have been the lead-off track on the Credibility Gap's 1977 lp The Bronze Age of Radio. Perhaps an interesting question as to how many comics page readers 40 years on are actually sufficiently familiar with all three bands alluded to for the bit to work w/o explanation?

  16. Dennis Paul Himes said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 10:31 am

    I used to have a coworker in my department named Hugh, and we all had to be careful we understood the boss correctly when he said something like, "I want to handle that task."

  17. Dennis Paul Himes said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 10:32 am

    Alright, that made no sense after the website server stripped out part of my post. Let me try again:

    I used to have a coworker in my department named Hugh, and we all had to be careful we understood the boss correctly when he said something like, “I want [Hugh, you] to handle that task.”

  18. Sean Richardson said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 11:45 am

    The funny thing about the name of the band that this comic strip starts with is that the misunderstanding possible with a name like "Guess Who" was not just a play on words, it was an intentional ploy to work that play.

    "Meanwhile, in 1965, their name now Chad Allan and the Expressions, the five lads from Winnipeg recorded a rendition of British Johnny Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over”. Quality Records felt it had potential but that once radio stations knew it was Canadian (and not British) they would not grant it airplay. Producer George Struth invoked a marketing ploy. Promotional copies of the single were mailed to radio stations across the country without the band’s name and with “Guess Who?” printed below the song’s title. It was hoped that DJs would assume they were listening to a mysterious new English band. The strategy worked and the single topped the charts and finished as the 20th biggest of the year. It won an RPM award and hit the Top 30 in both the U.S. and Australia."

  19. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 15, 2017 @ 8:15 pm

    See also the perhaps now more obscure (under this name)

  20. Graeme said,

    May 20, 2017 @ 6:33 pm

    Peterv. I see what you did there.

    Alas Clivej is not one to leave a lily ungilded.
    Baseball was well enough known to have a national league – the cricketing Wunderkind of Clive's day played in the Victorian baseball team, did his four brothers.
    According to a more Reliable Memoir, Abbott and Costello flopped in Oz because they were stale and waning. But only after a trial show in a provincial city was a hit.

  21. Graeme said,

    May 20, 2017 @ 6:38 pm

    Word fans might remember the cutting edge UK band from the 80s called The The.
    Who weren't just claiming to be not any old The. But throwing in the article avoided 'The What?' and 'What "The"?' snarls.

  22. Nicki said,

    May 21, 2017 @ 6:57 pm

    I had a real life conversation that went something like…

    Xi said (something or other)….
    Who's she?
    Xi's the president of China.
    *Shock* The president of China is a woman?!?!

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