Pigmeat Markham’s mainstream moment

“[‘Laugh-In’ guest] Sammy Davis Jr., decked out in an oversized judicial wig and robe, introduced a courtroom sketch by strutting across the stage on his Cuban heels, waving his arms and chanting, ‘Here come de judge! Here come de judge! Here come de judge!’ — a line popularized by [Durham-born] black comedian Dewey ‘Pigmeat’ Markham….

” ‘Here come de judge!’ not only achieved a nationwide circulation exceeding Markham’s wildest dreams, but also earned a niche in the glossary of show-biz phraseology….

“Markham had spent decades on the vaudeville ‘Chitlin Circuit’ along with such greats as Moms Mabley and Mantan Moreland, occasionally heading downtown to perform before an integrated audience at Minsky’s Burlesque…. Only in the 1960s did he start showing up with any frequency on ‘mainstream’ television, and only during a one-year ‘Laugh-In’ gig did he ever appear as a TV-series regular.”

— From “From Beautiful Downtown Burbank: A Critical History of  ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,’ 1968-1973″ by Hal Erickson (2000)

A second “Laugh-In” catchphrase, “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls,” also originated with Markham. He died in 1981 at age 77.

2 thoughts on “Pigmeat Markham’s mainstream moment”

  1. Pigmeat Markham sounds like the name of a Wodehouse character. Or perhaps I’m just thinking of Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright.

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