The Abbott and Costello Show

Common Sense Media says

Slapstick comedy geniuses won't appeal to everyone.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

It's neither educational nor meant to be taken seriously. But if you're interested in studying comedy, it's a great place to start.

Positive messages

Occasional sexist comments about women and other generalizations that were considered acceptable at the time.

Positive role models

Costello gets into more mishaps than Abbott, but Abbott often instigates them. Supporting cast members sometimes play caricatures of stereotypical figures.

Violence & scariness

Gags incorporate lots of physical slapstick, ranging from grabbing, shoving, and punching to throwing ice cream into people's faces. These events are designed to be more humorous than violent.

Sexy stuff

Contains some mild flirting, references to necking, and the occasional kiss. But these moments are more awkward than sexy.

Language

Words like "jerk" and "dope" are common.

Consumerism

Drinks like Coca-Cola are featured.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters sometimes smoke cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Abbott and Costello Show is a classic comedy series full of running jokes, slapstick humor, and mild insults, all offered within a humorous and lighthearted context. There's lots of physical comedy, too, including obviously fake slapping and punching, and lots of throwing of food and other items. Characters sometimes smoke cigars, flirt, and occasionally kiss awkwardly. Not every kid will find the humor in this classic, and some might want to copy the more physical aspects of the routines.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW (1952-1954) is a comedy series featuring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, two comedians portraying unemployed actors sharing a Hollywood rooming house. But life is never dull, especially when Abbott puts the rather dim Costello up to a variety of schemes. Things also get crazy when they try to avoid their bad-tempered landlord (Sidney Fields), and when Costello tries to flirt with their attractive neighbor (Hillary Brooke). Folks like blockhead Mike the Cop (Gordon Jones), Stinky (Joe Besser), and Mr. Bacciagulupe (Joe Kirk) also join the fray.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Abbott & Costello Show, which is praised by critics as being one of the greatest TV shows of all time, features the duo engaging in burlesque-style sketches that incorporate a series of running gags without much plot. There's lots of physical comedy, too. The result are routines like the baseball-themed sketch, "Whose on First?," and other famous exchanges that remain popular today.

Thanks to the pair's mastery of the running joke, physical slapstick, and comedic timing, The Abbott & Costello Show continues to serve as inspiration for modern-day comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld. Younger kids may like some of the physical stunts, but not understand or appreciate the genius behind the banter. Others may just find their antics silly or boring. It may be harder to appreciate the show according to today's standards, but it's a true study of comedy as an art form.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about comedy. What makes something funny? What are some of the comedic devices performers use to get people to laugh? What is physical comedy? Slapstick?

  • Are there comedic styles or devices that were considered funny decades ago that simply don't work today? Should stereotypes ever be used to generate laughs, even if audiences find them humorous?

  • What are some of the most popular comedy TV shows airing today? How do they compare with popular comedy series from 50 or 60 years ago?

TV details

Cast:Bud Abbott, Lou Costello
Network:Hulu
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Abbott and Costello Show was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide