And would you eat it if they did?
I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if a club asked a performer to push a certain dish. Maybe they have a lot of veal on hand and need to get rid of it. Or he enjoyed his dish and recommends it. And it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a guy reminding us to tip the waitress, a lot of comics start off with very modest incomes and had some comraderie with waitresses.
Every time I go to the local comedy club someone always says to take care of the wait staff. It’s not just a cliche, they want you to tip the waiters.
I always thought the specific reference to veal came from Shrek.
I thought the line about veal is a bit of dark humor that alludes to this dialogue from The Godfather:
Capt. McCluskey: How’s the Italian food in this restaurant?
Sollozzo: Good. Try the veal, it’s the best in the city.
Capt. McCluskey: I’ll have it.
(Whether the veal was to McCluskey’s liking we never find out).
It was so good it blew his mind.
No, it was already a cliche line before that. Though Shrek probably went along way towards cementing it as the “official version”. Before Shrek I don’t think it would have been any less likely for the reference to be, say, “Try the salmon.”
Borscht Belt above is likely the right idea. It’s a throwback to playing the Catskills or the Poconos, when a proper dinner absolutely could have been available to a stand-up’s audience. The manager surely could have told the emcee or main star to try to get in a plug for the veal if it was what he was trying to move out of the kitchen. Also worth noting that there is (I’m fairly certain) kosher veal.
Did any stand-up say this in the 1920s? There are of course no verbatim transcripts of those routines. They certainly said this sort of thing, though, regularly.
As mentioned above, a variation of “tip your waitstaff, they work hard.” is still relatively common, even today.
No idea of the origin, but Borscht Belt entertainment sounds most likely. It has the sound of an emcee’s conclusion because the comics sometimes doubled in that role. These weren’t comedy clubs, they were more of a latter day vaudeville with singing, dancing, and variety acts. Billy Crystal has done bits in homage to those comedians, it’s possible he brought back the catch phrase in his act.
Your guess is better than mine. I was just spit balling from my phone last night.
I completely agree.
I suppose there MUST be comedy clubs where you can order dinner, but I’ve never been to one. All of the comedy clubs I’ve been to just served drinks and a few salty/crunchy munchies.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110759/quotes?item=qt0398017 The veal part is *at least *20 years old, and doubtful to be connected in any way to The Godfather scene references upthread.
Rand: Hey, poor boy! Go and have all your parties with all your new friends! I can see it now, Andrews. You and all the knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberals, sipping tea and playing patty-cake. And those useless hippie pot-heads, those commie-pinko leftists. The bunny huggers, the pillow biters…
Droz: Whoa! Whoa! Which ones are the pillow biters again?
Rand: The BUTT-PIRATES! And those beastly man-haters, tell those chicks to shave their pits then call me! And those goddamn whiny crybaby minorities, you can keep them all!
[Rand realizes that Droz had a microphone close by and that the sign lady has been signing everything he said]
Droz: [to the students] Rand McPherson, everybody. And don’t forget the 9:30 show is completely different than the 7:30 show. Enjoy the veal!
I’ve been to a couple. One was just typical bar food but the other one was more upscale and the food was really good.
I’d gues this phrase is just one of those things thats just been around forever like “Don’t eat the yellow snow.”
Some of these wise folks may have some insight.
I don’t know if you realize it, but 5 posts into the thread you linked to, they pointed out that they same question was asked less than a month before that one.
It MAY go back to the old Borscht Belt/Catskills resorts. A lot of old time comedians got their start working at Jewish-oriented resorts in upstate New York, and there were often comedians, singers and musicians performing while people dined.
Looks like those threads are from 2006? I agree, use the search engine… but there’s such a thing as being a little TOO Simpsons Did It!
I still think that has to be true. I can’t imagine a comedian these days - or even in the last few decades - being asked to promote a menu item. Or doing it if they were asked. But if you go back decades to a time when a comic might work at a hotel for weeks or an entire season, it makes more sense. The venue would be catering to a different type of customer (couples or families on vacation instead of people looking for one night’s entertainment) and the entertainer would have a different kind of relationship with the venue and the owner. And for that matter a comic who was closer in time to vaudeville might be less likely to object to promoting the veal or the steak on artistic grounds.
How old are you? There was a time when any establishment that served liquor also had to offer a menu of actual meals (i.e., not just snacks), and food sales had to be a certain percentage of their total sales. It was comedy clubs in the 1980s and '90s that lobbied to get those laws relaxed, because people coming to a comedy show weren’t typically there to eat, and the places were running afoul of the percentage requirements.
I’ve never been asked to push a certain dish and have never heard of it. That part is a joke. Even at clubs with menu fare, by the time the middle act is up, it’s probably a bit late to order dinner and, anyway, the comedian doesn’t want you eating.
Asking the audience to tip their servers is not a joke, it’s meant in sincerity. It’s largely because we want the servers to be on our side.
“Waiter, this meat tastes funny.”
“The chef will be happy to hear that. He’s been working on his routine all week.”
“I mean it’s rotten! What are you going to do about it?”
“I’m sorry, sir. I’m afraid even the best delivery won’t help when the material stinks.”