Make 'Em Laugh

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"Make 'Em Laugh" is a song first featured in the 1952 film Singin' in the Rain, frenetically performed by Donald O'Connor. Written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, the song is closely based on Cole Porter's "Be a Clown".[1] It finished at #49 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

O'Connor's song-and-dance routine in Singin' in the Rain is noted for its extreme physical difficulty, featuring dozens of jumps, pratfalls, and two backflips. Hollywood legend states that O'Connor, though only 27 years old at the time and a chain-smoker, was bedridden for several days after filming the sequence. This high degree of difficulty has made the original routine a tour de force in physical comedy.

Notable performances[edit]

"Make 'Em Laugh" was later performed by Tim Curry, Kathy Najimy, and Mara Wilson at the 67th Annual Academy Awards in 1995.

A parody of this song was featured on an episode of the TV series Family Guy titled "Peterotica". It was sung by Glenn Quagmire while visiting a sex shop with Peter, Cleveland, and Joe.

The song title was used for a six-hour documentary, Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, which aired on PBS in January 2009.[2]

The song was performed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Saturday Night Live on November 21, 2009.

It was also performed by Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) on the Glee episode "The Substitute" on November 16, 2010.[3]

It also had a new original rendition in the 2015 movie Minions, in Minionese.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adams, Cecil. "Aren't the show tunes "Be a Clown" and "Make 'Em Laugh" suspiciously similar?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  2. ^ "Make 'Em Laugh". PBS. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  3. ^ "Glee - "The Substitute"". Cultural Learnings. 2010-11-16.

External links[edit]