Who's on First?
Editor’s note

Who’s on First is a famous skit about a baseball team populated by pronouns and adverbs, performed by the early 20th century comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Abbot and Costello performed this skit many times, with slight variations. Below is an audio recording and transcript of one of these versions.

Audio recording

Audio recording of Who’s on First  •  MP3 file  •  5:05  •  4.9M.

Transcript

A: Now look there, what do you want?

C: Now look, after all, if I’m the head of the Sports Department, I gotta know the baseball players’ names.

A: Well, I’ll introduce you to the boys. We have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third—

C: That’s what I want to find out.

A: I say, Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third—

C: Are you the fella that knows all the players?

A: Why certainly.

C: Well then who’s on first?

A: Yes.

C: I mean the fella’s name.

A: Who.

C: The guy on first.

A: Who.

C: The first baseman.

A: Who!

C: The guy playing first!

A: Who’s on first!

C: Now what’re ya asking me for?

A: I’m not asking you, I’m telling you, Who’s on first.

C: I’m asking you, who’s on first?

A: That’s the man’s name.

C: That’s whose name?

A: Yes.

C: Well, go ahead and tell me.

A: Who.

C: The guy on first.

A: Who!

C: The first baseman!

A: Who’s on first!

C: Have you got a contract with the first baseman?

A: Absolutely.

C: Who signed the contract?

A: Why, naturally. It’s no good unless he signs it.

C: It’s no good unless who signs it?

A: No.

C: So who signs it?

A: Absolutely.

C: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

A: Every dollar of it! And why not, the man’s entitled to it.

C: Who is?

A: Yes.

C: No, who gets it?

A: Absolutely. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

C: Whose wife?

A: Yes.

C: All I’m trying to find out is, what’s the guy’s name on first base?

A: Oh no, wait a minute, don’t switch ’em, don’t switch ’em around. What is on second base.

C: I’m not asking you, who’s on second—

A: Who’s on first!

C: I don’t know.

A: He’s on third, now we’re not talking—we’ve gotta get this thing straight.

C: Now how’d I get on third base?

A: You mentioned his name.

C: If I mentioned the third baseman’s name, who did I say’s playing third?

A: No, Who’s playing first.

C: Never mind first, what’s the guy’s name on third?

A: No, What’s on second.

C: I’m not asking you who’s on second!

A: Who’s on first!

C: I don’t know.

A: He’s on third.

C: There I go!

A: Well, I can’t change their names.

C: Will you please stay on third base and don’t go off it?

A: What is it you want?

C: Now who’s playing third base?

A: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

C: Now who am I putting over there?

A: Yes, but we don’t want him there.

C: What’s the guy’s name belongs on third?

A: No, What belongs on second.

C: I’m not asking you who’s on second!

A: Who’s on first!

C: I don’t know!

Together: Third base.

C: You got an outfield?

A: Oh yes, yes.

C: The left fielder’s name?

A: Why.

C: I don’t know, I just thought I’d ask you.

A: Well, I just thought I’d tell you.

C: All right, then tell me who’s playing left field?

A: Who’s playing first!

C: Stay outta the infield! I wanna know what’s the left fielder’s name!

A: What’s on second!

C: I’m not asking you who’s on second!

A: Who’s on first!

C: I don’t know.

Together: Third base.

C: And the left fielder’s name?

A: Why.

C: Because.

A: Oh, he’s center field.

C: Shee.

A: You know the players as well as I do.

C: Look, you got a pitcher on the team?

A: Now wouldn’t this be a fine team without a pitcher!

C: The pitcher’s name.

A: Tomorrow.

C: You don’t want to tell me today.

A: I’m telling you, man!

C: Then go ahead.

A: Tomorrow.

C: What time?

A: What time what?

C: What time tomorrow you gonna tell me who’s pitching?

A: Now listen, Who’s not pitching, Who is—

C: I’ll break your arm if you say who’s on first!

A: Go ahead, have it your own way.

C: I want to know, what’s the pitcher’s name?

A: What’s on second!

C: I don’t know.

Together: Third base!

C: You got a catcher?

A: Why, absolutely.

C: The catcher’s name.

A: Today.

C: Today. And Tomorrow’s pitching.

A: Now you’ve got it.

C: All we’ve got is a couple of days on the team.

A: Well, I can’t help that.

C: You know, I’m a catcher, too.

A: I know that.

C: I’ll get behind the plate and do some fancy catching. Tomorrow’s pitching on my team, and the heavy hitter gets up.

A: Yes.

C: Tomorrow throws the ball to the guy, he bunts the ball. When the guy bunts the ball, me being a good catcher, I’m going to throw the guy out at first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

A: Now that’s the first thing you’ve said right.

C: I don’t even know what I’m talking about!

A: Well, that’s all you have to do!

C: Is to throw the ball to first base?

A: Yes!

C: Now who’s got it?

A: Naturally!

C: If I throw the ball to first base, somebody’s got to catch it, now who caught it?

A: Naturally!

C: Who caught it?

A: Naturally.

C: Who?

A: Naturally.

C: Naturally.

A: Yes.

C: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

A: No, no, no! You throw the ball to first base, then Who gets it!

C: Naturally.

A: That’s right. Now we’re talking.

C: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

A: You don’t!

C: I throw it to who?

A: Naturally!

C: That’s what I’m saying!

A: You’re not saying it that way.

C: I say I throw the ball to Naturally!

A: You don’t! You throw the ball to Who!

C: Naturally!

A: Well, say that!

C: That’s what I’m saying!

A: You’re not saying that.

C: I throw the ball to who?

A: Naturally.

C: Ask me.

A: You throw the ball to Who.

C: Naturally.

A: That’s it.

C: Same as you! I throw the ball to first base, then who gets it?

A: Naturally.

C: Who has it?

A: Naturally.

C: He better have it!

A: All right. Now that settles it.

C: Now I throw the ball to Naturally, whoever it is drops the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What, What throws to I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know throws it back to Tomorrow, triple play.

A: Yes.

C: Another guy gets up, it’s a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don’t know, he’s on third, and I don’t give a darn!

A: What was that?

C: I said, I don’t give a darn!

A: Oh, that’s our shortstop.