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Laugh-In: The Comedy of Ruth Buzzi

Ruth Buzzi

Ruth Buzzi

Undoubtedly, we all have our lists of bests: best cars, best hotels, best places to live, etc. When it comes to all time best comediennes, Ruth Buzzi is certainly on my top ten list. Some of the newer comediennes of today, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Chandler and the like are funny. But, in my opinion, none of them come close to the likes of Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Vicki Lawrence, and Ruth Buzzi.

Ruth Buzzi was born at Westerly Hospital in Westerly, Rhode Island on July 24, 1936. She was raised in Connecticut. Growing up, she studied voice, dance and acting as well as cosmetology in case acting failed as an occupation. At the age of seventeen, she moved west and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse for the Performing Arts and graduated with honors. Her classmates included Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman.

She moved to New York after graduation and was immediately hired in an off-Broadway musical revue. During this time in her career, she worked with performers such as Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, and Carol Burnett. Her first national exposure came when she teamed with Dom DeLuise in a comical magical act in which he played an incompetent magician and Ruth was his sidekick named "Shakuntala." Her comedy career took off from here.

Ruth Buzzi as Mildred Weatherspoon

Ruth Buzzi as Mildred Weatherspoon

Ruth Buzzi became popular on TV shows including The Steve Allen Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Entertainers and That Girl as Marlo Thomas' friend.

However, Ruth became most popular on the new NBC show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. She was the only featured player to appear in every episode of Laugh-In including the initial pilot for the show.

Among her recurring characters on Laugh-In were Busy-Buzzi, a Hollywood gossip columnist and Doris Sidebottom, a cocktail-lounge visitor who always got drunk with husband Leonard (Dick Martin). She often played old women, drunks Southern belles and flashy hookers.

Her most famous character is the spinster Gladys Ormphby. Gladys was always dressed in brown, drab clothing with her hair in a bun covered by a visible hairnet knotted in the middle of her forehead. She would use her purse to antagonize and beat anyone who incurred her wrath. Now this is comedy! Absolutely hilarious!

On Laugh-In, Gladys was often the unwilling object of the advances of actor Arte Johnson's character Tyrone F. Horneigh, a "dirty old man."

Ruth Buzzi as Gladys Ormphby

Ruth Buzzi as Gladys Ormphby

Ruth (Gladys Ormphby) and Arte Johnson (Tyrone F. Horneigh)

Ruth (Gladys Ormphby) and Arte Johnson (Tyrone F. Horneigh)

For me, Ruth Buzzi, as Gladys, was at her funniest when she was featured on the Dean Martin Roasts that were held at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. Dean Martin said that she was the funniest woman he ever worked with.

It was really funny to see Gladys going after Dean Martin especially, but the other guests as well, to the pleasure of the viewing audiences. To this very day, I still roar with laughter when I see the exchanges between Ruth and Dean Martin, who was quite funny himself and sometimes inebriated during his "Roasts."

Ruth Buzzi on The Muppet Show

Ruth Buzzi on The Muppet Show

After Laugh-In and the Dean Martin Roasts, Ruth starred in a myriad of TV shows including Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Saved by the Bell. She also had featured roles in more than twenty movies including Freaky Friday and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again as well as a number of westerns for the European market known as the Lucky Luke series.

Ruth Buzzi has earned numerous awards during her career including the coveted Golden Globe Award for her work on Laugh-In. Currently, she lives on a ranch in Forth Worth, Texas with her husband. Among her hobbies is oil painting and automobile collecting with her husband. She supports numerous children's charities and is an active fundraiser for animal causes.

Many of the comediennes of today are funny. But none come close to the clean, hilarious humor of the legendary Ruth Buzzi!

Ruth Buzzi - Your Thoughts?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Dexter Yarbrough

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Le Roy W Keller on August 29, 2020:

Many thanks for the great times watching you.

andy elliot on January 25, 2019:

No-one comes close to Ruths' impression of Katherine Kulman.

Bill on September 08, 2018:

Ruth Buzzi is the epitome of the perfect comedienne. Her every expression, delivery of her lines ... she is absolutely perfect. Watch her performance of The Haha Song from Laugh-in and just try to keep a straight face. I was still a pre-teen when Laugh-in premiered, but I was glued to the TV set whenever it was on. Some of it I understood, some of it I didn't. But Ms. Buzzi could always get me to laugh. She transcended all barriers, generation gaps etc. because she is and was loveable and funny. There is no one around today that has this blessed lady's talent and I am glad she is still being recognized for all the laughter she brought into this world when we needed it most. :-)

Sherry Shaw on August 29, 2018:

A very unique comedian. I was around 13 when I watched her on Laugh In. She’s the only character that stayed with me all these years

Tom Garrett on August 28, 2018:

I remember her first appearance on the Tonight Show as Dom's assistant. I fell in love with her immediately. Her name in the TV Guide would always guarantee my watching the show. Her work on Laugh-In was brilliant. What a gifted performer.

Torrey on August 28, 2018:

I liked the part you played as a drunk in the bar. Todays skit you said when you retired, you wanted to sit and drink all day! Funny stuff..

joe goyer on August 28, 2018:

I have loved ruth's work from the beginning, I so glad I can talk to her on facebook. I'm so glad see is doing well, and sher is enjoying her life. It is also nice she can love the fact, of her huge fan following and how much she is loved.

Randy Fowler on August 28, 2018:

I have been a fan of Ruth since I was about 7 years old and Laugh In was on TV. She was so high spirited and off the wall, with the purse-wacking and the crazy characters she played on the Don Knotts / Tim Conway movies. She is a favorite of my family and I am hoping to hire her for a meet-and-greet when I open my company in the new facility.

SCampy on August 28, 2018:


John W. on August 28, 2018:

Very, very talented lady indeed. Thanks for the magic, Ruthie.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on July 25, 2012:

Hi KDuBarry! She is one of a kind! Thanks!

KDuBarry03 on July 25, 2012:

LOL! This woman is absolutely fantastic and hilarious!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on July 24, 2012:

Same here! Thanks so much, Sunshine!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on July 24, 2012:

Happy 76th Birthday to Ruth! I just heard it was her birthday and rushed right over her to give her my greetings. I hope she had a wonderful day!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 28, 2012:

Hi Bobbi! I am in total agreement with you. Ruth Buzzi is a highly talented comedienne who has brought joy to many! Thank you so very much!

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on May 28, 2012:

Hi Dexter

Often I came home so tired I barely made it through my shower---put her dvd on---and watch it from my bed. She made me laugh so much until I felt much better.

Laughter is good for the body and soul.

I pray that she is living the good life for all the happiness she gave to others.

Your Hub Friend,


Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 28, 2012:

Hi Billybuc! I am so happy you enjoyed the hub. Ruth was and is simply fascinating!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2012:

Great hub my friend! I laughed for years at her comic abilities. She had perfect comedic timing in my opinion. Thanks for the heads up where she is today. I was wondering if she was still alive and you answered the question for me. Loved this hub!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 19, 2012:

Hi Golfgal! I would have loved to see that skit! Thanks! Ruth Buzzi is a fun lady!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 19, 2012:

Hi RealHousewife! Yes, the great comedians of that time! Gilda, Goldie, Flip and more! Those were the fun days of comedy. Thanks so much!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 19, 2012:

Hi Lady Guinevere! Thank you. Yes, Ruth Buzzi is a great comedienne!

Golfgal from McKinney, Texas on May 19, 2012:

Hilarious!!!!! In junior high school, my friends and I did a skit about Laugh-In. I dressed up Ruth Buzzy and did the park bench scene. What a hoot. Thanks for the memory.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 19, 2012:

Dexter - I did watch Laugh In live:) lol. It's our secret, k? I love Ruth! So many funny people back then - He Haw...Minnie Pearl - Goldie Hawn. My personal favorite was Gilda Radner on the old SNL's.

Or what about Flip Wilson??!! I haven't thought about him in a long time but when I was little I adored him!

Really excellent and fun hub:)

Debra Allen from West Virginia on May 19, 2012:

I loved her. She was very talented. Thanks for the memories here in your hub.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 18, 2012:

Hi Ruchira! Thank YOU! And you are right. Laughter is universal!

Ruchira from United States on May 18, 2012:

I am not aware of this comedian 'cause was not around that time. But laughter is universal and does not have a timeline so, enjoyed these clippings.

thanks, dexter!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 10, 2012:

Hi b. Malin! I am so glad you enjoyed it! I really loved comedy from this era! Thanks!

b. Malin on May 09, 2012:

Great Fun Hub Dexter...brought back Memories of a truly great and gifted Comedian... Loved all the videos that your chose...Thanks for the Laughs and the Bio.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 09, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed it!

Rodric Johnson from Phoenix, AZ on May 08, 2012:

Love humor!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 03, 2012:

Thanks Chris! I certainly agree!

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on May 03, 2012:

Fun hub and I agree.......the hollywood crowd was much classier in those days too!


Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 03, 2012:

Hi Cherrycrime! Yeah, she was a very popular comedian back in the late 60s and during the 70s. Very funny lady! Thanks!

January Moon from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga on May 03, 2012:

I have no clue who this person is, maybe a little before my time, but reading your hub educated me on her, good Hub, voted up.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 02, 2012:

Hi Dardia! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I miss this humor as well. Thanks for the votes!

Darlene Yager from Michigan on May 02, 2012:

Love this! Ruth Buzzi was always one of my favorites. Of course watching the roasts you shared here reminded me of all of those hilarious comedians of that time. I miss that humor.

Great hub! voting up!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 02, 2012:

Hi JamaGenee! I know! Their unscripted talent routines were something else. Ruth certainly is a National Treasure. Thank you so much for the votes and kind comments!

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 02, 2012:

Dexter, I didn't have to watch the video of Ruth and Dean to bust out laughing! I remember their chemistry. Even when they weren't saying a word, their facial expressions were hilarious. Ruth eyeballing DM like a buzzard looking at its next meal, Dean not knowing exactly what would come next, only that it would be laugh-till-it-hurts funny!

Laugh-in was one of my favorite shows, and Ruth Buzzi was/is a National Treasure. Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane! Voted up, funny and awesome! ;D

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 01, 2012:

Hi Writer20! There was some great comedy then. Ruth was amazing. Thank you so much!

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on May 01, 2012:

I was in this country when Laugh-in was T.V. we have one of Dean Martin's roasts and watch it when we both need a good laugh, Ruth is in this DVD.

Enjoyed reading. Vote up and awesome.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on May 01, 2012:

Hi Mckbirdbks! Thanks for your kind remarks. I am happy this hub brings laughter to those of us that love humor!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 01, 2012:

Dexter, Dexter, Dexter, what a great piece of comedy you have presented. Thanks for this laughter, truly a bright spot.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Thanks, Sueswan! Yes, she was extremely enjoyable to watch. I am glad you enjoyed the hub!

Sueswan on April 30, 2012:

Hi Dexter!

I remember watching Ruth on Laugh In and on the Dean Martin Roasts. She was very funny and I agree that there are no comediennes today like her.

Thanks for the laughs and bringing back fond memories.

Voted up up and away!

Take care :)

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Beth! I guess I am telling my age! Your dad!? I use to watch this in the 70's as a kid! Thanks!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Will! Those were the days!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on April 30, 2012:

Dexter, great article! I never knew much about Ruth Buzzi, except my Dad loved her on Laugh-In. Thanks for posting and voted up!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on April 30, 2012:

And I watched all this stuff live! Funny Hub.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Pop! Thanks! Yes, she is still very active. Great humor from those good days!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Girishpuri! Thank you so much! And I will.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Anglnwu! Please, check out some of the videos I have included or on YouTube. Ruth Buzzi is phenomenal as a comedy actress. Thank you for checking out my hub!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Dr. BJ! You are more than welcome and thank You! I really enjoyed Ruth Buzzi. Simply one of the greats at humor!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi AE! Thank you so much for your nice comments! Ruth seems to be doing very well. She is one of the best at humor! And I agree, those Roasts were great!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Cardisa! Check out some of the videos in the hub or on YouTube. You will find some great entertainment from the 70's. And yes, Barbra is moving along in age! Thanks!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Fpher! There were some great comedians from the 60's and 70's. I miss that kind of humor. People seem to be so sensitive these days.

Thanks for the great comments!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Bobbi! Thank you for visiting. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Hi Sheila b.! Yes, Ruth is enjoying life with her husband and donating her talents to children and animal rights causes! Thanks!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 30, 2012:

Thanks Gail641! Ruth and all those others you mentioned were great!

breakfastpop on April 30, 2012:

Ruth Buzzy was hilarious and memorable! Frankly, I am happy to hear she is still around...

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on April 30, 2012:

It's really good to know more about Ruth Buzzi, great hob, keep writing

anglnwu on April 29, 2012:

I wasn't born after 1990, but still I'm not familiar with her. Guess that's because I wasnt' born here. I'm familiar with Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Chandler but if you say she's way funnier, then it must be true. I need to watch some episodes of laugh-ins 'cos I do enjoy a good laugh. Thanks for sharing and raising my awareness.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on April 29, 2012:

Well, Dex, the secret is out. I remember Ruth Buzzi from watching the TV show, 'Laugh-In,' and she was always one of the funniest comics on the show. She was usually dressed as a drab, homely woman who was always beating up some poor soul, like Arte Johnson, the 'old' man. She had an incredible sense of comic timing that elevated her above the rest.

Good to know she is still around and active in her charitable work. Thanks for bringing us those delightfully funny Roasts - Ruth and Dean were always hysterical together. Great hub, voted Up, y'know!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 29, 2012:

Oh, I loved this. Those were the good old day's. I loved her on 'Laugh in' She made the roasts hilarious. I have all the roasts and still watch them occasionally. It is interestimg that you added information about her life now. Good to know that she is giving to children's charities and animal protection. Thank you so much.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on April 29, 2012:

Dexter thank for introducing Ruth Buzzi. I have never seen her before, she is really something! I love Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. BTW, I had no idea that Barbara Streisand was that old.

Suzie from Carson City on April 29, 2012:

Dex.....Ruth and "Laugh-In" really bring back some times of hysterical comedy.....Of all the older shows that still air re-runs, I would love to see this show again, as well as the Carol Burnetts Show with Harvey Korman & Tim Conway! I still have the vision of Carol Burnett coming down the staircase as Scarlett O'Hara, in the famous gown made from draperies, with the rod still in them, across her shoulders!!! LMAO!!

Just recalling some of those skits can still make me laugh. Gladys was my favorite.

Great tribute to a very funny & talented lady. Ruth Buzzi is one of the best! UP!!

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on April 28, 2012:


Thank you for the laughter and for writing about Ruth, she was a funny lady, especially on Dean Martin's Show.

I enjoyed it so much I voted up, funny and awesome.


Your Hub Friend,


sheila b. on April 28, 2012:

I'm with you, I always enjoyed her. As I was reading, I began to wonder what she's doing now, and wasn't I happy you included that information!

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on April 28, 2012:

I remember watching "Laugh-in" years ago. Ruth Buzzi was one of the greatest. I always loved the one where she wore the black hairnet and sat on the bench, and then the old man came and tried to sit next to her. It was very funny! I remember Lily Tomlin and Judy Carne, too. Ruth Buzzi is one of the greatest women in comedy, along with Carol Burnette, Vicki Lawrence, Lily Tomlin, Judy Carne, and the other women of the era who made comedy great. Nice hub.

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 28, 2012:

Hi Sunshine! Thank you! It was my pleasure!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 28, 2012:

What a fun blast from the past! I haven't heard Ruth Buzzi's name or watched her in action on a long time!! I remember her on That Girl. Thanks for the entertaining hub Dex!!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 28, 2012:

Thanks, Audra! Gladys was something else!

Dexter Yarbrough (author) from United States on April 28, 2012:

Hi Jackie! She is a beautiful woman! Her humor is simply sensational! Thanks!

iamaudraleigh on April 28, 2012:

I love this hub!! I remember Gladys and own Some of those Dean Martin Roasters!!! Both made me lmao!!! Thanks for the fond memories!!!!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 28, 2012:

Wow she was really a pretty woman, I didn't know. I always mixed her up with the one who did "one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy. I do remember her with the hair net. Hilarious videos!

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