FIFTY YEARS AGO, it was unlikely that anyone would have dreamed that Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine would survive the turn of the century. By using generic pronouns such as "who," "what," and other commonly used phrases such as, "I don't know," this comedic routine became a template for debates other than those pertaining to a fictional baseball team. The players are generic enough that the story can easily apply to other settings; the thematic overtones are also universal. For example, a seemingly simple question becomes more complex when one considers more dimensions of the issue. Moreover, once Mr Costello finally understands who is playing on the team, a new player is introduced and one can imagine the debate would likely begin once again.
Higginbotham EJ. "Who's on First?": Considering the Options for Primary Glaucoma Therapy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2002;120(2):191–193. doi:10.1001/archopht.120.2.191
Monkeypox Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.