Big Secret of the Iconic Comedy Duo: Abbott and Costello Hated Each Other

Bettina Dizon
Jun 05, 2019
01:47 P.M.
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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello will always be Hollywood’s most iconic comedy duo, but not everything about the pair is known to the public, especially their fallout that resulted in hating each other.

When trying to remember iconic duo’s from the ‘40s, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello always come to mind for their comedic spiels on the radio that probably gave listeners abs from dying of laughter. 

The power tandem reached the height of their careers with dozens of Universal films, an anticipated radio show, and a television segment. They were kings of comedy back in the day, but even royals have information unknown to the public.


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. | Source:


Before Costello became a comedic sensation, he was an amateur boxer with the alias, “Lou King,” throwing punches here and there without his family’s blessing. Standing at 5”5, Costello won 11 of 12 matches and was off to a great start.


However, his teenage dreams were crushed after he was recognized by his father in a match, and was called out by his mother to stop the morning after.

Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. | Source:



His longtime partner, Abbott, also dealt with personal problems, being a heavy drinker and diagnosed epileptic, the former being a result of the latter. He once told a friend: “

"Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, screaming.”


Although there is not much known about Abbott’s younger years, one account hints he was kidnapped to Norway but later came home to the United States where he worked as a cashier.


The pair met in their 30’s and quickly hit it off it Hollywood with their first film feature, “One Night in the Tropics.” The movie wasn’t a hit, but the duo was loved by the audiences.

Their national radio debut happened on “The Kate Smith Hour” in 1938 and were instant hits with listeners, allowing them to guest on the segment repeatedly. However, the two men had similar voices which many complained about. Thus Costello adopted a different voice. 


The frustrated boxer changed to a high pitch voice, which later gained him even more popularity and garnered him a trademark.

During the start of their career as a dua, the comedians aired “Who’s On First?” on “The Kate Smith Radio Hour” which propelled them into the peak of their careers, even being dubbed as “the greatest comedy sketch of the 20th century” by TIME magazine. The skit showed over 15,000 times in eight years.



The pair ended in fallout in 1945 after Abbott hired Costello’s recently fired housemaid. Costello demanded Abbott fire the housemaid and threatened to walk out on their formed partnership if he did otherwise. 

A scene from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. | Source:


Although going their separate ways was quite impossible, having signed a multi-movie deal with Universal, the two officially ended their career together in 1957.

After Abbott and Costello left the comedy scene, Lucille Ball reigned as the queen of comedy in the ‘50s onwards, having a hit TV show, “I Love Lucy,” with her husband, Desi Arnaz.

Recently, in commemoration of her death, Ball was given a tribute by the Hollywood Museum, honoring her career and life. Her daughter spoke and shared that her mother always had a knack for making people laugh and loved doing so.