Bringing “Who’s on first?” to life with typography

I love the sound of words and I love looking at words. So, I tend to think that kinetic typography is a wonderful thing.

Of course, it must be done well, otherwise it can just get in the way of enjoying the text. But here’s an excellent example of kinetic typography done well – it’s Jimmy Zito’s interpretation of the legendary Abbott & Costello routine “Who’s on first?”

Abbott & Costello were a hugely popular American comedy double act in the 1940s and 50s, appearing in films, TV, on radio and the stage. “Who’s on first?” is a routine full of quick-fire verbal patter or wordplay developed while they performed in vaudeville in the late 1930s. Here’s one version.

The comedy springs from the increasing confusion and exasperation felt by Costello as he tries to understand the names of baseball players as outlined by Abbott and their positions on the team. It’s so simple, and so brilliant.

I think Jimmy Zito’s film manages to enhance the fast-paced back-and-forth of the two comedians. It makes you really focus on the words. And that surely is a good thing. Check it out:

Who’s on First Typography from jimmy zito on Vimeo.

 

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