|"I believe Julian Eltinge left a wig in the closet many years ago"|
My previous, scant, familiarity with the name consisted in his role as an obscure reference in a comedy routine, and the information that he was a female impersonator from the vaudeville era.
Lenny Bruce was a brilliant and irreverant Jewish comedian who upset the authorities in the fifties and sixties with his seminal use of dirty words on stage, for which he became a political issue. Eventually his stage act turned more toward social commentary, his private life turned more toward heroin, and he died. Then he was resurrected when they made a movie about him. He may have been funnier in his earlier days.
Bruce had a routine called something like "The Comic at the Palladium." It tells the story of a bad American comedian who talks his agent into booking him at the London Palladium. He starts his act at the Palladium with typical American-Vegas-style humor, and he bombs. The audience doesn't understand a word he's saying. They hate him. Desperate, the American turns vicious. He starts attacking the crowd. "I'll tell you one," he says, "Up the Irish!"
"Yea, that's right, up the Irish!" shouts a voice from the audience. "That's the funniest thing you've said all night."
"Up the Irish!" shouts the comedian again, emboldened. "Yea, I heard about the rotten deal they gave you!" and on and on, and he manages to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Fist fights break out. The place turns into a riot. The comic is yanked offstage by the Palladium booking agent.
Bruce adopts the debonair voice of an English actor as the booker lectures the comedian. The lecture ends "Face it son, you're just not funny. But there's a difference between not being funny and rearranging the architecture.
"Now, you're young. You might still have time to consider another line of work. And don't worry, we'll get you safely out of town somehow. I believe Julian Eltinge left a wig in the closet many years ago."
The Internet Movie Database