Pigmeat Markham

Singer, dancer, comedian, and actor Dewey Markham – born on April 18, 1904, in Durham, South Carolina – was better known by his stage name Pigmeat Markham. He began his career performing in traveling music and burlesque shows in the 1920s, briefly performing alongside Bessie Smith in her Traveling Revue. Claiming to be the originator of the famous Truckin’ dance of the 1930s, he began the long transformation into acting in the 1940s by appearing in films. By the 1950s, he was known more for his comedy routines, which became very popular although he did skirt controversy by appearing in blackface, which was already considered degrading to the African American community. He appeared on the Apollo Theater stage in New York more than any other artist, eventually making many appearances on television shows including The Ed Sullivan Show. He developed his “Here Comes the Judge” routine, which is what he is best known for many decades later. He recorded this routine for his debut album, The Trial, which was released in 1961. Several other albums followed including At the Party (1961), Anything Goes with Pigmeat (1962), The World’s Greatest Clown (1963), and many others. When Sammy Davis, Jr. uttered the phrase “Here Comes the Judge” on an episode of the television series Laugh-In in 1968, it became a national sensation, eventually leading to Pigmeat Markham becoming a Laugh-In regular on the 1968-1969 season. Pigmeat Markham died on December 13, 1981.

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