• 5th Wall Press

Howard Hughes Stand Up

Michael K. White



(AP) Billionaire recluse Howard Hughes, famous for not wanting to interact with the public, had ambitions toward being a standup comic. New footage of the elusive mogul has surfaced of what appears to be a standup comedy act the aviation pioneer/movie producer/casino owner was developing in the 1960s.

Hughes was dressed in his trademark pleated trousers, white shirt and fedora hat and, while known for his laconic manner and staccato way of speaking, nevertheless struggles throughout the seven minute film, trying to crack jokes and make merry to a largely unresponsive cocktail audience at New York's Tropicana Nightclub.

Little is known about this episode in the mysterious billionaire's life. None of his biographies mention it at all. The film, currently under the protection of Hughes Tool Company will not be released to public consumption any time soon, but a showing was arranged for press and transcripts of the performance were handed out.


My name is Howard Hughes and I am from Houston Texas. (Pause) How about the wing spans on them Corsairs. Have you ever seen anything like it? Fourteen intake ports and seven pads. Hell the Tomcats have used semi finish face and bore the 14 intake ports, semi finish bore on seven mounting pads, finish bore three holes in the oil sump pad and then drill four holes each in the two breather pads. (Pause)

Thank you. Thank you very much. (Pause)

Have you ever been flying an experimental jet when the altitude pitch and yaw stabilizer controls lock up on you? Man I'll tell you, your buttocks sure do clinch when the chromatic destabilizer spins backward and the brass thrusting nuts spray oil on the windshield and the air pressure pops out your eyeballs from their sockets.. Am I right? (Pause)

Thank you. (Pause)

This one time, I was working on the intake blower in a Cessna L07 when I broke a jeg bolt on the fuselage flange. That was just my luck too because Douglas aircraft had stopped making 4/16ths replacement jegs. They had the hexagonal jegs but not the octagonal ones. Plus they were brass, not aluminum. So I bought them out and had them work around the clock to get me them jegs. Later on I sold Douglas to some Arab Prince and poured the profits into my dog food factories. Anyhow that Cessna crashed later on.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Say, anyone ever hear of Jane Russell? (Wolf whistles and cat calls from the audience. HUGHES holds a handkerchief up to his face)

That's right. Well Jane was in this movie of mine called "The Outlaw." (Applause)

Well, on that movie we used a Panaflex 70 mm camera with extreme wide angle lenses and Technicolor diamond glaze film from Fuji to make certain things appear closer than they actually were. But Dusty our DP tried to light them like we were using regular 35 mm Kodak deluxe color stock! And he used sodium arc light instead of halogen which gave everyone five o'clock shadow. (Pause)

Man I'll tell you. (Pause)

Now, Miss Jane Russell presented quite a challenge. It all came down to hooks. And rings. We used tungsten alloy hooks and hand blown ceramic coated rings forged by Nazi POWs. Man, I tell you. When it comes to brassiere attachment technology, the Germans really know it all. (Pause)

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Don't you hate it when your chicken noodle soup gets full of germs? Me too. (Pause)

Thank you.

Don't ever buy a casino. Sure the money's good, but the germs are everywhere. Just last night I had a dream that my jars of urine were full of snakes. (Pause) I took apart one of the toilets in the casino and do you know what I found? Germs.

(At this point Hughes stalks off to scattered and confused applause.)