History of recordings
Joe Hayman first recorded the monologue in London in July 1913 for Regal Records and was issued in the U.S. by Columbia Records. Hayman's version of the song reached over 2 million sales in the United States. The success of the record led to cover versions recorded by performers such as Monroe Silver in 1914, and Barney Bernard whose version was recorded in March 1916 for Victor Records In 1927, Victor issued an electrical recording of that monologue by Julius Tannen. and George Thompson whose version on Edison Records was released in 1916.
Hayman recorded a similar routine entitled "Cohen Buys a Wireless Set" in 1923 on Columbia Records.
Synopsis of sketch
The monologue is Mr. Cohen's attempt to contact his landlord using a telephone of the period. The humor is derived from that of the Cohen's "stereo-typical" tendency to make puns, and perhaps the difficulty in being understood on the then primitive telephone with his thick Yiddish accent:
"Hello, I'm Cohen...I'M COHEN...No- I ain't Goin...I'm stopping here....Hello! This is your tenant Cohen...YOUR TENANT COHEN....No, NOT Lieutenant Cohen..."
The purpose of the call was to ask the landlord to send a repairman down to his location after a windstorm had caused property damage. In frustration, he hangs up at the end of the record and decides to arrange for the repairs himself.
- "FAU Judaica Sound Archives – 78-rpm List (Jewish Music)". Faujsa.fau.edu. 1913-07-05. Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- Maslon, Laurence; Kantor, Michael (2008). Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America (1st ed.). Twelve. ISBN 978-0446505314. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). Barrie and Jenkins. p. 10. ISBN 9780214204807.
- "Cohen at the telephone / George Thompson. Edison Blue Amberol: 2815  | Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project". Cylinders.library.ucsb.edu. 2005-11-16. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- "FAU Judaica Sound Archives – 78-rpm List (Jewish Music)". Faujsa.fau.edu. 1927-08-11. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- "Victor Discography: Matrix B-17337. Cohen at the telephone / Barney Bernard". Victor.library.ucsb.edu. 1916-03-17. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- SilentEra entry
- IMDB entry
- Smith, Jacob (2008) Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media University of California Press, pages 205–207