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Why Nobody Could Get Sober Sue To Laugh

(Ashley rose@Flickr)

We dare you — just try.  We bet you can’t make Sober Sue laugh.

Basically that was the premise of a stunt at the Hammerstein Victorian Theatre in New York in 1907. The theatre offered $1,000.00 to anyone who could get Sober Sue to crack a smile. During the intermission of whatever show happened to be playing at the time, Sober Sue would appear on stage and you could tell your best jokes and funniest stories trying to get her to laugh.

All summer long, people tried and couldn’t do it. Word got out and even the professional comedians showed up. Some of the biggest stars of the day would come on stage and give it their best and true to her name Sober Sue just wouldn’t crack a smile.

Crowds got bigger, not for the stage show, but for the intermission to see if anybody could get Sue to even smile. So the offer was extended into the fall and finally as winter approached they took the sign down and the offer came to an end.

Later it was revealed why nobody was able to get Sober Sue to even smile. Sue  couldn’t laugh or even smile if she wanted to. She suffered from facial paralysis. And the whole thing was a scam to get the best comedians to appear at the theatre and basically do their act for free.

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