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Oily and Schmaltz were a comedian duo during the 1890s that found limited success on the Jewish Circuit of Europe, and later American Vaudeville.

Early Years[]

Edgar Oily[]


Edgar Oily

There are only two documents that exist (as far as can be found) that tell of the adolescent Edgar. The first is a tattered birth certificate that was found in the city hall of Ripon. It reveals that Edgar Oily was born at some point in 1867 (much of the document is illegible due to widespread staining by a liquid that scientific tests have revealed to be weasel bile) to parents Brendon and Ethel Oily.

The only other tangible source is a transcription of a court hearing, dated 17 June 1868, where one B. Oily apparently claimed, quite outlandishly, that his son Edgar had been given the ability to speak Dwargondi by Zeus. It seems that Edgar helpfully let out a garbled “Gar-Ga!” which B. Oily assumed had proved his point. As no one had ever heard of Dwargondi before and the crazed look in his eyes, he was sent to a workhouse and at that point Edgar disappears from all record at this point.

Herman Schmaltz[]


Herman Schmaltz

Unlike Oily, we have no records of Schmaltz as a child except what he tells us in his unpublished autobiography. We must question the accuracy of this work as he started it in his late 80's and was, in the words of longtime friend Joseph Adelman, batshit insane.

Schmaltz claims that he was born to moon goats, raised on their green moon cheese, and arrived on Earth carried on the back of a space goose, who deposited him in the great city of Constantinople on Christmas Day 1003 A.D. He claims then to have spent the better part of a decade among the goats of Earth, only to find them “supremely uninteresting,” but noted that “they played a mean game of lawn darts.” After leaving the company of the goats, he set out to become “Emperor of ALL the Europes,” though he sadly lamented that he never quite "got a proper hold" on Belgium.

Before his death in 1935, Joseph Adelman admitted that his old friend “may have embellished a bit here or there,” but continued that there were “very probably goats of some sort involved.”

Humourical Aspirations[]

While we can only assume on the childhoods of Oily and Schmaltz, we can suppose with considerably more certainty of what happened to them after their meeting and the debut of their comedic career. The two both turned up in London in 1888 with dreams of fame via the stage. One night they both went to a comedy club to perform, but the manager said he only had enough money to pay for one performance. The two decided it would be best if they tried the gig together, so that at least both could get paid something. From this pragmatism, came an act that was so electric that the crowd revolted... violently (ultimately Oily lost two fingers on his right hand, and Schmaltz was out a kidney.) But everyone agreed there was potential.

The two struggled for the better part of a year, before they happened upon the jewish circuit of greater England and Wales. But even with their new-found success and stability, as Adelman put it, “they weren’t happy with the way they were pursuing their humorical aspirations.” So in 1891 they set off to try their luck with the Vaudeville scene emerging in America and Canada. They quickly became popular with the American audiences for some inexplicable reason. One Bostonian said of the duo that they had a sort of “genuine old-world charm that American imitators verily cannot match.” (The imitators, he continued, were “wicked retarded.”)

The Demise[]

At their height of their popularity they were developing an act that was unpresidented in it's humour. One night Oily, improvising on a sudden burst of inspiration, uttered what is theorized to be the funniest joke ever told. Consequently when he told it for the first and only time just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1892, his head exploded.

Though Schmaltz was understandably devastated, and he could never get back into the solo comedy bit, ending up giving up comedy all-together, it did give him an interesting idea. He devised a way to create a golf-ball that, when hit, exploded as spectacularly as poor Oily's head had done. Sources say that Schmaltz had played the game frequently in his youth, but he claims, again in his autobiography, that he actually invented the game after getting the idea from the conversation with the space goose that brought him to this Earth. He was, of course, incorrect.

After registering his idea with the Patent Office, he was unable to secure the funding necessary to put the product into production, and in 1914 his patent expired and several joke companies picked up the novel idea, thereby creating the modern exploding golf ball gag. Though no of these company will admit that it was Schmaltz that actually conceived the joke, they have dubbed their product the greatest joke in the world which pays homage to Schmaltz's original title of Golf Ball Emulating the Effects of the Greatest Joke Ever Told Upon this Fine Earth (the unwieldiness of this title may have also contributed to the product's failure).

Schmaltz died on 14 June 1929, at age 953 (or so he claimed), and though several die-hard fans talked about his work with Oily fondly, the duo has largely been forgotten.


Familiar Affirmation[]

A book titled simply Oily & Schmaltz, was published in 1978 by the great-grandson of Herman Schmaltz, Alfred G. Hamilton, which attempted to set the record straight on the invention of the exploding golf ball. But Hamilton made the mistake of using his great-grandfather’s autobiography as a legitimate source, and even tried to back-up the claim that his Herman Schmaltz was indeed born on the moon. Unsurprisingly the book was a failure.

The Bugle Connection[]

Oily and Schmaltz may not be as forgotten as it would appear however, as Wil, Indy has compared the comedic duo to Buglers John Oliver & Andy Zaltzman. It isn't clear if Wil was commenting on Oliver and Zaltzman’s ability as comedians by linking them to the ultimately unsuccessful twosome, or if he was genuinely confusing the two pairs of comedians. But suffice to say that Wil is misinformed on this point, as with several others.

Interestingly there is another cyclical connection between Oily-Schmaltz and Oliver-Zaltzman, namely that Andy owns one of the exploding golf balls conceptualized by Schmaltz and inspired by Oily's exploding head. As far as we can tell, this appears to be merely a coincidence, but we can't say for sure either way.

Fuck you Chris