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I heard this on a David Frost show from the 60s. It’s got me wondering who was the first comedian to use this joke form.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ButThisIsRidiculous

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closed as off topic by Jim, tchrist, Matt Эллен, Mitch, Carlo_R. Oct 10 '12 at 18:50

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Etymology may sometimes seem like Trivial Pursuit but that is not in itself cause for closevote. Lack of research however ... –  MετάEd Oct 10 '12 at 0:50
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@MετάEd: Etymology is about word origins. This Q is about "Who's the first comedian to use this joke form?" The OED might show the first printed usage of the expression ButThisIsRidiculous, but the words are all common enough to find the etymologies in a good college dictionary. Quite a different kettle of lexemes, I'd say. –  user21497 Oct 10 '12 at 1:11

1 Answer 1

Groucho Marx used to use this phrase. For example, in A Night in Casablanca his character said, “I’ve seen five o’clock shadow, but this is ridiculous!” Don’t know if it originated with him or not, though.

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+1 There are no examples of this formulaic expression in literature (Google Book Search) until after that 1946 movie. The earliest: The first guy said, "You mean Bob Hope followed us all the way to Bizerte? I volunteered to serve my country, but this is ridiculous." (Modern radio advertising, Funk & Wagnalls Co. in association with Printers' Ink Pub. Co., 1953) –  MετάEd Oct 10 '12 at 18:46

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