Comedian Henny Youngman Serving Me Chicken Soup

Some of mine come by the spoonful’s.

Like the time way back when I was promoting chicken soup, actually an iconic kosher delicatessen in Queens, NY called Ben’s Best Kosher Deli.  

Back then it was famously located on Queens Blvd., until the city made bike lanes there and Ben’s lost a big chunk of their business and eventually had to close. 

To gobble on those thick, sumptuous corn beef sandwiches, few rode bikes.

But back in the 80’s I was hired to promote Ben’s and in turn I hired the late great king of one-liners, comedian Henny “take my wife, please” Youngman, known for that gag line until his wife Sadie, died in 1987 and he stopped using it.

The stand-up comedian’s wisecracking, one-liner style had made him an icon in the annals of American humor.

There was a TV commercial at the time promoting a cold remedy and in so doing dared to pooh-pooh what was almost sacred to Jewish grandmothers as a panacea for all ailments, chicken soup.  I told the owner of Ben’s Best this was a gold mine of publicity we could tap into.

Owner Jay Parker liked the idea, so I brought Henny to Queens to lead a battalion of Jewish grandmothers to march for chicken soup to protest the cold remedy’s putting down what had worked successfully fighting colds for a thousand years.

Then I sent to the then spokesperson for CONTACT Cold + Flu Medicine, the NBC TV weatherman, the late, but always on time, Willard Scott, who was fighting a cold himself at the time, some hot chicken soup from Ben’s, which he actually sipped on air and joked about.

Right away I contacted the maker of CONTACT and they liked my idea of a truce with protesting grandmothers sticking up for chicken soup and they sent their popular weatherman to a peace treaty publicity event I hastily arranged at Ben’s.

The stunt made news headlines throughout the Big Apple, which I always thought really should be more known for its corned beef sandwiches than a fruit.

Yes, Willard and Henny Helped Make My Jewish Penicillin Story FRONT PAGE NEWS.


Tom Madden thinks of himself as a royal writer of articles, books and blogs, such as his weekly scribes at and his latest book WORDSHINE MAN, full of tips on how to make writing inviting.  When not royally writing, Madden is CEO of TransMedia Group, the PR firm he started when he left his high perch at NBC and now gives his PR clients royal publicity fanfares fit for kings and queens of commerce.