Andy Griffith’s ‘The Discovery of America’ Routine From 1962 Is Still Comedic Genius to This Day

by Clayton Edwards
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Andy Griffith was a man of many talents. Many people remember him from his self-titled sitcom. On that show, most of the humor came from his cool-headed reactions to Don Knotts’ comedic performance. On the other hand, he also starred in Matlock. There, he played the titular southern lawyer. Griffith was also an accomplished musician.

However, Andy Griffith doesn’t get enough credit for just how funny he really was. He had a down-home kind of wit to him. That kind of humor is absolutely timeless. To illustrate the timelessness of Andy’s humor, you don’t need to look any further than his Discovery of America comedy routine.

Andy Griffith Hilariously Recounts the Discovery of America

Andy Griffith’s North Carolina roots definitely show in his comedic retelling of how Columbus discovered America. Listening to him recite the story is like listening to a Southern old-timer spin a yarn. He frequently pauses to make small explanations or goes off on short tangents. For instance, when he introduces Christopher Columbus he says that he was a navigator. Then, he follows that with, “Now, you know what a navigator is. He’s the fella that tells you where to go.”

He goes on to talk about how Columbus was a sailor who thought the world was round. So, obviously, he had a tattoo. Andy Griffith said that Columbus’ tattoo was an anchor on his bicep. Above that anchor was the word, “Mother,” and below was “The world is round,” it seems all the bases were covered. It becomes apparent during this part of the bit, that Griffith’s humor is directly linked to his deep Appalachian drawl.

Andy Griffith draws some more laughs as he explains the reasoning behind things in the story. For instance, he introduces the king and queen of Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella. “Their mothers named them that,” Griffith explains, “because they didn’t like them much.”

Andy Griffith wraps up the whole story with an important message, “If you got a dream in your heart and a tattoo on your arm, someday they may name a city in Ohio after you.” Do yourself a favor and check out the video above. It might be the best three-and-a-half minutes of your day.

If that’s not enough evidence of the home-spun comedic genius of Andy Griffith. Or, even if it is and you just want more, you should hear him break down the classic Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet. Andy takes you all the way through the classic play in about seven minutes. What’s more, his version is infinitely more entertaining than the original.

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