What Did the Marx Brothers Have to Do With Business Stamps

And we are not talking about Royal Mail stamps… we are talking self inking business stamps of all kinds used in offices all over the world. Metal self inking, plastic self inking, smart stamps and all other kind of business stamps they could get their hands on. They had them in all colours and in all kind of different materials in the thousands. They had a special storage place in their living rooms where they had all their business stamps displayed. Not a pretty view in a living room but they had their reasons for doing this. Every stamp had a text plate with a number and when they by random took a business stamp and made an impression on a piece of paper and saw the number they started laughing hysterically. The different numbers on the business stamps were all numbers of jokes they knew and when they saw a number it triggered in their strange brains the joke and they could remember it.

On stage they had with them business stamps so they did not really have to do any rehearsals before a show. They just stamped a number on a piece of paper and they knew immediately what joke they had to tell and what crazy acts they had to do with that joke. The audience loved it… and laughed and laughed and applauded again and again.

Over time they got more and more sophisticated. They started to combine the colour of the stamp with the number and this way they could remember different ways to tell the same jokes. They could have red stamps with the number 101, a green with the number 101 and so on… and it was the same joke but performed in different ways.

I guess you have to be a genius to have this kind of talent for remembering numbers and the jokes related to these numbers – but they were geniuses.

When after their death it became known that the Marx Brothers used business stamps with different numbers to remember their jokes these stamps became collector items and the prices went sky high. The problem was that no one knew what jokes were behind the numbers but the fact the stamps had belonged to the Marx Brothers and the way they had used them when on stage were more important than knowing what the jokes were behind the numbers on the stamps.

The Marx Brothers have gone to the heavens many years ago… but their crazy ideas of collecting stamps and using them as a way to remember their jokes is one more crazy memory of their greatness as entertainers.