Who’s Your Favorite Stooge?


The Three Stooges was a classic American Vaudeville comedy act that ran from 1922 until 1970. They produced 190 comedy shorts and a total of 220 film productions. Public domain.

No offense to the woke members of the audience, but guys and girls are different. No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape that reality. You need not be naked to establish a person’s true biological gender, just ask them their opinion of the Three Stooges.
I’m 55 years old and nominally an adult, and I can watch the stooges even today and laugh until my face hurts. By contrast, every woman I have ever known would sooner undergo a painful medical procedure than watch a sixteen-minute Three Stooges short. The Stooges test is more reliable than a medical exam at determining biological gender.

Now that we have winnowed out all of our female readers, you can tell a lot about a guy by asking who his favorite Stooge might be. That question will frequently precipitate a lengthy and passionate discourse into the deep meaning behind their inimitable slapstick comedy. The discussion invariably gravitates around to whether Shemp, Curly, Joe, or Curly Joe was the best third arm to the classic Vaudeville trio. The real psychological assay, however, comes from ascertaining which stooge resonates best with which modern guy. For sake of brevity, we will restrict our discussion to Moe, Larry, and Curly.

The Stooges’ unique brand of physical comedy has never been reproduced.
Public domain.


Moses Harry Horwitz was born in 1897 in Brooklyn. He actually went by the name Harry conversationally but opted for Moe as his nom de guerre. His adopted his classic bowl-shaped haircut as a kid after cutting his curly hair off with a pair of scissors without his mom’s consent. In real life his older brother was Shemp, while his younger brother was Curly. An avid reader, Moe’s favorite author was Horatio Alger. However, he was consumed with the theater from a young age and dropped out of high school to pursue acting.

Larry Fine was born Louis Feinberg in 1902 in Philadelphia. Larry’s father owned a watch repair shop that stocked a powerful acid used to test jewelry for its gold content. As a child Larry mistook the acid for a beverage. His father knocked the glass away but spilled the vile stuff on the young man’s arm, burning it grievously. In an effort at strengthening the damaged limb, Larry became an accomplished violinist and even took up professional boxing, successfully winning one bout.

Curly was born Jerome Lester Horwitz. He was five years younger than his brother Moe. His older brothers called him Babe when he was young, and the name stuck throughout his life.

Curly was described as a quiet introverted child who idolized his older brothers. When he was twelve he accidentally shot himself in the leg while cleaning a rifle. His brother Moe rushed him to the hospital and saved his life. He had a limp for the rest of his days and used his onscreen physical comedy to disguise his impediment.

The Three Stooges were enduringly popular and have their dedicated acolytes even today.
Public domain.


Moe is the perennial bully, but he is undeniably in charge. Guys who gravitate toward Moe are generally assertive leaders who can put mission accomplishment above hurting people’s feelings. George Patton, Genghis Khan, Lord Nelson, and John Wayne would likely have picked Moe as their favorite stooge.

Curly is the archetypal clown. The most famous and recognizable member of the troupe, Curly’s “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” and “Woob, woob, woob!” combined with his odd capacity to spin around in circles on the floor make him a reliable crowd-pleaser. Curly acolytes are typically fun at parties and entertaining on long car trips.

I like to think Larry is the thinking man’s stooge. He’s my personal favorite. Larry typically serves as a voice of reason, after a fashion, and as a foil for Moe’s unfettered chaos. I always felt a little bit sorry for Larry whenever Moe pulled his hair out in clumps.


Curly died tragically of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 48. His first stroke at age 43 precipitated his replacement onscreen by Shemp. In his brief life the poor guy was married four times.

Moe married Helen Schonberger, Harry Houdini’s cousin, and fathered two children. When his show business star began to fade he supported his family selling real estate. A heavy lifelong smoker, Moe succumbed to lung cancer in 1975 at age 77.

Larry was legendarily agreeable and generous, but was a terrible money manager with a gambling addiction. He and his family lived in hotels until he bought his first permanent home in 1940. He suffered a series of strokes and was relegated to a wheelchair for the last five years of his life. Regardless, he still welcomed visiting stooge fans right up until his death, ever the personable entertainer.

Drop us a line and let us know who’s your favorite Stooge and why.

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