Sober Sue was the girl who never laughed
At Hammerstein’s Roof Garden, which was located above the Victoria Theater in New York City, a performer by the name of “Sober Sue” began to make appearances onstage in the summer of 1907. It was said that Sober Sue was the girl who never laughed.
Anyone who could make Sober Sue laugh received a $100 prize from the theater. The challenge was accepted by both audience members and professional comedians, but they all failed. Her routine gained a lot of traction. Sober Sue would appear on stage during the show’s intermission, and you could tell her the funniest jokes and stories you could think of in an effort to make her laugh.
Not for the stage show, but rather for the intermission to see if anyone could make Sue smile. As a result, the offer was extended into the fall, at which point the sign was taken down and the offer ended.
Why The Girl Never Smiled ?
To explain Sober Sue’s remarkable capacity to maintain her composure, a number of different hypotheses were proposed. She might have been deaf or partially blind, according to critics. After her run at the Roof Garden was over, the truth was made clear. Due to the paralysis of her facial muscles, she was unable to laugh. Or, at least, this was what people were saying.
Willie Hammerstein was in charge of running the Roof Garden. He only paid Sober Sue $20 per week, but his impossible challenge was successful in persuading prominent comedians to perform for free. As a result, the act proved extremely profitable for him. However, he was never forgiven by the con artists who had been tricked into giving free shows.
Few details are known about Sober Sue. We know that her real name was Susan Kelly, but little else.
We know her name because of a small notice that appeared in the New York Times on July 4, 1907 informing its readers that:
The motion for an injunction restraining Susan Kelly, who is known as “Sober Sue,” from appearing under the management of the Hammersteins at the Paradise Roof Garden was adjourned yesterday until July 8.