I'll here collect references to and examples of humour and comedy that crop up in Jimi's music or  interviews - IF there is a clear link to the early days of his career.

As an introduction here are three quotes from the Moms Mabley biography at
"Jackie “Moms” Mabley found fame and fortune as a stand-up comedian during the twentieth century. Beginning as a staple on the chitlin’ circuit and late night talk show favorite, she went on to become an internationally known entertainer whose career spanned five decades."
"By the end of the decade, she became the first female comedian to perform at the Apollo Theater. By the 1950s Mabley earned $10,000 a week at the Apollo, making her one of the most highly paid performers of that era. She would also appear there more than any other entertainer in the history of the theater."
Mabley recorded several albums in the 1960s beginning with her 1961 debut, The Funniest Woman Alive. Moms Mabley at the “UN,” which was also recorded in 1961, cracked the Billboard Top 20.

Follow the link to the BlackPast-website for the full biography - I won't actually write about Moms Mabley herself here as there (as far as I know) is no direct link between her and Jimi Hendrix.

Band Of Gypsys
The above quotes tell us Moms was very well known in the same circles that Jimi worked in and he was clearly at least aware of her work. As evidence for this we have a "cover version" of a Moms Mabley routine recorded by the Band of Gypsys in late December 1969 during rehearsals for the upcoming Fillmore East concerts.

The Moms Mabley "cover" is just one of the several bits of humorous fooling around between takes by Jimi, Buddy Miles & Billy Cox. The snippet has been released officially on the Dagger Records mail order cd The Baggy's Rehearsal Sessions, it follows after track 3 "Message To Love" finishes.

the funniest woman in the world

The "cover version" or rather "re-enactment" is very loose and clearly just a bit of spontaneous fun, it's not a serious attempt at anything, Jimi and Buddy just quote the bits that they like - or can remember. So the recording doesn't follow the Moms Mabley -sketch very closely at all but it's clear that Jimi and Buddy were both well familiar with it.

The original "Moms" Mabley -sketch can be found on the A side of her first album Moms Mabley On Stage (Chess LP 1447) USA 1960(?). 1 The relevant part starts at 12.34 into this YouTube-clip (the playback starts at the correct spot when you click the link).

The Isley Brothers
Another (indirect) connection with Jimi is this "Moms" Mabley cover version of "It's Your Thing" by the Isley Brothers.

Jimi didn't, to my knowledge, ever make any direct references to Red Skelton by name but there is a likely musical reference that he was recorded making at least twice.2

The instrumental track "Holiday For Strings" was released in April 1942 - around 7 months before Jimi’s birth. 3

Found on

David Rose and his Orchestra "Our Waltz / Holiday For Strings" (Victor 27853)

David Rose’s original composition was much later used as a theme song in comedian Red Skelton’s television series between 1951 and 1970. There are at least two recordings available of Jimi and Billy Cox playing "Holiday For Strings":

Record Plant, New York City, 23 January 1970
Right after the band finishes playing "Burning Desire" Jimi can be heard saying "Holiday for Strings, Holiday for Strings" (though the word in the middle could also be "of" rather than "for") followed by him playing a quick bit of the song on guitar and Billy playing the melody on bass as a response. The recording is available on the Dagger Records album Burning Desire.

Isle of Wight, UK, 30 August 1970
Shortly after the band finishes playing "Machine Gun" Jimi scats the melody for "Holiday For Strings" followed by Billy Cox repeating the same melody on the bass. This part has been edited out on official releases of the show, it's only available on audience recordings and bootleg versions of the soundboard recording.

As Jimi clearly knew the original title of the song (instead of just calling it something like "Red Skelton Theme") he was most likely familiar with it from other connections as well, he had after all probably been listening to the song on the radio ever since he was born.

It is however highly likely that he would have known about "Holiday For Strings" being associated with Red Skelton so therefor it's also possible that he (and Billy Cox) played the song as some sort of a comedy reference or an inside joke.

As both recorded occurrences take place between or after songs Jimi and Billy playing the tune could also be directly related to the title, "Holiday for Strings": a reference to tuning up or other technical problems, or taking time out. Or, since "Holiday for Strings" played over the end credits of The Red Skelton Hour Jimi & Billy playing the tune may also have been a reference to the band messing up somehow during the preceding song and "rolling the credits" afterwards.

But with almost seven months separating the two recorded versions by Jimi & Billy it would seem clear that "Holiday for Strings" was some sort of a running gag for the band. Probably only Billy Cox would be able to tell us the true story now.

Here's an episode of The Red Skelton Hour on YouTube, originally broadcast on 2 October 1962. "Holiday For Strings" plays over the credits starting at 50.25, David Rose is credited as "Musical Director":

1 Discographies seem to mostly list this LP with the title "the funniest woman in the world". Billboard issues from 1961 however list the lp as "Moms Mabley On Stage" and indeed that is the title with the considerably larger font on the front sleeve.

I haven't so far been able to find anything resembling a confirmed release date for this lp. Moms Mabley gets a mention in the 13 October 1960 issue of the California Eagle:
"Jackie "Moms" Mabley's only slightly risque material is getting a play on some local stations. She fractures this column with her rib tickling jests"

Moms Mabley is also among the artists listed in a Bob Jones Record Shop ad for "Party Records" in the 2 December 1960 issue of The Charlotte Observer. Neither of these two mentions include the name of the lp. The Smithsonian lists the release date as 1961. A late 1960 release date seems to me to be likely, it seems that the lp came out in 1960 but sales only properly took off and the lp charted in 1961?

2 I wrote an article titled Holiday Tubas about the song "Holiday For Strings" for issue 102 of Jimpress magazine, the text on this page uses that article as it's basis. So again, a thank you for help with the original Jimpress article to Joel J. Brattin, Doug Bell, Renwick MacNeill, Tim Greenhall & Steve Rodham.

3 Several newspapers reviewed the 78 in April 1942, for example Ledger-Star 17 April 1942 and The Atlanta Journal 19 April 1942. Many of these reviews mention that this is David Rose's debut record release and include very specific biographical details so review copies seem to have been accompanied by a PR letter.