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'Who's On First?' The Sign Language Version

Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine still stands as one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time. It was a feat of rapid-fire dialogue, flawless comedic timing and devastating wit.

But could you do it without saying a word?

The answer appears to be yes. After Jerry Seinfeld broke down the classic skit on the MLB Network recently, NPR's Mike Pesca wound up with a peculiar email in his inbox.

It was a link to an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the skit, sent by a friend. It was amazing, Pesca says.

"There are parts where you don't really understand what's going on, but if you know the routine, you can pretty much tell what they're talking about," Pesca tells Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Linda Wertheimer.

"Then there are certain instances where you know exactly what they're saying [and] it gets huge laughs from the audience," he says.

The fact that the routine survives without spoken words is a testament to its brilliance, Pesca says. "It's math. It really is musical, and it works really well."

Chris Benderev is a producer forWeekend Edition Sunday .

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Chris Benderev is a founding producer of and also reports stories for NPR's documentary-style podcast, Embedded. He's driven into coal mines, watched as a town had to shutter its only public school after 100 years in operation, and, recently, he's followed the survivors of a mass shooting for two years to understand what happens after they fade from the news. He's also investigated the pseudoscience behind a national chain of autism treatment facilities. As a producer, he's made stories about ISIS, voting rights and Donald Trump's business history. Earlier in his career, he was a producer at NPR's Weekend Edition, Morning Edition, Hidden Brain and the TED Radio Hour.