But Jack Benny turned into George Burns’ lifelong best friend, and for a reason. They could talk for hours about comedy, about vaudeville (and later radio and television), about using assumed names (Jack Benny’s real name was Benny Kubelsky), about submerging their Jewishness for the larger audience, and much else. And Jack Benny was the audience every performer loved. For George, he was a gift from Heaven. He laughed at all of George’s jokes, and when Jack Benny really laughed he was on the ground, slapping his hand against the floor. Benny’s singing voice was even worse than George’s but Benny loved to hear George sing. The two men played tricks on each other, told stories of women, tried out new lines. They understood each other as only struggling or successful performers can. In a way, they needed each other.