A friend of mine just called one of our emerging U.S. presidential candidates a "nutsy fagan." I had never heard the expression and was googling it. Among other things, I found a poorly worded Urban Dictionary definition that seemed to indicate that a nutsy fagan is someone whose behavior is so loony or bizarre that the person is embarrassing to be with.
Another statement, this one in Wiki Answers, was that Nutsy Fagan was a comedian in Greenwich Village in New York City. That may well be the origin of the expression.
Has anyone else ever heard this expression and do you have any other explanation of its origin?
So what's new? Most of them are poorly worded...
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I don't look there often enough to know that!
Hmmm, I wonder what party that candidate is from.
Here's a nice discussion about it from 2004 on Wordwizard. Link They had a lot about it, though the spelling was a little different.
Apparently there is a popular song from 1923 named, "Nutsey Fagan."
Someone there posted that his late father (born in 1888 in NYC) used it as a mild expletive to mean "Rats!" The person posting this said clearly it didn't have an anti-Semitic quality (as suggested by Fagin in "Oliver Twist") or his dad wouldn't have used it.
Then there was an entertainer in NYC named Nutsey Fagan, who was Tarzan in movies and was famous for daredevil swimming acts.
There was a Nutsy Fagan comic strip in the 50s.
Also from the 50s-60s, Jackie Gleason used to do a bartender skit on his TV show where hed talk about Nutsey Fagan, but you never saw the character.
In "The Producers" Zero Mostel calls someone a "Nutsey Fagan."
Wow, they did better than we did!