Danny’s MBTI Personality Type


(Extroverted, iNuitive, Thinker, Perceiver)

The following is ONLY my theory on what personality type Danny Kaye might have been according to the MBTI.

Information on ENTPs

Let’s first look at David Keirsey's book Please Understand Me II (c) 1998:

"[ENTPs] are intensely curious [...] Such curiosity can be inspiring to others, who find themselves admiring the Inventor's insatiable hunger for know-how." (p. 202)

Danny had an intense curiosity about medicine and observed many surgeries to further his knowledge.

Danny said in a December 1976 article: “If you stifle your curiosity about food, you’ll stifle it about everything in life. I’ve always been very curious.” He also said: “When I get curious about something, I like to go as far as I can into what made me curious about it from the beginning.”

"ENTPs are also the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that is the way things have always been done. They characteristically have an eye out for a better way, always on the lookout for new projects, new activities, new procedures. Inventors are confident in the value of their approaches and display a charming capacity to ignore the standard, the traditional, and the authoritative." (p. 202)

From a December 1984 article: "...I was eccentric almost all my life, meaning I never went by the book..."

"'It can't be done' is a challenge to an ENTP and elicits a reaction of 'I can do it.'" (p. 203)

In this Popular Science article, written by Danny, he relates his experience in training for his pilot's license. At one point, he mentions "[...] when I went to take my examination, I was as nervous as a cat. But I had something going for me. Mike Kidd had remarked to a friend of mine, 'I don’t think Danny will have the patience to do everything it takes to get a ticket.' That did it! I’d get my ticket, or else."

"...talent for improvisation and expedient action." (p. 203)

"A rough draft is all they need to feel confident and ready to proceed into action." (p. 203)

Danny said at the end of a Nov. 1970 article: “I don’t like making plans, which is one reason why they used to call me Joe Improviser. Once I get the germ of an idea, you better get out of my way.”

"ENTPs can succeed in a variety of occupations, as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine, at which point they become restless." (p. 203)

"If their job becomes dull and repetitive, they tend to lose interest and fail to follow through [...]. To stave off routine, ENTPs will try to outwit the system and use the rules and regulations within the system to give themselves room to innovate. They may even work against the system just for the joy of holding the upper hand. [ENTPs] have also been known to engage in brinkmanship with their superiors, placing their own careers in jeopardy and behaving as if unaware of the consequences. Thus they may create an unnecessary crisis on the job, just to give them an opportunity to come up with a solution--which, more often than not, they succeed in doing." (p. 203)

In regards to restlessness and boredom, Martin Gottfried, in the book Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye, he says, "Piloting the Beechcraft began to possess him in the way that performing used to. This was also a solo act, and it could take him above everything that was tedious and common." (p. 245)

"Explaining why he was doing a weekly series after all the years of avoiding television entirely, he claimed restlessness. 'It doesn't do much for creativity,' he said, 'being in semiretirement.' Hardly semiretired, he had, in fact, been working a lot. But he had not been doing live performance, the kind of work he enjoyed, because his new agent, Ted Ashley, had found ways to make more money more easily." (p. 246)

In regards to his performance in the Broadway play, Two by Two, and the schedule of eight performances a week, Joanna Simon said, "He was tired of being an entertainer," she said. "He became terribly bored." (p. 295)

In regards to rules... From a December 1984 article: "Rules to me were always confining, especially in my profession."

"...often have a lively circle of friends and are interested in their ideas and activities. They are normally easy-going, seldom critical or nagging. Their good humor and curiosity tend to be contagious, and people seek out their company. ENTPs can be fascinating conversationalists, able to articulate their own complicated ideas and to follow the complex verbalizations of others. They may, however, deliberately employ debate tactics to the disadvantage of their opponents, even when the opponents happen to be close associates and valued friends. Versatile and agile of mind, they respond quickly and adeptly to another's shifting position. Often they are several jumps ahead. Indeed, ENTPs are the most able of all types to maintain a one-up position with others, while to be taken-in or manipulated by another is humiliating to them, offending their pride in being masters of the art of one-upmanship." (p. 203)

Danny certainly had an assortment of friends and associates and often invited a variety of people over for dinner.

As far as speech goes, every fan knows just how adept Danny was with quick, complicated phrases. I imagine that with the fast-paced, complex songs that he sang he would have had to have been "versatile" and "agile of mind" to sing so much, so quickly.

From a 1964 article: "An examination of Kaye must start from the point that, in the field of entertainment, he is a genius. He does all things well and some things superlatively. As a result, almost anyone who goes up against him—in repartee, in the quest for attention of an audience, even in ordinary conversation – is overmatched."

"Their home environment also tends to be full of life. They are gregarious, laugh easily and often, and are typically in good humor." (p. 204)

"[ENTPs] like to verbally spar with their loved ones, and if their mates are not intellectually competitive they are likely to find such one-up/one-down transactions somewhat wearying. If the mate is competitive, however, the result might be delightful give-and-take--or, at times, martial conflict." (p. 204)

I am reminded of this segment from the biography Nobody's Fool: "The Kayes were vicious with each other--Marlene [Sorosky] surely had been invited as part of the viciousness. And 'it was painful to watch them,' she said. 'They would stick it to each other with people around. It was like a duel with words. It was awful, you didn't want to be there, and she was better with words than Danny, so she would usually win.' That was assuming there ever was a winner in such a situation." (p. 323)

"[ENTPs] tend to have all sorts of hobbies and to be experts in unexpected areas, but they are not apt to share these hobbies with their mate or children in the sense of teaching them. In fact, [ENTPs] may be very inconsistent in the attention they give to their offspring. Usually, it is feast or famine, wonderful warmth and affection when they are with their children, but also benign neglect when they are engrossed in their many outside interests." (p. 204)

It is quite obvious that Danny had a variety of interests and hobbies including cooking (specializing in Chinese cuisine), flying, and medicine, all of which, usually surprise people when they first find out all that Danny was knowledgeable in.

“I’ve got to find a new hobby that’s exciting and challenging. I’ve got an idea all this kind of food may be it.” [From a 1970 article]

Here are some quotes from ENTP.org, which stood out to me. You can click the link to read the entire description.

"Verbally as well as cerebrally quick, ENTPs enjoy arguing: for its own sake, and to show off their impressive verbal skills. They often have a perverse sense of humour, and play devil's advocate regardless of consequence. They sometimes confuse, even hurt, those who cannot understand the concept of argument as a sport."

Again, I am reminded of Danny's quick verbal skills.

In regards to the comment "perverse sense of humor", etc, consider the following part of this 1964 article:

At a closed rehearsal on Friday, three unfortunate women appeared in the front row of spectator seats. Kaye doesn’t like to have people around the set whom he doesn’t know; he wants all visitors cleared with him in advance. These women hadn’t been.
         Kaye stopped in front of them and, with every evidence of good natured raillery, asked them where they were from. They were from Cleveland, were attending a convention of some kind, and had some very obscure relationship with Lucille Ball that apparently had gotten them into the rehearsal hall.

Kaye threw a carefully staged tantrum. He demanded loudly to know what had happened to “security around this place.”

After milking this line, he went back to the embarrassed women and told them they could stay, but he wanted them to know that the actors sometimes used “dirty words” during the rehearsal and they would just have to carry this picture back to Cleveland with them.

And then, with real comic genius and without ever flubbing a line or missing a cue, Kaye worked “Cleveland” into the skit he was rehearsing in a dozen different places. It was a hilarious and inspired performance, but an altogether devastating on to the women who fled in confusion after it was over.

It was all done tongue in cheek, but with such deadly lowering in on his target that the end result was more embarrassing than funny.

"[...] have little patience with those they consider wrong or unintelligent. However, they are often extremely genial and quite charming, when not being harassed by life in general."

From a December 1984 article: "What are the worst things about Danny Kaye? 'Impatience, irritability, and a short temper,' he says—three qualities that emerge under stress."

From reading Nobody's Fool, it is quite clear that Danny could obviously be very charming when he wanted to. However, he could also be quite callous or impatient with others (particularly interviewers), and the above statement brings to mind both these sides of Danny.

From a 1964 article: "[...] the people around him who can’t approach him at his level – and very few can. He can be very cruel to them without really seeming to mean to."

From a 1964 article: "Kaye is an absolute perfectionist and tends to be impatient with others who don’t share this near compulsion. He simply refuses to accept mediocrity in himself or anyone else—but particularly in himself."

There is wonderful information to be found at the Personality Page! The following quotes are from the ENTP profile page. Some of the information below is similar to the information listed above, just merely worded differently (and sometimes better). So some of the information, I will not be commenting on, as I'd merely be repeating myself.

"This ability to intuitively understand people and situations puts the ENTP at a distinct advantage in their lives. They generally understand things quickly and with great depth. Accordingly, they are quite flexible and adapt well to a wide range of tasks. They are good at most anything that interests them."

From a 1964 article: "Harvey Korman the talented actor who works with Kaye in most of his skits, says of Danny, 'He’s a remarkably sensitive instrument. He takes and he gives. He reacts almost intuitively. He has an ear that is absolutely uncanny in music, dialects, lines of dialogue, and he’s enormously perceptive.'"

Again, I am reminded of the many hobbies and interests Danny had...cooking, flying, medicine. He was excellent at everything he did.

"ENTPs are less interested in developing plans of actions or making decisions than they are in generating possibilities and ideas."

"ENTPs are fluent conversationalists, mentally quick, and enjoy verbal sparring with others."

The following is information taken from the Personal Growth page for ENTPs on the Personality Page.

"Sameness, stasis, conservatism - even daily routine - can be loathsome to fervent ENTPs, whose drive is always to be into something new, different and full of fresh possibilities [...]"

Consider this from a May 1959 article: "A great believer in the importance of 'firsts,' in fact, [Danny Kaye] says that 'People think "Up in Arms" was the best picture I ever made . . . It wasn’t the best – it was the first. There’s no getting away from the initial excitement and impact of . . . the honeymoon. The first movie. The first time I played in London. The crowds have been bigger, the money has been greater, but nothing ever can equal that first thrill.'"

“I’ve got to find a new hobby that’s exciting and challenging. I’ve got an idea all this kind of food may be it.” [From a 1970 article]

“I’m an overenthusiast. I start something, go at it with everything until I lose interest." [From a 1970 article]

Here is some more interesting information that stood out to me. Click here to read the full description.

"ENTPs are the clever multitaskers. They are verbally and cerebrally quick, and love to argue for the sake of it as well as to show off their cunning linguistic abilities. ENTPs can be spotted as the individuals who hold many ideas in mind while telling a witty and engaging story at the same time."

"ENTPs are optimists at heart but - either because or despite of this - they become extremely discouraged and annoyed at any setback that pops up along the way."

"ENTPs have little patience with those they consider unintelligent or wrong, and have little restraint in withholding their opinions. ENTPs are capable of bonding very closely with others and demonstrating their admiration quite grandiosely, if allowed. They are good at acquiring friends, but only keep the ones who are deemed as clever and entertaining as they are. ENTPs thrive on being unique [...]"

More interesting information... Click here to read the full description.

"[...] their cerebral nature is a strong influence in their lives and makes them excellent problem-solvers and conversationalists. However, it can also lead them to openly and aggressively dismiss those they find foolish, causing ire in their wake. Plus, while ENTPs are typically upbeat and hopeful, minor hurdles can cause them to become angry. And under extreme stress, they will often feel trapped, unable to logically devise a solution."

It is very possible that some of Danny's negative personality traits that people have witnessed are connected with the reasons listed in the above quote.

There is much more information on ENTPs - as well as other personality types - that can be found on the Personality Page website. I highly recommend visiting it. You can even take the MBTI test yourself and find out your personality type.

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