Saturday, May 16, 2015

Physical Comedy Is Not Dead! — #1

[post 406]
Did you ever have this conversation?
—"So you're into physical comedy. What's that?"
—"Well, you know, comedy that uses the body and movement more."
—"Like who?"
—"Uh, well, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin...and clowns, of course."
—"Oh, yeah, silent movies..."
—"Today it would be like Bill Irwin and...uh..."

Yes, sad to say, the general public is oblivious about our heroes, and with the ascendancy of stand-up comedy, not to mention sitcoms that are just a series of one-liners, physical comedy may seem to be just a relic of a golden past, only kept alive by a few nostalgia buffs and performance purists.


It's everywhere — in commercials, in America's funniest home movies, in dance, in prank internet viral videos, in new cirque and new burlesque, and even in sitcoms. It's not always recognized as such and it's not always well done, but it is as popular as ever. I sometimes find time to collect this stuff, so here's the first in a series of proofs: four commercials that are pure physical comedy.

Those are clever but this is brilliant:

And here's a trailer for the new Sean Penn movie that revives the classic clown weightlifter gag. (I also include it because that's my oldest son Nathaniel under all those weights.)

Unfortunately, they kind of blew the gag because the final shot at the 25-second mark goes by so quickly and the background is so cluttered that it's easy to miss the joke of him not actually lifting any real weight.

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