Sunday, February 7, 2016

Enter and Exit the Republicans (Physical Comedy is Not Dead, part 2)

[post 417]

In an earlier post I made the argument that physical comedy, far from being dead, is all around us. We just don't recognize it. Today in part two we look at physical comedy in politics, where it can prove especially embarrassing to those so desperate to control their self-image. The first hilarious example is hot off the wireless, last night's Republican debate where, with help from ABC, the presidential candidates proved Chaplin's adage that "good exits and good entrances, that's all theatre is."


In fairness to the Republicans, it was pretty clear that Carson couldn't hear moderator Martha Radditz, who amateurishly introduced Carson before the applause for Christie had died down. Carson, already considered by many to be a fool, was unintentionally thrust into that role by Radditz.  Apparently Trump didn't hear her either. And then, as a nice button to the gag, the moderators had to be reminded by Christie that they'd never called on Kasich to enter.  You just can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE 2-10-15: Click here to see Stephen Colbert's spoof of the botched entrances.

For my money, physical comedy is often more real, more visceral, more revealing than verbal humor. Which brings me back to my favorite George W. Bush clip. As many of you surely know, there are many clips of Bush mangling the English language. These were damaging enough to his presidential image, but I always thought that this physical comedy moment of him trying to go through a locked door was far funnier. It's man-in-top-hat falls. It's slipping-on-the-banana-peel territory: the humor is in that initial reaction.

What was it that Chaplin said?

1 comment:

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