|#3:||Skinny Guys, Fat Suits|
Since the dawn of film comedy, there have been funny fat guys. They may not represent high art, but from Fatty Arbuckle to John Candy, Curly Howard to John Belushi, fat dudes make us laugh.
Until recently, that is. In 1996, Universal Pictures and Imagine entertainment released The Nutty Professor, a film with the following strikes against it:
1.) It starred Eddie Murphy, whose five previous films (Vampire in Brooklyn, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Distinguished Gentleman, Boomerang and
2.) It was a remake of a Jerry Lewis movie, a performer disliked by everyone except victims of Muscular Dystrophy and the French.
3.) It featured not one, but TWO foul mouthed old ladies (see Step One) BOTH of which were played by Eddie Murphy (see Strike One).
And then, a miracle happened. It was funny. The great Eddie Murphy, with his back against the wall, showed not only flashes of the old dirty charm, but passed the torch of great black comedy to a young Dave Chappelle, who stole a scene with his amazing portrayal of a hack comedian destroyed by the slick comebacks of Murphy' Buddy Love.
Yet Hollywood, who couldn't seem to see that it' not the fat suit that' funny, it' who' funny in the fat suit, went on to produce flop after foam rubber-filled flop, putting Gwyneth Paltrow in the suit for Shallow Hal, Julia Roberts under the rubber in America' Sweethearts, Martin Lawrence in not one but two
John Candy' dead now, and comedy is the poorer for it, but this is America, and you can't tell me that that a real fat person is difficult to find. So c'mon Hollywood! In the name of Lou Costello, give a real fat comic a job! You know they're out there, you know they're funny, and let' be honest, we don't want them going hungry.
Dewey 'Ox' Oxberger: "He said... black guys... help the white guys.'
In the 1981 comedy Stripes, during a scene in which the platoon has to stay up all night learning how to do their drills, a brief racial conflict breaks out after John Candy' character gets offended for no good reason at all. And as anyone who knows good comedy knows, if it happened in the first half of Stripes, it' worth paying attention to. (The second half of Stripes is all a silly chase scene that only holds your attention because the music rules.)
But the lesson here is that racial sensitivity is an odd thing, with shifting values and hard to define rules, and Stripes hit it on the head; the only way to get past black and white is to find common ground, or Bill Murray' case, shifting the debate entirely into a discussion of