|Nothing beats a great comedy in a packed movie theater. As the fun starts,
a simple diversion for one becomes a shared pleasure for all; kind of like
group sex, except everyone's facing forward and it’s less gross when
the floor gets sticky. But when it’s a bad comedy, everyone shuffles
out both angry at those responsible and ashamed to admit they were there.
Actually, that’s sort of like group sex, too. Whatever. The point
is, we’ve dug up five overused comedy techniques that—even if
they worked brilliantly once—have now become clear-cut signs of outright
hackery. These five steps are to be avoided at all costs so that everyone’s
cinematic comedy experiences might be a bit more (or less) like group sex.
You know what we mean.
||The Foul-Mouthed Old Lady
"Mornin', ma'am. And isn't it a lovely mornin'?"
"Up Yours, Nigger!"
So quoth the late, great Jessamine Milner (1894-1983), responding to the polite greeting of Rock Ridge' first black sheriff in the classic Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles.
That line, just a small part of a brilliantly funny screenplay, (co-written by Brooks and Richard Pryor, among others) encapsulated one of the most daring premises in comedy history: What if the small town of the Hollywood western, the seed of the tree of modern America, was filled with such unredeemable bigotry that to save it from destruction was a waste of everyone' time? To have a sweet old lady deliver a line that harsh summed this up brilliantly, and was funny as hell.
Since then, an old lady cursing has become an easy laugh, a dose of vulgarity from an unexpected source. We've seen foul mouthed old ladies plaguing films from Police Academy
to Road Trip, Happy Gilmore
to Wedding Crashers
- cursing, rapping, doing bong hits, wearing bondage gear, making out with each other and flipping the bird. Sure, it was kind of fun to hear an old lady talk dirty... the first 15 times. But you know what' also kind of fun? Letting an actress who lived through the Great Depression wrap up her career with a shred of her motherfucking dignity. And yes, Adam Sandler, I'm talking to you.
||The American Pie Epidemic
On February 12th, 1999, the Senate acquitted President William Jefferson Clinton of two articles of impeachment, marking the end of the most sexually graphic era in the history of mass media. It was a time when the Congressional record featured cigars in vaginas, the New York Times told tales of semen-stained dresses, and even wrinkled old gasbag Dan Rather grew enough of a pair to say "fellatio" on the evening news. If the action was this hot in the morning newspaper, the teen sex comedy was going to need a serious overhaul. Three months later, it got one.
If mom and apple pie were enduring symbols of America,
would shove a fat cock into both of them, with a flute in a pussy for good measure, because it was the 90's after all, and we were sensitive to women' needs. Yes, America was different now - a nation that would literally fuck anything.American Pie
might not have been a masterpiece, but it was the right film at the right time, making more than ten times its money back by October. Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom, credited... the acting. Soon, the teenage cast started appearing above the titles of some of the largest cinematic abortions in film comedy history - an incomplete list that includes
Loser, Saving Silverman, Anything Else, Jersey Girl, Say It Isn't So, Just Friends, Tomcats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Van Wilder, My Boss's Daughter, Freddy Got Fingered, Evolution
and many, many more. There were a few exceptions along the way (Alyson Hannigan in Buffy,
Sean William Scott in Dude, Where' my Car?
), but it takes exceptions to prove a rule. It' time to stop the insanity, or at the very least get Jason Biggs back where he belongs - behind the greeter' desk of a T.G.I. Fridays.
||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.