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Film Comedy

Young Film Lovers

Film Comedy

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What kinds of classic comedies do you guys like?

You know, there really aren't a lot of comedians/comedy teams with established personas I'm very into...

I really like...

The Marx Brothers -- They are simply in a league of their own, especially Groucho.

Buster Keaton -- The deadpan is funny... Oh I could go on, but what the hell, he's just great.

Hope and Crosby -- Or just Bob Hope, with probably the usual caveat that his earlier movies are better.

Jack Benny -- Methinks I could really get into his radio program... I probably shouldn't listen to it then. XD

And then there's...

W.C. Fields -- I think I could get into him, but with my very TCM-dependent movie viewing, the only Fields movie I've seen is The Bank Dick (unless David Copperfield counts, heh).

Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd -- Undoubtedly great, but to me they're pretty "eh" as far as being funny is concerned. *ducks flying objects coming from Danny's general vicinity* ;)

Abbott and Costello -- These guys kind of frustrate me, a lot of stuff I'll find funny, but then it turns too silly/slapsticky for me.

Laurel and Hardy -- I guess it can't be a good sign when watching The Music Box fails to make me even smile.

The Three Stooges -- Poking people in the eyes is just not funny.

Martin and Lewis -- Now I love Dino, but my normal reaction to Jerry Lewis's presence on my TV screen is to want to throw stuff at it. XD

Then there are actors and actresses who are often very funny, i.e. Cary Grant, William Powell, Carole Lombard. I LOVE screwball comedy; I also like parodies/spoofs.

I usually prefer verbal comedy over physical comedy, which probably explains a lot of the "and then there's" up there. Slapstick is only funny when I think the person doing the slapstick is funny... Let's say you have Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin do the exact same thing. Buster's funny; Charlie's not.

That's the kind of a hairpin I am.
  • Oooooohhhhh boy... Comedies are my thing. I'm trying to chew on everything you just said - I'm giving it a moment to all sink in. :D

    It's like you hugged me when you said you loved Keaton, Hope, ect... Then hit me over the head with a bat when you said Chaplin and Lloyd aren't funny.

    Ah, but I see what your sayin'.

    Honestly, Chaplin is more sentimental. Most of his more epic type of films (the popular ones and ultimately the most memorable) were more to draw emotion rather than to draw a laugh. At least, that's what they do for me. He, personally, is so egotistical.

    Lloyd, um... Yeah, I basically hee-haw at most of his films. But some flat out so badly, I wouldn't recommend them to someone who is just discovering him. But Grandma's Boy aired recently on Turner and it is one of the funniest silents I have ever seen. I mean, the first thirty minutes. When you get to about the middle of the film, it pretty much spirals off into the mundane. I would say it could be a problem with pacing, I'm just not sure. Seems like he likes to just put all of his best gags all bunched together and the rest of the film is spent trying to fill gaps in what little plot there may be. But I love his movies, mainly because I just love *him*. If I were to recommend a film for just flat out hilarity when speaking of Lloyd, I'd have to say The Freshman.

    And Keaton, oh my... He just had such a character to play around with, and he understood his character so well. I believe him to be the best, the smartest, and the most intellectual of all the classic comedians. I just love the guy, and believe in the quality of his work. Then when he moved into the talking era, I think he was viewed as someone who didn't know his right foot from the left... People thought him stupid, but how wrong they were! What a genius, thank goodness today most people understand that.

    Okay, now that I have that out of the way.

    The Marx Bros.: Groucho Marx was just excellent at the whole line delivery, he just keeps them coming. Very funny, but somewhere there's a hitch for me... Their films tend to tarry on and you don't really know where they are going (too long between gags). I also have issues that they used uncredited gagmen (like, eh, a less than stable Buster Keaton?) to tell them what was funny. Not cool.

    I can't stand Abbott and Costello. Laurel and Hardy are funny but only for the first 10 minutes of ONE gag! Gosh, I just want to reach through the screen and tell them to move on!

    Three Stooges, your words exactly. LOL, I really can't say it any better.

    I was actually watching a Martin/Lewis movie the other day and there was this blond thing on the screen then I finally realized it was Lewis in drag. They're imitations of Hope and Crosby are tops, though. Lewis actually reminds me of Jim Carrey sort of, maybe it's the facial expressions.

    Cary Grant was really great with comedy, as you mentioned so was that charming William Powell. I've always wished Gary Cooper did more comedies. Clark Gable seemed to be very good with comedy, too, he really shined in It Happened One Night and Dancing Lady. I think the most underrated comedic actor would have to be Lloyd, though, sorry :p

    Favorite silent comedy: The Saphead, 1920

    Favorite comedy: My Man Godfrey, 1936

    Favorite comedic actress: Claudette Colbert

    Favorite comedic actor: Buster Keaton

    What a topic, you can't expect a short response with a topic like this!
  • Lol, the topic was supposed to be very broad... I could talk about just the Marx Brothers all day. XD

    Yes, that's part of the reason I'm not big on Chaplin, the pathos. Honestly, the main problem with Lloyd is that I don't even like his character. But let me say one positive thing about both of them to hopefully make you feel a little better... ;)

    Harold Lloyd -- I do think the building climbing ending of Safety Last! is pretty amazing, both funny and scary at the same time.

    Charlie Chaplin -- By far the most I've laughed at Chaplin was in the short The Idle Class, the gag where he looks like he's sobbing and then he turns around and we see that he's really shaking a cocktail. (Sorry if you haven't seen it and I gave that bit away...) I even knew what was coming, but it's still funny as heck.

    Keaton I have all the respect in the world for, very modest guy. (Not that having an ego precludes me from liking someone or just being a nice person will make me enjoy their work...) He was extremely inventive and acrobatic, and the fact that he almost never asked for the audience's sympathy is definitely one thing I like about him. Keaton's really more modern than Chaplin or Lloyd, and more surreal. I think he's adorable in a sort of Fred Astaire or Bing Crosby way.

    I don't know that Keaton could ever have done as well in talkies as he did in silents... But I'm sure he would have been much better off if he hadn't signed with MGM and lost his creative control. Apparently no one had a clue what Keaton was about. MGM did the same thing to the Marx Brothers... Once they lost Thalberg, no one at the studio really gave a damn about them anymore, and that's where comparatively dreck like The Big Store comes in... I hate the "Sing While You Sell" number in that one, and especially that final chase sequence on roller skates... See, this is a big part of the reason I love the Marx Brothers so much -- they *don't* do awful slapstick like that, argh.

    Do you like the Marx Brothers's Paramount stuff or A Night at the Opera/A Day at the Races better? I prefer the earlier, less structured and more anarchic movies more, although A Night at the Opera works perfectly fine. A Day at the Races has some great routines, but it's not in the same league. And speaking of things I hate in Marx Brothers movies... The water ballet in A Day at the Races. There's less point in it than usual as far as non-Marx musical numbers are concerned, and why the hell is it so loooooong? Now I usually FF through stuff like this when rewatching the films, but I was never even able to make it through that thing *once*.

    I've always thought that the whole ad-libbing thing with the Marx Brothers is a bit overstated... I'm sure they were great at improvisation, but they did it mostly on the stage, and maybe some in the Paramounts. By the time we get to MGM, heck they took some of those routines on the road and *timed the laughs*. They always had writers; I mean, those are the guys with the screenplay credits. No doubt Groucho had lightning-quick wit and could come up with a lot of his own jokes, but hell, even You Bet Your Life was scripted. The deal there was that Groucho could use the material or not, and he could go off of the script. The show was also prerecorded and edited down... That way they could get rid of any parts that were boring or any jokes that didn't work, or edit out the risque humor (all of which is positively nothing by today's standards, lol.)

    Apparently Buster was supposed to write visual gags for Harpo, but practically none of his stuff was actually used. Buster and Harpo had different styles, and Buster was coming up with material for Buster, not Harpo. No one ever really knew how to write for Harpo; he always had to come up with his own gags. Supposedly Groucho didn't think much of Buster... And supposedly Buster worked on Go West as well; if he did and he didn't have something to do with that train sequence at the end, I'll eat my hat, heh. Probably the best part of the movie, too.
  • What Abbott and Costello movies have you seen? I don't think TCM plays much beyond A&C Meet Frankenstein; they did most of their movies for Universal... My parents like them and have a lot of their stuff on DVD... I've been watching a few more of them lately. I really like Meet Frankenstein, though I must say the presence of Lugosi Dracula and Lon Jr. Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster helps my liking a lot. I've seen Buck Privates and In the Navy a couple of times, cause the Andrews Sisters have a prominent role in them. XD I watched Who Done It? the other day, which I was enjoying immensely, until, like I said before, it turns too silly/slapsticky for me. I do think Lou Costello is funny, somewhat to my surprise; I would think he would annoy me, lol.

    Are you talking about At War with the Army with the Martin and Lewis movie? "This blond thing," hahaha... I think that Jerry in drag is pretty terrifying. I guess I will have to give him credit for doing a perfect imitation of Barry Fitzgerald, though, heh. I know what you're saying about Jim Carrey; his comedy is pretty derivative of Jerry Lewis. Which explains why I can't stand him either... Those two and Adam Sandler make me want to run away screaming when I see them. XD

    You know, I think that the ability to make me laugh is almost a prerequisite for me really liking an actor/actress. Obviously comedy doesn't need to be their main thing, but being able to do it when necessary helps an awful lot. Maybe that's the reason I can't get into Bette Davis... As far as I've been able to ascertain, she was just flat out never funny.

    *Oh my, I went on so long (especially about the Marxes) that I managed to exceed the maximum character length... I hope you didn't fall asleep reading that. XD
    • Wow... Ay, where do I start? :D

      You know, you are absolutely right about having to like the comedian to enjoy their comedy. My mom cannot stand Charlie Chaplin, thus she just doesn't 'get' his comedy. As for Keaton, she likes him because I am so obsessed with him... She doesn't totally understand his comedy. I think it is the *minus the expression* that she can't totally grasp.

      And... Guess who is the only one she will watch? Lloyd! Beats me why, but that is the only silent film star I can get her to watch. It's one of the first classic actors she discovered on her own, early one morning on TCM. That probably has something to do with it.

      With me, Lloyd is pretty adorable. I think it's his expressions that get me, like especially in Grandma's Boy. When he sits with her at the piano and she sings. He just has the goofiest look on his face, goofy = sexy for me. I guess I also identify with him in the Freshman, being teased. :(

      Marx Bros.: A Night At The Opera is my favorite Marx film! The dialogue (sp.) really shines. At the Circus is really funny, too. A Day At the Races was the first one of their movies I ever saw, and I guess it may have hindered my opinion on it. Honestly, it bores me a little in some spots... Maybe it has to do with some of the pacing. The Dr. Hackenbush scene on the telephone always blows me out of the water. It's so hilarious.

      Honestly, I could not tell you the name of the Abbott and Costello movie I saw... I've seen one, I think. LOL I can't remember. They certainly do not leave an impression on me. Perhaps that's not a good judgement on my part, seeing as I have not seen very much of their work - At least not on a full scale.

      At War With The Army! Yes, that was the one. Actually, I can't believe I admitted to watching any of their work... I've seen probably a couple more of their films. *reputation shatters* ;)

      Oh... I don't even know where I am anymore. I'm rambling. Sorry for not replying for a while, my bad. But speaking of comedy, I just got Buster and Arbuckle's collections (vol. 1 and 2) in the mail and I am so excited.
      • All I've gotten my parents to watch as far as silents go are The Kid and The General... And it took an awful lot of conniving.

        I think At the Circus is underrated... Although again on the topic of things I hate in Marx Brothers movies... That "Two Blind Loves" song in the aforementioned film. It is one of the most annoying things I have ever heard.

        A Day at the Races could do with a better editing job... It's actually the longest of their movies. And YES, the phone scene is possibly my favorite part. "I'm sorry, sir, but there's a hurricane blowing down here, and you'll have to talk a little louder." XD

        Lol, I've also seen several Martin and Lewis films. I definitely would've stopped at one, but Dino... Okay, the next time I want to watch Dean in something, remind me to watch Rio Bravo again... Or, well, just about anything sans Jerry.

        Nice, I don't have those Keaton/Arbuckle collections, in fact I haven't even seen a Keaton/Arbuckle short... I have the big Kino set and the TCM set, and frankly I'm content with those; I've already spent enough money on Buster. XD
        • Have you ever seen Some Came Running with Dino? Obviously you probably have... I don't know why, but that movie just does nothing for me. It turned me off to Dean Martin entirely.

          Oh boy, I'm not urging you to buy them or anything - I watched Vol. 2 last night and it was so funny. I mean, what more could want with Fatty playing king and Buster (+wig) as his flirty queen. LOL. And one of the scenes from Goodnight Nurse! had Buster flirting with Fatty whom he thought was a new nurse. Watching Buster attempting to keep any sort of composure during that was just priceless. Really, its like a totally different actor... Buster is so animated. It was almost, eh, creepy - seeing him smile and laugh so much!
          • Yeah, I like Some Came Running... Big, glossy 50s melodrama, but it's a pretty good one.

            I didn't think you were urging me to buy them. ;) Glad you're enjoying them... I'll watch the one on Buster day on TCM next month, yay.

            Buster smiling just seems wrong... Like Harpo talking. But I imagine Buster smiled and Harpo talked often in real life. ;)
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