Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"How are YOU?"

I take comedy very seriously.  With the recent dvd release of The Three Stooges, people ask my opinion of the film.  I haven't seen it.  They are then even more surprised when I tell them I never liked the original Stooges.  Not a fan.

I've never found stupid, funny.  Slapstick turned me off almost immediately as a child.  Pies in the face ended when I was five in Detroit, where Soupy Sales started.  Strange humour made me laugh, which is why I gravitated to Ernie Kovacs, Stan Freberg, Mad magazine, Senor Wences, Jonathan Winters, the early pre-Muppets on Jack Paar's Tonight Show and stuff on Steve Allen's programs.

Sight gags where people got hurt: Little Rascals, Stooges and massive chunks of Laurel and Hardy...I tuned out.  Visual humour that was surreal or sublime, like Jacques Tati.  Now, that got my attention.

As a kid, I loved humour and horror.  My Mercury in Libra, the two poles of my nature ("Two Poles walk into an appliance store...").  But I didn't like to mix the two.  Of course, looking back I can see I had a macabre sense of humour.  I enjoyed Gahan Wilson's horror cartoons in Playboy (the third h: hedonism) as well as Charles Addams' earlier ones.  Birthing Muppets were almost always monster driven, creature eating sketches.  Ernie Kovacs sight gags had a ton of carnage in them.  And wasn't Alfred Hitchcock always finding a laugh in death in the opens and closes of his show?  How droll!

And speaking of droll: even more amusing to my childlike attention than Hitchcock was the introductions by author Roald Dahl to a short-lived TV series called Way Out.  This program replaced an ill-fated game show with Jackie Gleason on Friday nights.  9:30 P.M.  Just before Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone.  Dahl's intros were like a Welsh psychedelic variation of Serling's.  Both smoked like fiends.  But while Serling came off as a standing, professorial Hugh Hefner, Dahl, full headed, sat in front of a TV monitor with his Medium Big Brother image repeated in the screen behind.  His gallows humour, more often than not, accentuated the deadliness of the female to the male, or how wives and husbands were always plotting to kill each other.  The show had a disembodied surrealism about it and included an all electronic score.  Very cool for Summer 1961.  I've revisited some of the shows on the U-Haul Cathode.  Try to see the ones with the original ads for L&M cigarettes.  Remember...the secret is Flavor Seal, plus the Miracle Filter.

Of the three hosts, Hitchcock, Serling and Dahl...I preferred el S & D.  Probably because they were writers first and foremost.  And so trippy.

Well, I've slided off topic again.  Humour.  Slapstick versus Slipstream.  I was going to mention how Jacques Tati in M. Hulot's Holiday predated and "inspired" Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards in the original Pink Panther.  Clouseau is Hulot, but with radio sound.  Even the coat and hat.  Edwards riffing on Mack Sennett, ends his film like Tati, with fireworks and chaos.

So American comedy is like being in the produce section, selecting tomatoes.  Pick and choose.  The Marx Brothers.  High brow/low brow.  Ripe gems or bruised fruit.  Take your pick.

More to come on this...

Otherwise...illustration for Blog de Jour (Steve McQueen and Catherine Deneuve have hot sticky sex in the afternoon as directed by Bunuel) is another obscure objet d'art by David Fontana.  It's yours trolly, enjoying the fine products of the fabulous Nippon Gin Company.  In this case, it's once again a nice glass of Rodan Light White Wine.  And sharing in the company are my two favourite tiny female Asian twins, spokesmidgets for Mothra Party Mixes.  Sing the theme: "Mozz Ue Rahhh...Party Mix.  Mozz Uh Rahhh...Party Mix."

Space Pirate Radio would never have lasted as long as it did if it wasn't for the faithful support of the Nippon Gin Company.  Do listeners recall when Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band did the first celebrity ad for Rodan Light White Wine?  "A cheeky, spiritual wine," he called it.

G3: "I understand Robin, that if anyone serves you any other wine than Rodan Light White Wine, in a rather delightful way you...sort of leave."

RW: (in a totally different French voice) "This wine, it has affected my personality...markedly."

One sip...and you too, will say...