Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hulot and Company

There's something here that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. And dang it, here too. It's not everyone's cuppa, but it suits me.

Then there's Le Jerry. Pick almost anything where he's being "himself". Ponderous. And, slightly off-topic -- although you don't know what the topic is yet ... of course you don't -- take a look at 4:55. It must be a generational thing. How is that supposed to be funny? At least he doesn't use his fingers on his eyes. And here's something from Johnny Carson that's been bothering me for months, at 3:11. Windows into their souls. We're all like that, but we don't do it on television. That makes us better.

The sad fact is, though -- even if I'll never admit it -- Jerry is just like me: so filled with his own self-importance and genius that there's just no space left in the room for air. You'll never see insecurity masked by arrogance so completely. The insecurity is inferred. No one needs to announce that his IQ is 190. What kind of person would do that? It's pathetic. Mine is 164, and it's totally normal to say something like that. He says he's six foot tall. He was five foot ten. Pitiful. Whereas I'm 6'4". And I have a very large nose, and the lumpiest, boniest forehead you could ever see. Magnificent. Jerry's IQ is only 145. He lied about it. Huh. Hmm. I seem to have lost my train of thought. I don't know what I meant when I said he was just like me. What could I have been thinking? Something too subtle for the likes of you to understand.

The problem with Jerry is that the effort shows. You see him trying. Some of what he does is actually very good. If someone else were doing it, it would be very good. But his performances are not authentic. It's a guy doing a silly thing for laughs. So this. The flippers, the way he slaps them louder than necessary at 3:17 -- obvious -- Borscht Belt obvious. The endlessly ringing chimes at 4:17 is actually good, though. He learned his craft from the silent movies -- specifically, Stan Laurel's very early films. Laurel outgrew that early persona magnificently. Jerry is doing the same shtick he did in the forties.

Mr Bean, M Hulot, Jerry -- they exploit the comedy of discomfort. Observations of awkwardness. Tati does it best.

My son used to watch me eat. Or notice me eat. I'd lick my lips just before I took a bite. He laughed and laughed at this little foible. And I had to laugh to, at his delight. That's what's funny. The way we really are.


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