Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rant #1,133: Still Funny After All These Years

I do not like modern comedy.

To me, it simply isn't funny.

It is more putdowns than anything else, made to make the person the comedy is being directed at to appear as a fool, an idiot, a stupid person.

To me, that is not comedy.

Comedy is a look at human foibles through the eyes of comics that don't make fun of people, and the laughs are as clean as can be.

Slipping on a banana peel can be funny. Wordplay can be funny.

Making fun of a person's sexuality or body parts is not funny.

It can be, if done by people who know what they are doing, in the right situation, but I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud at jokes revolving around these things.

That is why I always go back to comedy made by comedians who really knew how to make people laugh, comics who knew what they were doing onscreen 100 percent.

That is why I continue to absolutely love the comedy of Abbott and Costello.

Bud and Lou actually came up in the vaudeville and burlesque circuits, so their jokes were not always clean early on, but they learned, with the help of expert writers, how to tone down their material and make it funny for the masses.

Their movies, even to this day, are some of funniest moments on celluloid.

What is funnier, the trash out today or "Buck Privates?"

Sorry, no contest.

And their routines ...

Everybody knows "Who's On First," probably the most famous comedy routine ever, about what players are playing what positions on the baseball field.

However, what is not widely known is that it was originally a "dirty" sketch about body parts, a burlesque standard that the boys' writers took and made clean as a whistle.

Beyond that, they did "Susquehanna Hat Company," the mustard routine (I don't have any idea what its real name is), and so many others that I could be here all day reciting chapter and verse about each one.

Their movies hold up extraordinarily well even 70 years after the fact, and "Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein" has been acknowledged as one of the funniest movies of all time ... and it really is just that.

And their TV show ... well, was there a funnier show ever? It contains all of their routines, and even if you aren't an Abbott and Costello fan, I dare you to sit there through that half hour and not laugh.

That cast of characters--including Mike the Cop, landlord Sidney Fields, Hillary Brooke, Bacciagalupe,  Stinky, and, of course, Bingo the Chimp--make up a supporting cast that is second to none.

When I hear potty mouth comedy that is so prevalent today in movies and on TV, I just cringe, because it just is not funny.

But at least, through the magic of video, I can always go back to Bud and Lou, and other such comedians, like the Three Stooges, and just laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

I have seen their movies and TV shows probably thousands of times, but heck, I still laugh.

And the great thing is, I always will laugh.

When my son was young, I introduced him to the boys, and the Stooges, and he laughed too.

So, there is hope in the comedy area for another generation.

Look, adult comedy is funny when it is done by people who know what they are doing.

But is seems today that all you have to do is get up, use one obscenity after another, and you get laughs like that, without any creativity whatsoever.

Sorry, that is not comedy to me.

Thank goodness for Abbott and Costello.

Now, I ask you ...

Who's on first, what's on second, I don't know is on third base ...

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