Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America"

I love this PBS show. I have been taping it and I've watched the first three hours. Tonight there's another installment. Considering the times we are living in and the stress so many of us are under, it's absolutely delightful to watch these geniuses of comedy and to learn about how they perfected their craft.

Last night I was watching the segment on slapstick comedy, which I'm sure many people don't want to admit they love, but many of the great comedians were brilliant practitioners of it.

I learned that many comedians thought of Charlie Chaplin as a dancer, even more than an actor and he truly was incredibly graceful. And Buster Keaton broke every bone in his body while making his films, including his neck, which didn't stop him from finishing a take.

I loved that Lucille Ball, while doing a show with Keaton, asked him to teach her how to mime for one of the segments. He said, "I don't know how to do it, I just do it." He spent two hours demonstrating and then she performed it as well as he did. What a genius she was to ask for his help. She also admitted on a talk show that in real life she was not at all funny. I can vouch for that, having met her several times.

There were segments on Laurel and Hardy, who were also so funny. Who doesn't remember them dragging a piano up a thousand steps? And Stan Laurel's expressions? And the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, I even felt a new appreciation for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Lewis inspired many comedians, particularly Steve Martin.

I never watched "In Living Color" so I didn't realize just how talented Jim Carrey is.

If you haven't been watching it and you enjoy laughing (and who doesn't) - I recommend this show. It's on Wednesday nights at 8 pm and I believe that there are four shows left in the series.

1 comment:

Mia said...

OMG, Jim Carey is my not-so-secret lifelong crush!