Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What's Never Not Funny?

Enjoyable, profanity-laced round table in the August 2010 Esquire (hat tip: Throwing Things) on the inexhaustible subject of what is never not funny. The players: Judd Apatow, John Landis, Adam McKay, Todd Phillips and Edgar Wright.

What's Never Not Funny?

The piglet in Nanny McPhee dares you not to laugh.
The piglet in Nanny McPhee dares you not to laugh.

Enjoyable, profanity-laced round table in the August 2010 Esquire (hat tip: Throwing Things) on the inexhaustible  subject of what is never not funny. The players: Judd Apatow, John Landis, Adam McKay, Todd Phillips and Edgar Wright.

An excerpt:

Adam McKay: Animals. We always have animals in our movies—bears in Anchorman, a cougar in Talladega Nights, a German shepherd in Step Brothers.

Judd Apatow: True. Narcoleptic dog videos on YouTube: Never not funny.

Todd Phillips: What about talking animals?

McKay: Ooh. Todd just found the hole in the argument. Animals talking are very rarely funny. But animals behaving as animals—always funny.

In general outline, I agree -- and must add that the piglets in Nanny McPhee Returns [pictured] had me in stitches. But that rare exception to the talking-animals-are-not-funny rule: Babe. Confession: while I didn't love the movies, I laughed at Drew Barrymore's voice as the Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bill Murray's as Garfield and Owen Wilson's as Marmaduke.)

Other things never not funny: Steve Martin's deadpan, Diane Keaton's dither, Groucho Marx punctuating a crack with a puff on his cigar, Chris Rock's bug eyes,  Bill Murray's "we-are-not-amused" silences, Queen Latifah's "he didn't just say that, did he?" doubletake, Cary Grant's triple-take, Hugh Grant's polite stammer, Owen Wilson's coinages (chipichawa, kachow!), the leopard in Bringing Up Baby, Asta (the wirehair terrier in The Thin Man and The Awful Truth), Gromit (of Wallace & Gromit), Monty Python...

Thoughts? Nominations?

 

Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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