I like to think that I have a very good, very broad sense of humor. Sophisticated enough to enjoy the stylings of Frasier and Niles Crane (and Lilith, of course). Smart enough to appreciate the social and political satire of Jon Stewart and the sheer brilliance of Robin Williams. And — and this is the one that gets me through the day these days — silly enough to crave the physical comedy of slapstick.
Maybe it’s because I’m sometimes like a piece of walking — or tripping — slapstick myself. Maybe it’s because I grew up on I Love Lucy reruns and cannot eat a piece of chocolate without thinking of Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory. Or maybe it’s because the world is such an insanely out-of-control place right now that the absolute absurdity of slapstick is what’s required to maintain one’s sanity.
Following are just a few snapshots of slapstick that make me laugh every time I see them — until whatever I’m drinking comes out my nose. (Some purists might argue that not all fit the strict definition of slapstick — but to me, if it’s funny, it’s funny. Honk, honk.)
- Anything Marx Brothers
- Anything I Love Lucy (shout-out to the bread-baking episode)
- The lobster-behind-the-refrigerator scene in Annie Hall
- Julia Roberts’ character attempting to sit on the bed but landing on the floor, while never pausing her phone conversation, in My Best Friend’s Wedding
- The Emma Stone / Ryan Gosling Dirty-Dancing-lift scene in Crazy, Stupid Love (she’s so adorably funny that it gets slapstick points)
- Barbra Streisand in the roller-skating production number in Funny Girl (so funny that I fell off the couch — my own personal slapstick moment)
- The Puttin’ on the Ritz tap-dancing scene in Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle
- Rowan Atkinson as the store clerk meticulously wrapping a gift for Alan Rickman’s impatient character in Love Actually
- Carol Burnett wearing the living room drapes, curtain rod included, as Starlet O’Hara in the parody Went with the Wind
Check these out if you’re seriously in need of funny — giggles and guffaws guaranteed. And do yourself a favor. Take a break from the 24/7 news cycle and try a 24/7 laugh cycle. Or a ride on a unicycle. Or a ride on a unicorn.
Just don’t break your funny bone.
ⓒ 2017 Claudia Grossman