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
Great as usual. I love slapstick, and you hit on all the funny ones. Loved it,. D
I wish Dr Ross was taking new patients!
Claudia. Because of my severe hypochondria, I can’t watch medical shows. At. All. I couldn’t even watch Marcus Welby, MD! I couldn’t even see the movie Dr. Detriot–and that isn’t even about a medical doctor! I’ve been told by every doctor who has had the displeasure of examining me that I need anti-anxiety medication before each doctor visit. I just can’t……I can feel my throat swelling up now…
I’m so sorry to hear that, Catherine — hopefully, you won’t go through those visits too often! By the way, I love your blog and your full-hearted approach to being our age. You go, girl!
As usual, I was so overcome with anxiety about the Doctor post that I replied to the wrong post!!!
Slapstick. Yes. I have what is probably THE most immature and low-brow sense of humor and the physical always gets me going. I think one of the funniest scenes of all time is the bathroom scene from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” I can’t get past it without going into a full-blown laughing fit.
And “I Love Lucy”–I still watch the reruns. Bonaparte almost too me to the emergency room when I stood up and started singing “Queen of the Gypsies” from the I Love Lucy episode. He thought I fell and cracked my skull and damaged the gray matter.
And three of THE funniest scenes from any movies I’ve ever seen were from French films–in fact Bonaparte and I were discussing this over the weekend. And you don’t even need to understand French because all three scenes, have no spoken words.
1. Jean Dujardin in “OSS 117. Google OSS117 Bambino and watch the YouTube Clip. Dujardin’s face says it all–he DOES sing but it is one of the funniest scenes ever.
2. The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. Louis De Funes as a very biased Catholic who, through mistaken identity, poses as a Rabbi. There is a scene where he is greeting people, a group of religious Jews in Paris in the Marais and he gives them the sign of the cross. It’s hysterical.
3. Pierre Richard in The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe–which (shameless plug) was directed by my husband’s uncle, Yves Robert. Knowing the back story makes the scene even funnier. Pierre Richard was invited up to Mereille Darc’s apartment (I forget the character’s names in the movie). Yves wanted some true surprise element and he didn’t tell Pierre about the dress that Mireille Darc was wearing. Since Darc wasn’t busty, but had a great ass, the dress Yves had her in a dress that literally, the back came down so low it showcased her crack. It was amazing! In the movie, when she turns around, and he sees the dress, the scene that follows it laugh out loud funny.
Jesus, I’ve written a ridiculously long comment–I’m sorry but I couldn’t help it. I love humor!!!!!!!
I’ll have to check those out. And humor is wonderful — it’s the only way I know to get through the tough stuff!