I like to laugh, and I have always loved comedy of the absurd, exaggeration for effect and slapstick comedy. I like to watch and read stories that don’t require any deep thought and have no purpose at all other than to provide fun and laughter.
My all-time favorite movie is The Jerk, with Steve Martin…
”He’s mad at these cans!…That’s all I need, this chair, and this lamp, that’s all I need, this chair and this lamp, and this brush…”
The main character is Navin Johnson, a white kid adopted by a poor family, who thinks he’s the son of a poor black sharecropper, and is very upset when he discovers he’s actually white. The story is full of comedy of the absurd. Navin gets rich, loses it all, is saved by his family and gets the girl (Bernadette Peters). But mostly, it’s a whole lot of fun and nonsense.
Then there was the comedy in Animal House,with John Belushi (his first major film). This movie was about an over-the-top fraternity of regular guys (Delta Tau Chi) at Faber College, at war with the frat full of the rich, famous and successful. It’s also full of over-the-top comedy with food fights, a prank with a horse, some funny sexual content and a whole lot of crazy.
Caddy Shack, with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield is another one that kept me laughing throughout the movie. This one included a lunatic millionaire developer (Rodney Dangerfield), a country club, golf tournament, and Bill Murray as the grounds keeper going one on one with a gopher, and losing badly.
Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman was also a lot of fun, a new take on the horror story. Gene Wilder was ashamed of his heritage, refused to pronounce his name correctly, and the monster was not your everyday Frankenstein monster.
I also really like British comedy, like Fawlty Towers (John Cleese) and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.These guys had comedy of the absurd down to a science. I still watch these shows on Netflix and laugh so much I’ve been known to choke on my popcorn. Bennie Hill and Tracey Ullman were also laugh-out-loud funny.
There are also some funny books out there, like the entire Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I’ve read all twenty-five of those. I also read the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series to my daughters, and we laughed and laughed. If I got another pet, I’d name him, or her, Slartybartfast (sp?).
I know I’m dating myself by writing this blog post, as some of these movies and shows came out as far back as forty years ago. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I’ve started watching reruns of my old favorite comedies. I even bought a box set of DVDs of movies by Mel Brooks, all of which are hilarious.
Maybe I’m just getting old, don’t want to think about it, and it’s a lot more fun to laugh. Maybe I’m sick of all the bad news and political crap on the TV and I’d rather laugh than be so damned serious all the time, pretending that the world is about to end. Or maybe, just maybe, I have always liked the fun of comedy of the absurd, loved to laugh, and I had just forgotten for a while.
Anyhow, I’ll keep watching, reading and laughing. As the song from Spamalot (Monty Python) clearly says, “I’m not dead yet.”