Friday, September 4, 2009

Classic Comedy...the REAL funny!

I know that when I ask "Whatever happened to class?", I'm going to come off like a bad riff on the CHICAGO musical, so why not just set the tone for the piece straight off?

Mama: Jesus Christ! Ain't there no decency left?

Velma and Mama: Nobody's got no class!

Mama: Every guy is a snot.

Velma: Every girl is a twat.

Mama: Holy shit.

Velma: Holy shit.

Mama: What a shame.

Velma: What a shame.

Velma and Mama: What became...of class?

(lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb)


This comical hypocrisy makes light of my anguish, but it's a legitimate complaint;
What happened to all the funny?

I can't recall the last time I saw anything genuinely funny...that was new.

Every 'comedy' is either a pale reimagining of a prior classic or some endless string of crudities. (No, not raw vegetables.) It's embarrassing. Humor and comedy is not rocket science.

All the old school stuff is still remarkably hilarious. Our Gang/Li'l Rascals, Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello hold their own to this day; the trappings of dated references do not hinder the genius of the material. Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett are entertaining their 6th and 7th generations of fans thanks to television syndication.

Crudeness is not the problem. Redd Foxx was crude. Martin Lawrence is crude. Brett Butler is crude. Judy Tenuta is crude. Richard Pryor was crude. The thing is, they had content to back their shit up tight. (And they were capable of reigning in the 'badness' and still remain hilarious.) Bernie Mac was crude, but he was a character, and he could make talking about going to the grocery store a riot.

These days it's just "How many obscenities can I string together to impress someone with how little class I have in a public setting? Not to mention how little actual talent I have?"

I love M'onique in movies where she plays a character, because she is a genuinely funny personality. But I can't watch her stand-up because it's just vulgar. There is such a thing as Too Much Information, and the line has been crossed. She's not alone, though. Sommore is the same way; funny lady, but 'too much' in her routine.

John Witherspoon is a side-splittingly funny comic that kills even in a goofy WB sitcom. He doesn't have to be obscene in order to get a laugh. He has been nasty as all-get-out on occasion, but that's funny in its time and place.

Here's the thing; crude is only funny when it is unexpected and rare. When it is used deftly as a highpoint of low point. Sparingly.

When you beat it to death, it loses impact. ALL IMPACT. It becomes pedestrian and banal.

Look at all the 'college-age' spate of so-called comedies from the last decade. They increasingly lower the bar on what the actual dialogue quality is and what the actual jokes are. It's nothing but gross-outs and nonstop obscenity.

Paul Rudd is a talented guy. Judd Apatow is a tremendous writer and funny dude. But they have found a niche for just writing generic gross-out sludge. Obviously it sells well enough that they can continue to crank out film after film of the same thing by simply changing the character names and geography. No, I'm not hating; I expect more from them. (From Hollywood, not so much.)

You can be funny on television. But you have to be unique, finding your own voice instead of copying what has worked before. I don't claim that there is one kind of funny and that I know it. But it is obvious when someone is not even trying.

'Seinfeld' was humor that took a while not only to find an audience that appreciated it, but also to win over the larger audience as they acclimated to its 'strangeness.' The show 'Popular' had difficulty finding an audience because it was dark humor for adults masquerading as a teeny-bopper show. 'All in the Family' was both stark and controversial, but it was as funny as the day is long. There are a lot of ways to cut a pie. Just make sure what's in it is worth eating.

Martin was one of the funniest shows ever made. Brilliant ensemble cast. Deadpan humor. Outrageous and over-the-top antics that bust a gut. But it had the misfortune of being up against the Friends-beast on a rival network and could not get a hold deserving of its content.

There can even be "Funny in Spite of it all" shows. 'The Jeffersons' was not comedic writing at its best. But stellar performances stood out and gained an audience. 'What's Happening?' was not even Shakespeare's bastard child,. but the cast was incredible and shone brightly. (Shit, Shirley Hemphill could have made scrubbing a toilet humorous.) There are always true comics that can rise above any conditions to get a laugh. Don't tell me that it's all about the writing, and don't tell me you need profanity to sell it.

Ellen DeGeneres has made a career out of clean humor. (No, she didn't make a career out of her sexuality; other people did. And, newsflash; it almost ended her career.) She made a 'conversation with god' into a 20 minute charmed insight on the nature of the universe that could soften the most hardened cynic.

Paula Poundstone, Rita Rudner, Suzanne Westenhoeffer, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and many others are incredibly talented and manage to help people laugh via wit and brain power.

I'll just be happy when the Powers That Be grow a pair and start allowing someone new to come up through the ranks. Individuals are out there with material; they simply have to be allowed access to the public. And consumers have to tell the studios they're tired of the same-old. It's all supply and demand, baby.

I don't think I can watch 'Office Space' or 'Airplane' another time--much as I love them--in lieu of something fresh and funny coming along. But if all else fails, it is good to know they're available.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Today's sampling of hot random wrestlers. Enjoy!

Chris Cage...slick as can be.

Razor Ramone....mmmnnn! Villains rule.
I'm ashamed that I can't recall his name! I wanna say "Murdock'
but I think that's because he reminds me of beefy Matt Murdock's daddy, 'Battlin' Jack Murdock' from DAREDEVIL!

I don't even know who these guys are, but they
look B-A-D, and L'il Robbie LIKES it!
"Let's get ready to RUMMMMBLLLE!"
Marcus Bagwell (Love him!) and
another beautiful hunk (Scottie Too Hottie? Can't recall.)
I'm too lazy to do research on the identities of the beauhunks in these
other photos. Let me know if you're aware of them, please. I just felt like posting some eye candy. (sigh.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

my early undoing...JIM PALMER Jockey ads

I remember back in the day, before the easy-access of Internet porn and gay visibility, when the pickings were slim.
I would periodically page through the magazines in doctor's offices and wait areas. One day, my heart stopped and I could not breathe--in an entirely good way. I had stumbled upon my first Jim Palmer Jockey underwear campaign ad!
Tame by today's standards, it was an exhilarating shock to my fragile young system! This delicious hairy daddy not only half-naked, but ALL OUT! I don't know how many ads I stole from those magazines. One time at the emergency room, I remember doing the dreaded "You're not fooling anybody" sneeze tactic to cover the tearing noise from prying eyes! Oy vey!
I waited with relish for new ads to release. As for my growing collection of erotica, you can let your imagination run wild as to their use!
Thanks, Jim Palmer, for many happy returns.

PATRICK WILSON...Oh. My. Goodness.

I have this sort of....

I hold on to

regarding Patrick Wilson.

See, I grew up in

Tampa, and Patrick's

mom and dad

were locally well known.

There were updates on

the local news

(which Patrick's dad co-hosted)

wherein we would learn all about Mr. Wilson's New York City
stage work. He
was so cute, and talented, and I formed this
pseudo-attachment to the idea that I was "more" peripherally

connected to Patrick than I was, fake husband Luke Wilson.
Ya know, since I actually lived in the same town

with someone who was related to Patrick.
No need for his people to check the databases for stalker references;
It was all perfectly innocent and maintained within my head.
Part of the appeal was his being an 'artistic sort' while his parents were so plainly squares.

I liked the rebel vibe of that whole shtick, and it enhanced the draw.

He has a great Everyday Joe look, with that smoldering intensity brewing.
Obviously, too, he has seen the inside of a gym once or twice. (sigh.)

He's great in everything, but three films stand out as faves.
ANGELS IN AMERICA was transformational on many levels. Very intense.

LITTLE CHILDREN was a brilliant tale of desire, relationships, and playing roles;
not to mention one of the hottest sex scenes ever.
The third is PASSENGERS, which rocked me for several reasons.
So, thanks for becoming a big, successful acting stud and gay icon, Mr. Wilson.
And thanks for the ongoing non-existent love affair in my head.

That is, after all, the most rewarding sort!