Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 44

Comedy comes in two forms and ONLY two forms. We've already asked about physical comedy. Now let's talk about verbal comedy.

Who is the best comedic actor for verbal jokes? (and what is their best role)

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I'd have to say a dead heat between Groucho Marx (Duck Soup) and Bob Hope (the Road franchise.) Both had absolutely perfect comedic timing, and Hope is probably more my favorite. I almost picked W.C. Fields, but never really saw enough of his films compared to the other two.

Panelist: ScottDS

After all these years, Groucho Marx is still the master. Jokes, puns, innuendos, songs, monologues... he could do it all. I once showed a friend of mine Duck Soup which is considered their masterpiece. My friend thought Harpo and Chico were crazy and sadistic (in this film, they terrorize an innocent lemonade vendor, unlike their other films where they only terrorize people who deserve it)... but he thought Groucho was ahead of his time and that, if he were alive today, he could be performing the same material on stage. I'd call that a great testament to his talent. "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, which doesn't say much for you."

Panelist: AndrewPrice

When it comes to verbal comedy, nobody beats Nancy Pelosi, but she spends too much time in dramas. So I have to go with George Carlin. Carlin had tremendous insight into the use and abuse of the English language. Unfortunately, he too often got political, but when he stuck to comedy, like his seven words routine or the difference between football and baseball, he was among the best.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Eddie Izzard. He is a wonderful actor, though the only movie I’ve seen him in was My Super Ex-Girlfriend and in The Riches on television which is more of a “dramedy”. His many one-man shows are fabulous. I mean, this guy does an entire riff about the French Revolution that had my doubled over!

Panelist: T-Rav

For sheer volume of self-deprecating humor (often the best kind), I guess you have to give it to Rodney Dangerfield. His "no respect" line is still a part of popular culture. I don't know if it's his best, but certainly Caddyshack would be his biggest hit.

Comments? Thoughts?

98 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Folks, I'm going to be giving away a free, signed copy of Wrongful Death for anyone who leaves a review on Without A Hitch!

If you're interested, here are the details: LINK.

LawHawkRFD said...

I have to go with W. C. Fields. The one-liners were hilarious, and he managed to say the most outrageous things in ways that would get past the censors. He never had to drop an "f" bomb to get a laugh. Godfrey Daniel!

AndrewPrice said...

"One born every minute..." So true! LOL! Great choice.

tryanmax said...

I've always been very impressed with Alan Alda's wit, even to the point of being able to ignore his politics. Actually, his rather self-deprecating role as Alec Baldwin's hippie-dippy biological father on 30 Rock cancels them out a bit.

Also, I am throwing a preemptive S L A P toward anyone who would even think to put Robin Williams on this list.

Anyone said...

Robin fricken Williams, baby!

SLAP!!

Ouch, who slapped me?

tryanmax said...

Aaah! Satisfaction.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Robin Williams built up a ton of goodwill with me early on, when he did Mork from Orson and some of his early stand up. He seemed funny and nice. Then he seemed to develop a schtick around the time of Aladin and I didn't like anything from that era.

BUT I did still have the goodwill, so I was very happy to see him in dramas. Only, they rarely panned out.

tryanmax said...

And due to my age, I am mainly familiar with post-Aladdin Robin Williams. Though I agree that he is a good dramatic actor. My favorite Williams films are all dramas, not comedies.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

There's so many to choose from.
I agree with all the older picks. Can't go wrong with Groucho, Hope, Fields, etc..

I greatly enjoyed Powell's comedic timing and expressions in the Thin Man series.
Also Myrna Loy had some great lines and she pulled them off beautifully, in more ways than one.

A generation or so ago, I loved Dangerfield, Cosby, Carlin, Pryor, Rickles and the always very funny Steven Wright.

As far as more modern comedians, Larry the Cable Guy always cracks me up, as well as Jeff Dunham, Foxworthy, and there are many more that are very good without having to resort to outright profanity a lot (although that's not a disqualifying reason to not like a comedian for me. It can be done. But it can also be overdone).

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Man, you guys are up late, what's wrong with you, LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Yep. And that's always interesting to discover how people have different views because of when they first came across something.

If you asked me for my major memories of Williams, it would be him and Jonathan Winters in Mork.... nanoo nanoo, or him doing standup in the rainbow suspenders. Then he did Hook which wasn't great, but was highly anticipated. After that he hit the skids for a while and I lost track of him. The first film to really get me to notice him again was One Hour Photo which could have been better and The Final Cut which was fantastic -- I reviewed that (here).

I skipped most of the middle of his career or saw it later and didn't like it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I would be remiss not to mention John Candy.
I just loved the guy. A great comedian with a gigantic heart!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I have no idea why I'm up. Normally, I'm asleep at this point, but I got busy writing something.

Cosby ("Noah... build me an ark!"), Carlin ("Mongolian Cluster F*ck"), Pryor ("when you are on fire, and running down the street, people get out of your way"), and Wright ("curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect") are excellent! I would also add Murphy ("Half!") to that list (though he's a little later).

I would not add Joe Piscapo. No.

Andrew Dice Clay was funny for a very brief moment -- his nursery rhymes.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Nice list! Add Steve Martin to it. He was always good at stand up and he played the banjo good enough to play with some of the best!

Some of his earlier films were very good as well, but I can't really recommend anything he has done since the 90's.

LawHawkRFD said...

My other favorite is Leslie Nielsen. Pure goofiness and insane lines delivered with a perfectly straight face. This is a guy who was supposed to be a romantic lead, but found his goldmine in comedy. Unfortunately, toward the end of his life, the movies became formulaic and he was given re-hashed lines from earlier movies or Cuisinart parts which were actually the same movie over and over.

Also underrated is George Hamilton. I still laugh 'til it hurts each time they show Zorro, the Gay Blade (they probably couldn't even make that movie today). He was also great in Love at First Bite.

AndrewPrice said...

Good call on Martin. He was excellent as a guest on SNL. And my favorite movies from him were Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and then a drama The Spanish Prisoner.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, What's funny about Nielsen is that as with tryanmax knowing Robin Williams mainly from the later part of his career, I really first came to know Nielsen from the Police Squad and Airplane movies, i.e. as a purely comedic actor. It wasn't until later that I learned he had been a serious actor early on. He was really good as that as well, especially in Forbidden Planet. It's funny how that works.

George Hamilton. LOL! I've enjoyed his films very much.

Individualist said...

Well if we are talking verbal comedy then let me categorize it this way:

In print Douglas Adams for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

I would give an Honarable mention to Robert Aspryn for the Myth Inc series.

For movies and TV shows Monty Python: They do do a lot of physical comedies but there sketches are the best. My favorites are the Dead Parrot Sketch, The I'd Like to have an Argument sketch and The Holy Grail.

For Stand up I like Carlin, Pryor, but Also Red Skelton was great as well. But I don't know which I'd place as best. Foxworthy should be on the list too I think.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide books. But man have they proven impossible to transfer to the screen. I think you really need to read those to enjoy them.

Monty Python! Good call. They were brilliant!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, great flicks. Also Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which highlighted Martin's ability to make sarcasm so funny (and the scene with Candy where Candy's heart made Martin's character reconsider his cynicism and sarcasm was brilliant.

Sure would've like to see those two together sgain.

Good call on Nielson and Hamilton really made those films hilarious, LawHawk.

LawHawkRFD said...

Oh, and as to Nielsen, he had one of the funniest TV series ever produced. Police Squad, the forerunner of the Naked Gun movies. The series was short-lived, so I have the whole thing on DVD. It's good for cheering me up when I'm in a bad mood.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That was a fantastic series, even though I think it only ran like six episodes? What a great show!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I still laugh about some portions of that movie and I haven't seen it in 20 years -- the pill scene is hilarious!

It's funny how often you think great talent should have gotten together, but they either just never did or they only did once. A lot of the big names of the era -- Martin, Murray, Candy, Belushi, Akyrod, Chase should have made more movies together, but just never did.

K said...

Bill Cosby.

As funny as Eddie Murphy without having to resort to foul language.

Woody Allen (aka Bob Hope) especially his early stuff. :-)

Bob Hope - before he was channeled by Woody Allen.

shawn said...

Emo Phillips. Best story teller out there.

Bob Hope- love me some "Road" pictures.
Bob Newhart- Another great story teller.

Patriot said...

Cheech and Chong Up In Smoke had some pretty funny scenes. Overall though, Groucho........timeless.

Mike K. said...

I loved him in The Fisher King. He came into my bookstore a few times when he was shooting something in the area, and he struck me as painfully shy. He kept calling me 'sir' even though I was half his age. We didn't have a book he wanted, so I ordered it for him. When it arrived and I called the number he left, it was his cell phone, which I didn't expect. Nice guy.

But
I can't stand his rapid-fire schtick, either.

Mike K. said...

Shawn beat me to it--Bob Newhart's delivery always cracks me up, as does his good friend, Don Rickles.

Mike K. said...

I tried downloading it on the giveaway day--because that's how I roll--but it never showed up on the Kindle. I'll try again.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Mike K: I believe it was only Without A Hitch that was free on the giveaway day.

Yes, Bob Newhart has great timing. He's a master at telling stories.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Why am I still up? Am I crazy (that was a rhetorical question, T-Rav) or what?

Floyd R. Turbo said...

William Powell in Thin Man and My Man Godfrey.

Rosalind Russell and Cart Grant in His Girl Friday.

Cary Grant in a dozen other movies.

Claude Rains and Bogey in Casablanca

Floyd R. Turbo said...

R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket

Chevy Chase in Fletch.

Tim Matheson in Animal House

ScottDS said...

As usual, great answers, everybody!

In addition to Groucho, I'd also suggest Chase, Murray, Aykroyd, Martin, and Candy.

While the Three Stooges are known mainly for physical comedy (and rightfully so), they were also great in the verbal department. Every short of theirs has at least one or two clever lines, puns, etc.

As far as standup comedians, the only one I really pay any attention to is Louis C.K. and he can verbally spar with the best of them as far as I'm concerned, though he's more into anecdotes and stories than wordplay.

And great call on William Powell! His voice and mannerisms were the inspiration for Don Adams in the early days of Get Smart.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Floyd, Cary Grant is a good addition. Always a reliable and brilliant actor who could do comedy, drama, action, everything.

Ermey was pretty funny doing his DI thing.
Not to take anything away from his fine example, but there are (or at least was, not sure how it is today) many Drill Instructors who were quite good at verbal comedy...and physical torture.

The best DI's had a plethora of great analogies, metaphors, sea stories and were experts at insultainment. :^)

Outlaw13 said...

Peter Sellers mangling the English language as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films. He also had many killer lines as multiple characters in Dr. Strangelove.

About Drill Instructors, the good ones are great actors because they all have an act they are working to get trainees to do what they want. As soon as the trainee figures out it is an act the task becomes much much harder for the DI.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Floyd: I'm glad you mentioned Ermey, because he set a fine example of an excellent DI (one must also take into account Ermey was a DI from 65-67. The military has learned a lot and forgot a lot since then).

Good DI's took insultainment seriously because they could have fun while still maintaining their military bearing (iow's it sounded okay to the officers...for the most part).

It usually broke up the tension among the recruits that understood or learned to understand it and not take it personally.
None of that goes in anyone's record. :^)

I enjoyed it immensely, once I figured out our DI (company commander for Navy) wasn't personally out to get me, lol.

It really is an art form.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Outlaw: good point. It's all about motivation.
With some rather wicked humor sometimes. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Scott: I didn't know that about Don Adams.
Now that you mention it I can see the resemblance, except that Powell was much more suave and cool that Adam's character in Get Smart.

But in Adam's defense, Get Smart wasn't supposed to be like the Thin Man. Adams did manage to bring some of Powell's mannerisms to his character however, despite the campy nature of the show.

Hell, virtually everything was campy in the 60's.
I always wondered why, even as a kid.
Not that I hate campy, but I can only take so much of it before I hafta go into a cone of silence. :^)

ScottDS said...

Ben -

Speaking of campy, I consider myself lucky that the Family Channel still aired reruns of the old Batman TV series when I was a kid in the late 80s. Of course, at the time I didn't understand the concept of "camp" so I took it all seriously.

Camp can't be intentional either, which is why so many movies that are purposely made to be campy (like Snakes on a Plane or something) don't work.

Get Smart first started airing on Nick at Night in 1991. I was eight years old and became a fan in about five minutes. I still am to this day, and if I ever bump into Steve Carrel in an elevator, I'd have no problem pitching him my idea for a Get Smart movie that does a better job paying tribute to the series! :-)

T-Rav said...

Well, it looks like some people won't be awake again until this afternoon. :-)

I have to say, I kind of liked the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I didn't read the book, so I didn't understand all of it, but I thought the movie was pretty funny. It was part-dry, part-slapstick. Of course, I also have a better opinion of Zooey Deschannel than Andrew does, so that might have something to do with it.

Tennessee Jed said...

early problems with the shake down cruise of my new computer system has just now permitted me to get online. Andrew- Hah, you think you were in early on Leslie Nielson with police squad, etc? Hawk and I first became familiar with him from Tammy and the Bachelor with Debbie Reynolds, and Swamp Fox, a Disneyland t.v. series in the 50's.

That said, best line ever: When Frank Drebbin breaks into the guys office and confronts him, he is asked "who are you? . . . and how did you get in here?" Drebbin responds: "I'm a locksmith . . . and I'm a locksmith!"

Tennessee Jed said...

Should I assume that virtually all the comments from yesterday getting wiped out was a weather related phenomenon?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I loved Get Smart too. I alsao had quite a crush on Barbara Feldmon.

Were you aware that they made a film in 1989 called Get Smart, Again? It was pretty good and funny.

ScottDS said...

Ben -

Of course! It wasn't as good as an episode of the show but it was nice seeing all those guys again and there were some good moments as I recall, including a bizarre scene inside the "Hall of Hush" where everything they said appeared in mid-air.

ScottDS said...

Jed -

I'm no expert but the wiping out of the comments could've been weather-related, or perhaps related to that "leap second".

EricP said...

Dang, USS Ben USN (Ret), you were reading my mind with both Candy (Uncle Buck my fave role of his) and Martin (so many to choose, but his deliveries in Roxanne probably spotlight his verbal talents the most for me).

Not in a class with these guys, but DeNiro's comedic verbal timing skills have typically been impressive, even if the Meet the Parents sequels have become more a parody of them.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I will always remember the fight between Crosby and Prior about swearing, where Prior said, "tell Bill Cosby to have a coke and a smile and f*ck off!"

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, Bob Hope is excellent as a storyteller. Another guy I liked a lot as a storyteller was Tim Conway. He had this hilarious bit about Siamese elephants, jointed at the truck. "And the one would sneeze, the other's eyes would get real big!"

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I never got into Cheech and Chong, but I have liked Cheech a lot as an actor. He fills a very specific role, like in Dusk til Dawn very well.

AndrewPrice said...

Mike, Williams always struck me as a really nice guy as well. He's got a lot of goodwill for me, and I wished his film career had been a bit bigger.


Check under you account in "manage kindle". They may have sent it to the Amazon cloud instead. You can move it around.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Yes, only Without A Hitch was free, and about 27,000 people downloaded it.

I've only heard Bob Newhart on his sitcoms, but I've enjoyed them. He's another guy who is very likable.

As for being up, I finally had to go to bed myself.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I don't like Chevy Chase as much as I should, but the Fletch movies were great.

Rosalind Russell was great. She had tremendous screen presence.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the Golden Age of Standup has passed. In the late 1970s/early 1980s, you had some truly inspired standup acts. Today they tend to copy Seinfeld or Andrew Dice Clay and it strikes me as unoriginal.

On the list: Chase, Murray, Aykroyd, Martin, and Candy, I would also add Murphy, Moranis, and Belushi.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw and Ben, I could imagine the best DIs would be actors. It takes a lot to motivate a varied group of people, so you have to be able to mix force with a light tight touch depending on who you're dealing with. Coaches are the same. The best ones are very good as reading people and finding the right amount of strength of personality to use against each person.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You are correct, some of us definitely needed to sleep in! :)

And yes, I have a very poor opinion of Zooey Deschannel.

You should read the book, it's much better than the film. It's hard to describe, but it's one of the few "zany" books which actually works.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben and Scott, Everything form the 1960s was indeed campy. I can't explain it. I've even seen some Westerns lately which strike me that the television series Batman would be about to walk in at any moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's what I meant -- I first got to know Nielsen as Drebin. So to me, he was always a comedic actor. It wasn't until later that I saw him play the serious roles he'd done for the first half of his career. It was rather surprising.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, We have no idea why the comments vanished. I think it was a blogger error related to some change they made switching from June to July (and in fact, the formatting is a little different this morning behind the scenes). Scott thinks there was a "leap second" which caused it.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, I never think of DeNiro as able to do comedy because he tends to stick to the mobster/cop films, but he does have excellent delivery and he's done some funny films.

ScyFyterry said...

What a great list above and in the comments! I don't know if I have anything to add, except maybe a director -- Mel Brooks.

T-Rav said...

I thought some of Eddie Izzard's stand-up was really hilarious, especially when he gets onto the Nazis and other historical stuff. But I never could get past him appearing in women's clothes when he did it.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, That's an interesting choice. On the one hand, Brooks doesn't have great delivery personally (IMO), but on the other, he's been very good at writing comedy and directing comedy.

Maybe we should add Harold Ramis too?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I've enjoyed Izzard's stand up routines quite a bit. He's a good actor too.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: Thanks a heap. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day humming "Tammy's In Love" and "Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, tail on his hat; Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, nobody knows where the Swamp Fox at." BTW: Did you know that Nielsen himself sang the Swamp Fox theme song?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, LOL! I know that song!

darski said...

I was surprised that Gene Wilder didn't get a major mention. He cracks me up just by showing up.

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - to quote Carson (speaking of comedic timing) "I did not know that" Andrew, I was just teasing you for your (relative) youth. If I could be permitted a quick off-topic question: I don't know if this is a Mac feature or general to the internet or not. As a geezer AND an avowed anti-environmental weenie, I like to have paper copies of a lot of things. There is a feature called "reader" that takes articles from the internet in a more print friendly format. Any chance that could be available here. There are lots of articles I'd like tp print without the scrolls on the side or comments.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Let me look into that. I'm sure there must be something? If I find it, I'll add it. :)

AndrewPrice said...

darski, He does an excellent job and I've always enjoyed his movies! What's interesting about him though is that he's not all that funny, but his movies always make me smile.

Tennessee Jed said...

One of my favorite Hope moments. He had an actress on (I think Jayne Mansfield) He sets up the sequence by coming up with a reason to ask her to get something out of his pocket. She starts to do so and exclaims "oh I feel crazy doing this." Hope deadpans, go a little deeper and you'll feel nuts!" Hope was a master of a dead pan delivery followed quickly by a tight smile and twinkle of his eyes.

ScottDS said...

(Jesus, BH has turned into a f---ing gossip rag today. News stories about Scientology and Jenna Jameson? Really?!?!?)

I like Bob Hope and I can appreciate the talent but the Road movies just didn't do it for me. I understand they were simple diversions for wartime audiences but the schtick wore thin pretty fast for me. I hate saying that since there is obviously entertainment value (and I certainly have no bias against "old stuff"!) but... oh well.

And Andrew, we should definitely add Harold Ramis! Hell, just consider how many classic comedies he was involved with. (Why isn't he getting a Mark Twain prize?)

I miss Rick Moranis!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I've got nine article planned for tomorrow on the break up of Tom and Katie. It breaks my heart. //sniff sniff

What happened to Rick Moranis?

ScottDS said...

Moranis decided to retire. I believe his wife passed away, he had a kid or two, and he realized he needed to be there for them. After a while, he realized he didn't miss showbiz.

But it would be nice if he did, say, the occasional cameo or guest spot or something.

T-Rav said...

I checked out the Scientology piece. I don't know. I think it's a dumb cult but otherwise harmless; then again, they say it's pretty powerful in Hollywood because so many high-profile figures there are members. Can we at least give equal time to the theory that Katie just got tired of Tom jumping on her furniture until it broke?

I second whoever first mentioned Don Rickles, by the way. I was actually going to go with him until I realized I didn't know any big movies he'd been in, so I couldn't answer that part. But he's hilarious (and a big fan of Ronald Reagan, too!).

AndrewPrice said...

Ah. That makes sense. I haven't seen him in a long time, but I hadn't heard he retired. I thought maybe I'd just missed the films he did.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I've always heard that Scientology is a pretty dangerous cult unless you're a celebrity. I want no part of them. Plus, their beliefs are truly idiotic, so I put no faith in the views of anyone who adheres to their views.

As for Tom and Katie, I person don't care either way and my guess is that they just didn't fit together well. Cruise seems like a pretty big asshole after all.

The only Don Rickles movie I know is a minor role in Kelly's Heroes, though I'm sure I've seen him elsewhere.

ScottDS said...

Didn't Rickles show up in a lot of those corny beach movies in the 50s and 60s?

He and Don Adams were friends and Rickles did an episode of Get Smart which they had to turn into a two-parter because of their constant goofing off!

Funny stuff!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Rickles showed up in a lot of things, but I can't honestly place him anywhere in particular.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I honestly don't know much about it. I've heard the basics about Xenu and all, but I know nothing about how they operate. I can't say I care to get better acquainted with them, either.

Some guy on a website somewhere put up a list of the seven biggest actors to have completely sabotaged their careers, and Cruise snagged the #1 spot--not so much because of what he'd done to himself, since he did at least partially recover from the couch-jumping incident, but because of what he'd done to Katie Holmes. As the list pointed out, this was a woman who in just six or seven years went from a film like Batman Begins to a minor role in freaking Jack and Jill. Too bad.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, From what I've read, if you are a celebrity, then little changes. But for non-celebrities, they end up signing over assets and doing the whole "prisoner of a cult" thing. And lots of people seem to sue them when they finally get away from them.

I think Cruise has made himself into a parody in many ways with his personal life for a long time now.

Mycroft said...

I have to agree with Cary Grant. He was a master of comic delivery. The Philadelphia Story is one of my favorites.
But what about Tim Allen. His standup routine was great and Home Improvement was solid entertainment (even though it stayed on the air too long). While his movie career hasn't been great, he did give us Galaxy Quest and the best Shatner performance other than the original. And his new show, Last Man Standing is great.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, I never saw Allen's standup routine. I did enjoy Home Improvement for the most part, but yeah, his film career has been pretty weak.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Rickles really shined in those Dean Martin roasts. He was the best roaster, LOL.
He's one of the rare comedians who can come up with great insults (some that hit close to home) but he's such a nice guy you know he means no ill will.

However, I can also relate to the exasperation he exudes when he's dealing with fools (or someone acting like a fool).

That's a very fine line to walk because if a comedian comes across as too caustic he can turn his audience against him or her.
Or be completely and pathetically unfunny like a Margaret Cho.

Rickles otoh is classy and he knows what works.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Eric!

Aye, DeNiro dous a great job most the time when he does comedy in his films.

I think Robert Downey is absolutely brilliant when he does comedy.
He really gets into his characters.
Particularly in Tropic Thunder, but he's also a natural at Iron Man and understands that character's wit.

I hope to see him in more comedy films, or films with comedy.
His acting range is amazing.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Roasts is where I know Rickles best. He's the master at doing roasts. He's got that biting sense of humor, but doesn't cross the line into vile, which so many modern people do. Half the time with modern roasts, I cringe instead of laugh. But with Rickles I always laughed my ass off.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Downey Jr. was fantastic in Tropic Thunder!

I've seen Downey in several comedies and I think he's been excellent.

EricP said...

Nice call with Downey, Jr. Re-watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang recently and, yeah, he's working with spit-fire excellence via Shane Black's dialogue, but he still had to deliver it spit-shine perfectly ... and did.

As for DeNiro, Andrew, no love for King of Comedy, or more than holding his own getting laughs alongside Charles Grodin's dry wit in Midnight Run? C'mon, man, give a little love. ;-)

Throwing some love Kevin Kline's comedic way, too. Fish Called Wanda's vulgarian "mini-logue" an all-time classic.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Actually, I've been thinking about Midnight Run ever since DeNiro's name came up. I used to love that film, but didn't see it for years. Then I saw it again about a year ago and I couldn't believe how awesome it was! It totally withstood the test of time. That is a great film! :)

And you're right, DeNiro absolutely holds his own.

I love Fish Called Wanda! That's one of those films with everything to love, and Kevin Kline made that film. "Kkkk Ken is coming to Kkkkill me!" "Asssshole!" LOL!

EricP said...

No longer ... disappointed!!!

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, LOL! Don't worry, I share your taste in films! :)

Commander Max said...

Nobody mentioned Buddy Hackett and John Belushi. Two guys that can make a face, and your on the floor.

My favorite line of Hackett's was in, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World".
"...except you lady, you can just DROP DEAD!"
"Now we all can agree on that" Johnathan Winters.

I really liked Belushi in, "1941".
"Turn this sub around, we are going to Tokyo."
But then there was a lot of funny stuff in that movie, I think I'm the only one who liked it.

There are to many funny people to mention.

rlaWTX said...

I am so glad Cary Grant was mentioned!
R.Russell is amazing (Love Auntie Mame!!!!!!)

Foxworthy is hysterical! And so is Jeff Dunham - he makes me forget that the dummies aren't autonomous!!!! And he has figured out how to be un-PC - have Peanut or Walter say it!

In college a friend had one of Cosby's records: Obie-Kabie, My name if Jeffwy and I am fo years old, and chocolate cake for breakfast!! [apparently he did cuss some live - my conservative parents walked out on one of his concerts - but they would NEVER have even gone to Carlin's)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, My father is a huge fan of Jeff Dunham. He never misses his show.

I never had any of Cosby's records, but I heard all the routines. He was hilarious!!

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Belushi was great. He had an incredible ability to just make you laugh with his face.

That actually brings to mind Jim Carey. I know a lot of people love him. I thought his humor was ok, but I think he's done much better in drama like The Truman Show.

EricP said...

Commander Max, you are not alone with your 1941 love. Matter of fact, do believe I'll make it part of my ever-growing Blu-ray collection this week.

I will now kick myself for omitting Belushi and/or his expressive eyebrows.

EricP said...

Nope, guess I have to stick with the 1941 DVD ... for now.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, He's got amazingly expressive eyebrows. I particularly liked their use in Blues Brothers when he's seducing Cary Fisher. LOL!

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