J is for Jester
When I was a kid comedy was very important.
Comedy was how kids paid each other compliments. Comedy was how we insulted each other. Comedy was how we pretended we didn’t care about either of those things.
People who were funny were usually very popular and, sadly, often those who didn’t do too well with their school work. For those people, comedy was their way of covering up embarrassment.
I guess, that still applies when we are older, doesn’t it? How often do we cover up an awkward moment with a silly joke or comment?
As kids, we watched comedy on television and at the movies. My brother and my cousin used to roll around the floor giggling at the antics of the Three Stooges. (Google image below)
I, too, found them funny, but they were just a bit too slapstick for me.
A more Sophisticated Humour
I liked comedy sketches that depended on words or sounds for their humour. I loved Bud Abbott and Lou Costello doing ‘Who’s on First’. Click on the link to watch the youtube video of these guys doing their routine.
Also, Danny Kaye performing the Symphony for Unstrung Tongue in the Walter Mitty movie was one of my favourite pieces of comedy. Absolutely brilliant.
Danny Kaye (Google image below) was my favourite comedian. He was such a talented man. He could sing, dance, act and, oh my gosh, was he funny! Check out this piece of brilliance from the 1956 movie The Court Jester. This is the Vessel with the Pestle sequence which never failed to reduce me to tears of delight.
Danny Kaye’s rubber face and the hilarious wording of the sequence are fantastic. The skit appealed to my fascination with words back then, and it still does today. My two children enjoyed watching this movie when they were kids too, and would repeat the Vessel with the Pestle lines for hours afterwards.
It’s all in the Timing
Comedy is all about timing and I guess that goes for life too. Get your timing right and everything seems to fall into place. Brilliant!
What made you laugh when you were a kid? I’d love to know. Please share.