12.01.2006

Age and comedy

I have very little to add to James Wolcott-slash-Ken-Levine post. Except that I was chilled by Wolcott's ending:

What I come back to is the delicate matter of how the inevitable thickening of age leaves so many comic actors looking too old for what they're doing, and how much we can or should overlook it, and make allowances. I'm a big fan of Chistopher Guest, interviewed him for Vanity Fair (drawing quotes from him was like harvesting fog with a butterfly net), yet I've put off seeing For Your Consideration because even in the trailer the cast looks too old for their antics, too encumbered with wigs, glasses, padded wardrobes, and gewgaw jewels--as if they were the stuffed-turkey cast of a Broadway farce. I have too much affection for most of the cast (esp Catherine O'Hara) to watch them labor to so little avail. It's like trying to read S. J. Perelman in his late mandarin phase, his comic spark a faint ember under all those layers of rigamarole.
As an aging writer myself it makes me wonder, Is this me? Have I lost my fastball? And I have no idea whether I have; my shit is still as unstinky and refulgent as it ever was -- to me. But I am more conscious of my bag of tricks as a bag of tricks. That's good because I don't make dumb mistakes. It's bad because at times I think it robs me of enthusiasm, which is the thing I'm most scared of. I don't want to be some hack droning on about how we did it on "Hazel" and worrying about lunch; I want to be excited to go to work.

Fortunately there are still funny (warning: also dirty) posts like this one that make me feel like my appetite for comedy is not yet sated.

UPDATE: How come no one's tried a pilot that a multicultural version of "Hazel"? They tried to re-do "Mister Ed," after all (with Ol' Dirty Bastard's voice as Mr. Ed? I never saw the pilot).

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