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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

by contrast

You know who's NOT funny? Old people.

This saddens me, as I would like to be at least as funny as I am now when I am old. But I don't think it's gonna happen. The funny is a quality of your person that deteriorates like everything else with age. There goes the coordination, there goes the eyesight, there goes the funny.

I started to watch a Monty Python special they're airing on PBS, it's a series with each episode hosted by an original Python, doing an introduction to some of their classic bits, the new material sounded exciting, but sadly there was Eric Idle, embarassing himself by being not at all amusing.

This guy was brave, brave Sir Robin! The Nudge Nudge Wink Wink Guy! He sang all those funny songs! Now here he is doing stale transvestite bits that utterly lack the soul of his original transvestite bits.

Although somehow I do suspect that Cleese will do better.

But Idle has followed Mel Brooks's lead by going to Broadway and saying "Hey, remember how hilarious I was in the seventies? I was pretty hilarious wasn't I?"

Of course, they've both made kazillions of dollars doing so.

But what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

Well, I suppose there's the world. That's something. I don't have that.

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Replies: 4 comments

I just checked and he's actually only sixty three, that's not super-elderly, but you're right, he looks like my grandmother. Oh, Eric Idle, you can retire with dignity and grace my friend, you did well in your day.

I have to say, Eric Idle was probably the weakest of those who appeared in "The Aristocrats." Plus, I don't know how old he is, but it's been a rough however-many years, and he looks it.

I rather liked Fierce Creatures actually. No Fish Called Wanda but it's okay.

The Kids in the Hall actually took cross dressing to a new level by *not making it funny*. They dressed as women out of practicality, to play female characters, not to be funny. Which, come to think of it, is probably what Shakespeare's players did, but I doubt those twelve year old boys played women with the unforced artistry the Kids in the Hall did.

I agree that some of the Pythons have gone the not-as-funny route, but then I had this thought: He's been out of the character for so long that it's harder to get back into now, so it seems a little forced, uncomfortable; kind of like when we meet up with old friends.

The other theory is a Seth MacFarlane observation: the British think men dressed as women is a fantastic knee-slapper, so it's more habit than anything else.

The 3rd theory is that back when Python was writing, the drag bits were fairly edgy. Graham dressed as a woman and hilarity ensued. Maybe it's like 8 year old boys who laugh hysterically at fart jokes and grow up to be men who still laugh hysterically at fart jokes, even when they're more banal than they were during childhood, like my husband or Kevin Smith.

Don't forget that Cleese has had his bombs as well -- Fierce Creatures, anyone?

However, I think that anytime you spend the rest of your life "working off" some past brilliance, your soul probably already needs help. It's like high school football heroes who grow up to be car salesmen and never let anyone forget their past glory.

That sounds pretty cynical. Do I make sense at 6am after being up all night?

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