By Cory Doctorow at 3:19 pm Fri, Mar 9, 2012
Just look at him.
“Grandpa Carrot Top, tell me about your days in Vaudeville.” — Carrot Top
Ha, I was going to say Gallagher’s grandfather.
No, it’s more like the reverse Carrot Top – the more crap he pulls out of his bag of tricks, the *better* the act gets.
Was that the right video? Because I’ve seen this guy perform where he produces oodles of bananas to just look at.
I saw the title and came here expecting this banana man.
I was expecting this banana man:
Now just look at this one:
And now we know why vaudeville is dead – it wasn’t funny.
Red Skelton in 1939. Wow. I remember him from the electrical tele-vision programs of the previous century.
built a tube TV yet? :)
I don’t know anything about the history of humor but I find these old clips fascinating. They’re not exactly funny but I feel as if they give us a look or insight into the 19th century European street humor. Some (the 3 Stooges) seem based on the cruelties of daily life in an environment that was especially hostile to the poor. Kind of like looking very closely at a Breugel painting.
Banana Man with actual bananas, here:
Humor comes from suffering. It’s a survival tactic to deal with it. That’s why there are no funny people who were born rich and/or privileged , at least I can’t think of one.
Patton Oswalt? Bill Hicks was at least upper-middle class, too.
I was expecting this Banana Man
This man epitomizes America’s wasteful consumerist culture. And boy it sure is entertaining!
Can anyone ID this banana-dance?
sigh… I know about this:
Don’t anybody mention “intersex” because you’re bound to get it wrong. Sex is not gender! or whatever. Christ, what an ambiguous hole.
This operates entirely outside of the idea of funny – while there are bits of humor they seem almost like asides, when the speaker who is telling you something important about beauty has to break for a bit of levity. The video has intensely strange transitions, moments where abrupt changes happen so fast and so smoothly that they are almost completely baffling. It sort of feels like “Oh, a dude in a funny suit so’s I should be laughing” but when that suit becomes a dress and then that dress refolds into an entirely different suit in two smooth moves it’s like magic. And it’s only “like magic” because a stage magician sets you up for every trick, this guy just does ‘em and he does them so fast that I didn’t see it happen – I can only remember that a half second ago he didn’t have gigantic novelty facial hair and now he does.
This feels too sophisticated for an audience today, I’d love to better understand the mindset that saw this stuff in vaudeville and on TV – it seems more open to wonder than what we have today.
Actually this guy operates on a level I wish still existed nowadays. Because nowadays everything seems to be wrapped in ironic distance and general distance. There used to be a level of wry humor even in non-comedy movies—like action films—that just doesn’t exist today and I think there is something wrong with that. A guy like this is really on the deep end, but honestly what he did—and the career he had—is fairly astonishing.
Jake, the same thing is going on in the art world, the distancing from real feelings and emotions. I wonder if people are afraid to commit themselves to a viewpoint or somehow expose their vulnerabilities.
I don’t know if it’s fear of committing to a viewpoint as much as not being able to grow past a certain level of rebellion to something new. I mean, it’s one thing to grow up in the staid suburbs and then decided to be a punk as a contrarian. But then there are folks who stay frozen in that level of “The opposite is good! The norm is bad!” If one has successfully subverted something by being contrarian, then they should grow to be more confident in their new position to explore new ideas. But most people don’t. Part of me wants to say it’s the newer/faster media age we live in preventing folks from being able to fully digest and synthesize new ideas, but some people are just lazy… And maybe they are also fearful of committing to new ideas. Who knows. All I do know is that I am tired of dour negativity in entertainment & art.
Maybe we can differentiate between negativity and emptiness of thought. Or, maybe what you’re saying is an “ironic” negativity fills the void of new ideas and brave, honest emotional statements made in the name of art. Yes, that stance is interesting when you’re 16 but after living a life for a few more years it just seems juvenile and as you said, stuck in an itellectual and creative rut.
How do ya like these
this appears to be quite funny
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bananas, happy mutants, just look at it, Old school, video, youtube
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