Sunday, February 17, 2008

Funny versus Hunky

There was a recent discussion about our fave characters in some of our fave telly programmes. 

Grissom from CSI featured heavily with MM threatening bodily harm for jello-stakes at this grey-haired, epitome of nerd appeal. Hey, I like him too but am still shallow enough to find Warrick much more my speed. 

Still, it made me think. I know of many very funny and intellectual blokes who, at first glance, look like the fella who used to sit at the front of the class and wore coke-bottled glasses. Yet, in their adulthood, many of them scored supermodelly stunners.


Because I think a lot of women would take funny over hunky.

Better yet, couple funny with intelligence and you'll have women falling over themselves. Usually in surprise. Which is then a good time to swoop in for the kill.

Some of my friends are stand-up comics. One of them has harvested a career on a bumbling village idiot routine. For some reason, many people think stand-up comics are idiots just because they make a living out of punch lines. Or in Steve Martin's case, non punch lines.

Do they have any idea how hard it is to come up with funny material that works again and again and is fresh and disarming? The mental dexterity to produce instant, cutting one-liners to fend off hecklers? 

I've seen my friend work material over and over again just for that split second of laughter. His usual genial, plump face would furrow and he would chew on his lip till it bleeds as he torments himself over lines and pentameter. 

Being funny is hard work. 

I see it like art. It is no less than what we do to find that perfect balance of beauty, expression, ego, total submission, giving, control, vulnerability and strength. There is a trust and blind faith in what you do. Being out there places everything you are into the hands of a bunch of people you do not know. Your sense of self is up for rendering or lifting.

One of my favourite comediennes is Steve Martin. He never fails to slay me because his comedy is of the sneaky, intelligent humour that can still lapse into total slapstick and physical goofiness that completely throws you off.

He looks like your boring uncle who might show up in an Argyle sweater & socks. He tells the jokes that makes your uncle pee in his Argyle sweater & socks. 

When I read an article in The Smithsonian website about how he derived his blend of comedy, it solidified a very healthy respect for and admiration of this superbly talented man. 

Go there and read up his i
nsightful and well-written article if you have the time. I throughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to getting his book.