Saturday, April 27, 2024

Humor today

Fawlty Towers is about to reappear, this time on stage. I bought the entire series on DVD some time ago. It's funny. John Cleese on humor:
.... In comedy, context is everything: part of the problem with humour today is that people have lost sight of that. Some people still think “The Germans” is controversial because of the scene in which Basil imitates the Nazi goose-step, but the only people who have never complained about that episode are the Germans themselves. They know the comedy is never at their expense. Those who do take exception to this episode also criticise the moment in the hospital early on when Basil jumps back on encountering a black doctor. I pinched that from WC Fields, because I thought it was funny. The point of that particular moment is that we are all frightened by whatever is unfamiliar. It’s Basil’s naivety that makes you laugh.

But when people get mired in ideas about comedy and victimhood, they stop thinking. They lose sight of those distinctions of context. I’ve recently been working on a stage show of the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian, which we’re hoping to open in London next year. When we had a read-through in America last year, some of the actors objected to a scene from the film in which Eric Idle’s character says he’s going to become a woman. They said, “We can’t include this scene!” To which I said “Why not? It has amused people for 40 years…” No one was offended until a couple of years ago. ....

These days it’s almost mandatory that everyone gets offended by one thing or another, but it doesn’t breed in you a good state of mental health. A friend of mine who suffered greatly from depression recently underwent cognitive behavioural therapy which is all about reframing negative opinions, changing your mindset. But the extreme woke believe the opposite to this: that whatever you feel about something is entirely valid and should never be questioned. Which basically means Freud was wasting his time. .... (more)
A favorite film of mine starring John Cleese is A Fish Called Wanda.

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