Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another fine mess

Laurel and Hardy
"Where do you get your warped sense of humour", I was recently asked; which led to a conversation about these two influences. They are to blame, well when I say blame, I mean they may be partly responsible. You see I grew up laughing my ass off at the chaotic, weird and wonderful situations they got themselves into.

I distinctly remember all those little quirks Stanley would do which drove Oliver mad - such as him being able to light his thumb simply by flicking it, him being able to raise his hat off his head by blowing his thumb and my favourite the ear and nose holding trick (simple yet very confusing for many)

I also recall with fondness that wonderful little tune - The ku-ku song; in fact whenever anyone would annoy me with their incompetence I would whistle it. My ex understood the reference and would give me bad looks or nudge me when she caught me doing it, I didn't even realize myself sometimes!

How about a little history lesson, are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.
Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965) was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Lancashire, England.
Laurel began his career in Glasgow Britannia Theatre. He gradually worked his way up the ladder of supporting roles until he became the featured comedian, as well as an understudy to Charlie Chaplin. He emigrated to America in 1912 where he decided to change his name; he worried that was too long to fit onto posters.

Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892 – August 7, 1957) was born Norvell Hardy in Georgia, USA. Upon turning 18, he changed his first name to that of his father who had died years earlier, henceforth calling himself Oliver Norvell Hardy.
By his late teens Hardy was a popular stage singer, and he operated his own moviehouse. He thought he could do better than some of the movie comedians he was presenting, so in 1913 he became a movie actor.

The humor of Laurel and Hardy was generally visual with slapstick thrown in, for me my first taste of Vaudeville. The basis of their films were simple plots with a lot of comedic moments, usually involving Oliver taking the brunt of the misfortune. They made silent films, "talkies", b&w films and colour and several feature films.

To me they are legends, and below is a small sample of a typical Laurel & Hardy moment, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

and this is how they would look today

There were of course other early influences which get a honorary mention - The Two Ronnies, Rowan Atkinson, Abbot and Costello, Monty Python, Tommy Cooper, Lenny Henry, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and of course the many many Carry on episodes. I know there were many others but these stand out the most.
Who were your influences and why?


Irish Gumbo said...

Three Stooges - comicus Prime for young lads
Richard Pryor - because he taught this white guy how to make fun of white people
Eddie Murphy - see Richard Pryor
Robin Williams - because he made channeling spirits an absolute gas
Monty Python - well, for it all!

Thank you for the follow on Irish Gumbo! I appreciate the eyes on the page. Welcome aboard!

And where does one train to be a professional nomad?

Unknown said...

Barbara Streisand is probably the reason for my wicked humor as my my mother refers to it, I can't help bubbles up and you gotta let it out right?

? said...

This brings back some beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.

Anonymous said...

I love Three Stooges... Thank you for sharing this story with us.
See you around.

Anonymous said...

I love Laurel and Hardy, you cant any better than them. I enjoyed watching the vids, bought back some memories. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, there was this funny guy in Spain a couple of years back, who could't get the queimada to catch fire ....

How you doing, Dade? Maybe see you in March; I'm booked on Programme 142



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