Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category
This interesting piece by Benjamin Wallace-Wells in the New Yorker, which that our political leaders are devolving into a kind of titled aristocracy and royalty in the context, say, of the War of the Roses, during which great struggles were undertaken within the public on which party to support. And those leading the parties might be purely a fiction of position: the person designated to be “x”, but of course succession is never, as we’ve seen, certain. It’s going to make a fantastic miniseries by some future Shakespeare interpreting (and thus shaping) the preceding history of the culture. They have power, but otherwise they are placed by position and cultural role and family connections (just as with royalty and titled artistocrats) and so on. Looking at it from that perspective US political history since (say) 1932 has been extremely interesting.
Aryeh Cohen-Wade writes in the New Yorker:
Listen—to be, not to be, this is a tough question, O.K.? Very tough. A lot of people come up to me and ask, “Donald, what’s more noble? Getting hit every day with the slings, the bows, the arrows, the sea of troubles—or just giving up?” I mean, smart people, the best Ivy League schools.
But I say to them, “Have you ever thought that we don’t know—we don’t know—what dreams may come? Have you ever thought about that?” Ay yi yi—there’s the rub! There’s the rub right there. When we shuffle off this mortal whatever it is—coil? They say to me, “Donald, you’ve built this fantastic company, how’d you do it? How?” And I say one word: “leadership.” Because that’s what it’s all about, is leadership. And people are so grateful whenever I bring up this whole “perchance to dream” thing. So grateful.
And on and on with the whips and the scorns of time and the contumely and the fardels and the blah blah blah.
Then I see a bare bodkin and I’m like—a bodkin? What the hell is this thing, a bodkin? Listen, I run a very successful business, I employ thousands of people and I’m supposed to care whether this bodkin is bare or not? Sad!
And when people say I don’t have a conscience—trust me, I have a conscience, and it’s a very big conscience, O.K.? And the native hue of my resolution is not sicklied o’er, that’s a lie! If anyone tells you that the native hue of my resolution is sicklied o’er, they’re trying to sell you a load of you-know-what. And enterprises of great pith—listen, my enterprises are so pithy. So pithy. Fantastic pith. But sometimes, hey, they lose the name of action, right? I mean, it happens—it happens.
“Romeo and Juliet”
Quiet, quiet—shut up, over there! What’s coming through that window? A light, it is the east, and Melania—you know, people are always telling me, they say, “Mr. Trump, you’ve got a wonderful wife”—Melania, she’s sitting right there. Stand up, sweetheart. Isn’t she a beautiful woman, Melania? Gorgeous. I love women, they love me—and I think we all know what I mean, folks! I’m gonna do so well with the women in November. So well.
Melania’s the sun, is what a lot of people are saying. Hillary Clinton? I mean, with that face? She looks like the moon! She’s very envious, if you ask me, very envious, but can you blame her? Visit Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue—which is the best street in New York, by the way—I mean, who wouldn’t be envious? This moon, Hillary, is sick and pale with grief when she compares herself to Melania, who is a very beautiful woman, I have to admit.
Melania, she’s got a great cheek, it’s a wonderful cheek, a bright cheek, everyone knows it, the stars ought to be ashamed of themselves, ashamed. The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars. As daylight doth a lamp! Look at this, folks, how she leans her cheek upon her hand. If I were a glove upon that hand—first, let me tell you, I think we all know what I would do, because I bought the Miss Universe Pageant, very successful, so I know a thing or two about gorgeous women. And all this stuff about the gloves, and my hands—I have great hands, O.K.? Gimme a break.
. . .
“Macbeth” is particularly telling, so click the link.
In the NY Times, Jason Zinoman has a nice appreciation of Bob & Ray.
I didn’t know about this, but The Wife had me look it up and challenged me not to laugh. I failed miserably. The video shows two outtakes:
Some comedy plays well decades after it was first born. Example:
Other comedy, though still enjoyable, has a more nostalgic appeal: still good, but of another era. Example:
Buster Keaton’s The General belongs more to the first category than the second, IMO. (The link is Prime steaming from Amazon.)
This is all stimulated by this fascinating article about the 100 jokes that shaped modern comedy.
There’s also this wonderful bit:
Modern? or nostalgia?
UPDATE: I love Tom Lehrer:
A humor column in the New Yorker:
A criminal lawyer representing Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli has informed his client that he is raising his hourly legal fees by five thousand per cent, the lawyer has confirmed.
Minutes after Shkreli’s arrest on charges of securities fraud, the attorney, Harland Dorrinson, announced that he was hiking his fees from twelve hundred dollars an hour to sixty thousand dollars.
Shkreli, who reportedly received the news about the price hike while he was being fingerprinted, cried foul and accused his attorney of “outrageous and inhumane price gouging.”
“This is the behavior of a sociopath,” Shkreli was heard screaming. . .