This week we sat down with "Destroy All Movies" author and Jerry Lewis Club founder Bryan Connolly to talk about the phenomenon of Jerry Lewis, the many modes of Jerry (Malfunctioning Jerry, anyone?) and the peculiar directorial style of Jerry Lewis. Then we get into who the present and future hope for screen comedy might be.
An excerpt, on the subject of long, painfully extended gags:
"Not a lot of comedians do that. When you see a Marx Brothers movie, you'll have a scene that's a 10 minute scene like in NIGHT AT THE OPERA when they're all cramming into that one little room but it's something happening for 10 minutes. There's a lot of action, a lot of moving around, a lot of running around, a lot of stuff. Or it will be a long scene of dialogue between Groucho and Chico. And the Three Stooges are like that too and Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello. You can have the joke go on - like "who's on first" can go on for 10 minutes, but they're talking the whole time. It's a back and forth. It's quick.
But the Jerry Lewis thing, and I guess it's most comparable to me to a Jacques Tati thing, where you just let it go with the one thing. It could be totally silent. Blake Edwards was really good at that too, where you just let that one joke kind of go a bit and it's funny, and then it's not funny, because you're like "this is still going", and then it's still going and it's like "ok, this is getting weird and a little uncomfortable" and it just keeps going and that's when it's funniest. It's once you reach that 2 minute mark and you say "this is STILL going, this is amazing."
If you are lucky enough to live in Austin, there will be a Jerry Lewis: Total Filmmaker series in December, starting December 5.
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Here it is if you don't use iTunes.