Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A soitin musing about Stooges and a sentence about Jerry Lewis

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking til you do succeed" - Curly of The Three Stooges. I said that the other day when helping to put a double-door bar cooler in the upstairs canteen of the local Royal Canadian Legion. One of the executive members who was there burst out laughing and said she never heard that before. That got me to thinking.
Whatever happened to the sheer enjoyment of mundane slapstick humour? I suppose that today's humour is more cerebral , off-colour, and aural. I grew up during the early days of television when the various stations bought fillers to complete the programming hours. They used to present various short subjects and one source was the old Three Stooges films. The pie-in-the-face and eye pokes always made me laugh. I was smart enough to understand, even as a youngster, that what was seen on television was make-believe and no one really stuck a finger in the eye. The Stooges were an composite of society in which there was a bully (Moe), a syncophant (Larry), and a loveable, well-meaning but incompetent dupe/dope (Curly- who replaced the other dope- Shemp). These guys would always screw up while trying to be helpful and in the end, everything worked out. The lessons were simple- don't be afraid to try and don't worry about looking foolish if giving an honest effort.
Early in my fatherhood, my daughter and I would watch the Stooges whenever they appeared on TV, especially when one of the Boston stations would broadcast a New Year's Eve marathon special of the Stooges. I knew all the routines and I waited to laugh until my little Boo laughed. The amazing thing was that she laughed at the places I would normally laugh and that was wonderful.
Our favourite Stooge film was the one where the boys attempted to fix the plumbing in a ritzy estate and poor old Curly kept add pipes to a leak with T joints and got trapped in his own maze. Of course, the water caused the floor to weaken and he fell through.
As an occasional golfer I bust a gut every time I see Curly washing his clothes at the golf course ball cleaner. Improbable - yes. Funny - definitely. Whenever I hear their theme song I always get a smile and a happy feeling. Niagara Falls recalls one of their great bits - "Slowly I turn, step by step."
And then there is Jerry Lewis, in my opinion, one of the funniest movie comedians. I know there are a lot of Jerry Lewis detractors out there, but look at some of his routines. His miming of big band music is absolutely fantastic. Another slapstick artist he is. The French government and I appreciate his humour, so there!!


  1. Glad to see you back, Mr. S. Although I'm not a Stooges fan, the antics of Peter Sellers can send my into hysterics and who can forget the classic attic scene with Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. The world moves on, gets more complex and sophisticated, but like you, I can still see the humour in the old slapstick routines.