Quote of the Day: Saran Wrap Can Kill You

 

“I think there are a lot of things out there that are humorous that people don’t realize until you actually show them what is going on. Saran Wrap for one thing. You know, you could pull enough of that out of the box and it will actually kill you. It will get a hold of you, stick to you, and choke you to death.” — Tim Conway

I’m a sucker for physical humor: Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies, Jim Carrey (in his early days), Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Carol Burnett — they all crack me up. But Tim Conway stands at the top of my list.

I think slapstick or silly comedy gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s unsophisticated. Yes, it’s not for everyone. But to watch a person who projects a sweetness or naivete, yet has me falling on the floor with laughter, that person has a remarkable gift.

These times are serious times. People are suffering, frightened, at loose ends; some wonder where their next paycheck will come from; others wonder if they will still be in business in the weeks or months to come. Spontaneous laughter seems to be a rare commodity.

But laughter is so often the very best remedy for sadness and depression. For a few moments, we forget everything but the shouts of our own glee; indulge the silliness of a particular moment; or feel the pure joy of freedom from our troubles and living solely in the moment. Laughter is what heals us.

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Published in Group Writing
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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The Hitler interrogation skit cracked me up:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5eAjYpcYeg

    • #1
  2. Kelly B Member
    Kelly B
    @KellyB

    Thank you – that made my morning!

    • #2
  3. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    I think the reason slapstick has a bad rap is that very often it just isn’t done well – it’s overdone and exaggerated, hammed up with too many pauses waiting for applause (like a bad comic going “didja get it? huh?” after every gag). Conway’s genius was that he was subtle and quick about the timing, never relenting or waiting for the audience to laugh – it’s like watching a skilled and fluid dancer.

    Leslie Nielson in The Naked Gun had a similar skill to deadpan his way through things.

    • #3
  4. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    About 10 years ago I had the pleasure of standing right behind Mr Conway in a very long valet line.

    He kept everyone entertained throughout. 

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    This title alone is worth the price of admission. It definitely sounded like something I needed to read.


    This is the Quote of the Day, an ongoing project to help get more voices on the site. It can be the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. (Some people do put in a lot more effort, of course.) Our sign-up sheet for December is here and still has four openings starting with Christmas Eve. We welcome new participants and new members to Ricochet to share their favorite quotations.

    Another ongoing project to encourage new voices is our Group Writing Project. December’s theme is ‘Tis the Season. If you’re looking to share your own thoughts rather than those of others and have some ideas about the holiday(s) season we are entering, why not sign up there?

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Amazing talent. 

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Physical comedy requires a certain fearlessness. Going out there without a punchline – being, in essence, the punchline – is the same as working without a net. Harpo Marx relates the experience he had with his brothers in the Soviet Union. The setup was in a swanky hotel. Groucho and Chico relied mostly on word play for their comedy. They were brilliant at it, but in front of an audience that weren’t native English speakers, it was falling a little flat. Then Harpo pulled the gag where he shakes hands with someone and most of the hotel’s silverware falls out of his sleeve as he does so. The audience fell out of their seats laughing. Total devastation.

    He redid it in Animal Crackers.

     

     

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    You sound like one of those rare gals that might like the Three Stooges @susanquinn

    I think that Jackie Chan was great in some of his martial arts fights too.

    • #8
  9. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    JoelB (View Comment):

    You sound like one of those rare gals that might like the Three StoogesI think that Jackie Chan was great in some of his martial arts fights too.

    Good call on Jackie:

    • #9
  10. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    In LA Tim Conway Jr. had a show on radio. Every once in a while his Dad would come on and be outrageously funny.

    • #10
  11. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Love Conway. Here’s something in the physical line folks might enjoy; Frasier: Niles presses his trousers.

     

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Red Skelton was good in his day and a very humble man.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Love Conway. Here’s something in the physical line folks might enjoy; Frasier: Niles presses his trousers.

     

    Doug, I have so wanted to see this again. One of the best bits ever. Thanks!!

    • #13
  14. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Love Conway. Here’s something in the physical line folks might enjoy; Frasier: Niles presses his trousers.

     

    Doug, I have so wanted to see this again. One of the best bits ever. Thanks!!

    One of my (and my dad’s) favorite clips. Before my dad died he was always delighted that I could find that clip on YouTube whenever he wanted to see it.

    • #14
  15. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    The Goes Wrong Show has some lovely bits as well. 

    • #15
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Susan Quinn: I think slapstick or silly comedy gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s unsophisticated.

    Don’t know about that.

    • #16
  17. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Tim Conway was hilarious. Absolutely brilliant. The comedy of today is a joke. :-P. I know the pun is confusing. 

    • #17
  18. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Tim Conway, The Elephant Story:

    • #18
  19. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Rowan Atkinson is quite good at physical comedy.

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Tim Conway, The Elephant Story:

    I love when he starts to crack up himself like he did in this one!

    • #20
  21. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The full Conway dentist skit actually runs an additional five minutes, but wasn’t posted online until a year or two ago (the other thing was the skit was from 1969, when Tim wasn’t a regular but was simply that week’s guest star on “The Carol Burnett Show”)

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Rowan Atkinson is quite good at physical comedy.

    • #22
  23. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    This is probably one of the oldest bits making fun of political correctness, from 48 years ago with Tony Randall on “The Odd Couple”. Unlike some of the other physical comedy bits that start broad and get broader, this starts with extremely mannered and nuanced physical comedy by Randall, who does everything to make sure nobody says the forbidden word or does anything to embarrass the family, but then gets completely broad at the finish:

     

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    • #24
  25. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I think the reason slapstick has a bad rap is that very often it just isn’t done well – it’s overdone and exaggerated, hammed up with too many pauses waiting for applause (like a bad comic going “didja get it? huh?” after every gag).

    When we used to watch TV, a lot of sitcoms were going that way. I could almost anticipate the lines because they were so predictable. Then there were the tag lines – key words or phrases characters used guaranteed to cue a laugh. Examples include the Fonz and “heyyyyyy,” JJ on Good Times and “dy-no-mite!”, and Flo’s “Kiss my grits.” Even Cheers had the bar patrons shout “Norm!” whenever he showed up.

    • #25
  26. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Stad (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I think the reason slapstick has a bad rap is that very often it just isn’t done well – it’s overdone and exaggerated, hammed up with too many pauses waiting for applause (like a bad comic going “didja get it? huh?” after every gag).

    When we used to watch TV, a lot of sitcoms were going that way. I could almost anticipate the lines because they were so predictable. Then there were the tag lines – key words or phrases characters used guaranteed to cue a laugh. Examples include the Fonz and “heyyyyyy,” JJ on Good Times and “dy-no-mite!”, and Flo’s “Kiss my grits.” Even Cheers had the bar patrons shout “Norm!” whenever he showed up.

    Though in the case of Cheers, the comedy was supposed to be based on what Norm then said, not on just saying “Norm”. The other words were supposed to be so uproariously funny all by themselves that no follow-up punch line was needed (and in the case of the Norman Lear and Garry Marshall shows, cheering at such a level you expected the audience to rise up en mass, run on stage and high-five the actor for uttering the line).

    • #26