I’M 24 AND JUST WATCHED ‘AIRPLANE’ FOR THE FIRST TIME – YIKES!

HOLLYWOOD – Does the 1980 disaster parody movie hold up to a new generation of film makers who apparently have never watched anything or understood anything that they watched?

Less than 15 minutes into 1980 parody-comedy ‘Airplane’, and already we’ve seen airport security workers using an x-ray machine to gawp lewdly at women’s naked bodies, while the male passengers walk through the machine and appear clothed! It is only going to get worse. A woman is hysterical and not only does she get her face slapped, but a queue forms to smash her in the face, including a boxer, and someone with a baseball bat. Is this supposed to be funny?

I wanted to watched Airplane because I knew airplanes from flying on them and I knew films because they show them on planes sometimes. So it was like a  perfect combination. So what happened? Is our generation really as hyper-sensitive and monumentally stupid as everyone seems to think we are or is Airplane the comedy version of Auschwitz and everyone involved should be sent to re-education camps?

The problem is not simply the treatment of women, although this alone would be enough to condemn it. There are ‘racial’ jokes, Jokes about religious minorities. A little boy is allowed into the cockpit where the pilot starts to ask him questions of what we can only call a Leaving Neverland nature. At another point someone said ‘Surely you’re not serious’ and the doctor said, ‘I’m serious and don’t call me Shirley’. But the guy hadn’t said Shirley, he’d said Surely. How insecure do you have to be in your toxic masculinity to think people call you Shirley and not surely? And we’re the snowflakes!?

I had high expectations for Airplane. A lot of people had told me that it was the height of zany comedy. But I watched disgusted, vomiting repeatedly on myself  as my roommates – all of them looking like underwear models and eating Hagen Daas – vomited spirals of what could only be described as diversity vomit high into the air. I like my comedy not to punch down. I don’t even like my comedy to punch up. I’d prefer my comedy – if has to do anything – to sort of do Tai Chi moves without obviously culturally appropriating Tai Chi.

My advice is if you want to watch a comedy about a disaster you should spend more time on twitter.

THINKING COMEDY: MARLON WAYANS

In the third of our series Thinking Comedy, film comedian Marlon Wayans ruminates on the anxiety of influence in parody.

My comedies have always been rooted in the tradition of parody and this is not something I’ve always been comfortable with. The etymological link between parody and parasite is enough to give me, having read a great deal of Jacques Derrida, pause.

Aside from the obvious need for a parody to endlessly recycle and reuse a host text or a series of host texts, there’s also the fact that parody has to in some way negotiate other parodies, often better parodies. Is it necessary to – as Harold Bloom argues in his monumental work of literary criticism – ‘kill your antecedents’? Or is this just overworked Freud?

My films, for instance, and I’m thinking specifically of the Scary Movie franchise, but also of White Chicks, Dance Flick and A Haunted House owe a lot to Airplane and Police Squad. They are essentially zanies, a series of jokes that seek almost to beat into submission as to entertain. Anyone unfamiliar with the work that is being parodied cannot hope to understand the comedies. The topicality also makes these works highly prone to decay. Will people still watch Scary Movie ten years from now? I highly doubt it.
And yet it was with some relief that David Zucker agreed to come on board to write and direct Scary Movie 5. As part of the team along with his brother Jerry and Jim Abrahams that brought us those classics of early eighties parody, I feel his involvement retrospectively gives my work an imprimatur of approval and quality. So thank you David, and, yes, the money is in the mail!
For more comedians Thinking Comedy Click Here.  

DAVID ZUCKER’S CONSERVATIVE COMEDY CLUB

HOLLYWOOD – David Zucker – director of such brilliant films as Airplane! and such dire posthumous-smelling tripe as An American Carol – today announced the formation of the Conservative Comedy Club, an organisation which will seek to redress the liberal/left wing bias in the chuckle farm.

Everyone thinks conservative aren’t funny,’ said Zucker. ‘They think we’re a bunch of bigoted fearful haters, who consider Bill O’Reilly an intellectual. But that just isn’t true. The first bit I mean. we’re hilarious. I mean look at Sarah Palin.’

The CCC was welcomed by its charter members Kelsey Gramner and Adam Sandler:

It’s about time that we had someone championing the ‘Right’ to be funny. Did you see what I did there?

For years, there has been a tendency to think of incisive and funny comedy of having almost inevitably an open minded liberal bias. Despite the best efforts of Andrew ‘the Dice’ Clay, many of the best comedians – Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Louis CK, George Carlin, John Stewart, Bill Maher, Sarah Silverman, and Jerry Sienfeld – come from liberal or radical left wing backgrounds, or – like Chris Tucker, Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor – are black. Zucker says:

funny

The CCC will be a place where John Ratzenberger and Kelsey Grammer can sit down and share a joke without being accused of endorsing homosexuality or a Cheers spin off.  

SCARY MOVIE 5: SEVEN YEARS IN THE MAKING

 

HOLLYWOOD – In 2006, when Scary Movie 4 was released everyone naturally assumed that the next entry in the money spinning, gross out and laugh free franchise would be along within the year.

After all, up until that point each script had taken less time to write than it actually took to sit down and watch the finished movie. However, six years passed and no Scary Movie. Some hoped – even prayed – that the bone headed franchise which only seemed to exist to give Charlie Sheen and his wife money had finally fallen into its own dark hole of pointlessness. Yet now a new entry is on the horizon and Studio Exec asked Malcolm D. Lee (cousin of Spike) what took so long?

‘There was the feeling that the quality of the franchise had gone downhill,’ said Lee. ‘We wanted this to not just be another Scary Movie movie, we wanted it to be a Scary Movie movie that was also a good movie movie, a moving Scary Movie movie movie.’

Beginning in 2000 with  the Keenen Ivory Wayans directed Scary Movie, the formula was quickly implemented with a series of broad stroke parodies played out by tired hams and vacuously inept actors. Scary Movie 2 followed in 2001 and Scary Movie 3 followed in 2002 and Scary Movie 4 in 2006 under the direction of the once great David Zucker.  

We watched a lot Andrei Tarkovsky. I’m particularly fond of Stalker. I thought Tarkovsky because I know that Keenen had been very influenced by Ingmar Bergman, especially his later films, so I didn’t want to repeat him. And Zucker of course is Godardian to a fault. If you watch A Bout de Souffle and then you watch Scary Movie 3 you’ll see that structurally the films are identical. 

 What can we expect to see that’ll be different from the other Scary Movies?

Obviously I don’t want to ruin a very successful franchise. But we sat down and we went through the script again and again and again. We put in layers. We put in a whole Kabbalistic thing and then we took it out. We got all the actors to get into their roles in a way that was crazy. Charlie Sheen went totally method and I think you can see that in the headlines as well as the film.

Scary Movie 5 will be released in 2018.