Monday, December 30, 2013

Binge Watching: Will Ferrell and Absurdist comedy

If you're like me, my age or older, it might have taken a little while before coming to appreciate "Absurdist" comedy.

I was watching when SNL (Saturday Night Live) first came on
 the airwaves.  It was radical, new, cutting edge in 1975, and I can't count (or recall) how many Saturday Nights I spent with friends or dates watching and laughing my rear end off till my belly ached.

The years rolled by and the crew of The Not Ready For
PrimeTime players changed, albeit grudgingly for most viewers of its original cast.  When John Belushi died, no one wanted to accept new comers like Eddie Murphy...At first anyway.

Full-on adulthood hit us and my viewing habits changed as I had to start explaining things like comedy to my children, at least when they were very young and impressionable, so I missed getting intimately familiar with the changing cast.

Once my oldest children were getting out of high school, I began to notice comic actors like Will Ferrell.  

His over-the-top absurdity didn't sit well with me at
first.  My initial reaction was, as most of us "old timers" probably felt likewise, not good.  It felt as if he was just poking around at humor.  Nothing was sly, or off-the-cuff or even as in-your-face as it had been by the comic super stars I'd
come up with; actors like George Carlin, Steve Martin, Robin Williams had that subtle way of getting in your head and leading you into what was funny.

Mr. Ferrell was that kid who seemed to be trying so hard
that he missed the point.  It took a bit before I realized that it was me who was missing the point.  That he was trying to be absurd just didn't seem funny to me, at first.

Gradually, I began to get it.  When he starred in "Anchorman" as the one and only "Ron Burgundy", I was hooked.

Going back, I re-watched or even discovered for the first time, all of his large and growing body of "Absurdist Comedy", and developed a true taste for it as well as an acute appreciation for the (let's call it what it was) new genre of comedy.

More and more, I found other actors utilizing this style, taking satire to new levels.  

Jim Carrey had a large bit to play in my development of this new taste.  Let's face it, Ace Ventura is about as absurd as it gets.  But, when Steve Carell stole the show in "Bruce Almighty" I became even more a fan of the absurd.

Let's not forget about the Adam Sandlers of the world either, nor the cast of characters that have played along with him and gone on to fantastically absurd films like "Grandma's Boy" or "Deuce Bigalow".

Somewhere in the mix a writer named Jud Apatow came
along and introduced a whole new cast of actors who have become masters of the absurd: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Jason Segel are just a few.

But, for the purposes of this blog, I must return to the man I now consider a master of the absurd.  

The Fabulous Feathermaye and Yours Truly started going to Christmas Day film openings a few years back.  Our couple of years of homelessness put the damper on it until this year when we looked, once more, for the Christmas Day openings to see what would pique our interest.

Anchorman 2 stood out among many, and with a few clicks on her laptop Nook HD+ pad, we had our tickets printed and were on our way to an afternoon matinee.

Adam McKay must have pointed his cameras
at these guys and yelled "Go!".  The rest is comic genius from the Action 4 News team of Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick--so aptly named--Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) "Whammy!".  

The times were a-changing back in the early eighties as the onset of 24hour news came into its own.  And, although his crew was slated in the worst time slot possible (2am-5am), Burgundy and the boys managed to bumble their way into the highest ratings by doing what they are so very good at: Being completely absurd!

If you haven't opened up to the absurd yet, let me invite you to give it another try.  I haven't come across a single sports talk radio show yet that isn't a fan of Anchorman.  When it seems to get too absurd, just sit up a little closer because they are making a point, a statement about the world we live in that you can either laugh or cry over.  

I always find laughing is so much more fun...Don't you?

Are you a fan of Absurdist comedy?  Please leave your comments and opinions below.

Here are some great (In our humble opinion) Absurdist Comedies to check out for a awesome Binge:

40 Year Old Virgin
Grandma's Boy
50 First Dates
Bruce Almighty
Knocked Up
This Is The End
Pineapple Express
Happy Gilmore
The Other Guys
Step Brothers
Nepolean Dynomite
Dodge Ball
Meet The Parents
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Wedding Crashers
The Hangover
Shaun Of The Dead


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