The Playhouse Rationalization: Introducing My 4-Year Old to Pee-Wee Herman

“What is that?!”

I knew that accusatory tone too well. My 4-year old usually pulls it out of his arsenal when he catches me doing something secret in front of him, like taking bites of a cookie I have no desire to share with him (that weird conundrum parents get in when they want to set a good example, but, damn it, they also want a cookie).

This time the tone was related to something I was watching on Facebook. Jimmy Fallon had Pee-Wee Herman dub his voice into a The Dark Knight Rises trailer (You can see it here) and it was awesome.

I was having a hard time holding back my laugh, but watching that trailer was kind of off limits for the boy. While my son loves Batman, Christopher Nolan’s films are definitely out of his age bracket; hey, sometimes they feel out of my age bracket (I had a hard time getting near pencils for a week after seeing The Dark Knight). Continue reading

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My Six Favorite Comedies

I am a comedy snob.

I don’t laugh at fart jokes or burps, and most sitcoms bore me to pieces. Some of this elitism is because I studied comedy writing and seeing behind the curtain can take the surprise away (and much of comedy is about delivery), my upbringing since my dad introduced me to Monty Python at a young again, but most of it is just, frankly, because I am a comedy snob. And because of that, I have never laughed at a single scene in a single American Pie movie…

Not a single scene.

I expect more.

I expect more than stereotypes, pratfalls, sarcasm, easy parodies, and physical body humor. You can keep your Three Scrooges (even though I do like some of the Curly episodes), I’ll take the Marx Brothers any day of the week.

Here, in all my snobbery, are my six favorite comedies:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

When the American Film Institute (AFI) did their list of 100 laughs, they did not include a single Monty Python movie.

Not a one.

Their justification is that the films chosen had to have significant financial or creative production elements from the USA. Fine, whatever (even though, I would argue that the films were distributed and produced by a few Americans and American companies), but yet, they included A Fish Called Wanda on the list. Is it because two of the main cast members were American? Should I point out that Terry Gilliam of Monty Python (director, actor and writer) is American?

No, this doesn’t make sense to me either. Continue reading