Category Archives: comedy

American comedian Andy Kaufman @60

Andy Kaufman performs Mighty Mouse

Click to view, hilarious!

In one of his first television appearances (on the premiere of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, October 11, 1975), Andy Kaufman lip-synched to the Mighty Mouse theme song (but only to the words “Here I come to save the day!”)

Andy Kaufman

Andy Kaufman (19491984) was an American entertainer and performance artist who refrained from telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood; instead, he was a practitioner of anti-humor or dada absurdist performance art, referring to himself instead as a “song and dance man.”

Jim Carrey played Kaufman in Miloš Forman‘s 1999 film, Man on the Moon.

Outside of the United States he is best-known as Latka Gravas in the Taxi television sitcom.

Introducing Coyle and Sharpe


The Warbler, 1963,  “man on the street” interview

Coyle and Sharpe was the name of American comic duo Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe who appeared on television and radio during the early sixties, exhibiting their mastery of the “man on the street” interview, with humorous results.

Coyle and Sharpe began their comedy team in 1958 in a boarding house. In their official website Jim Coyle is described as a “benign conman who talked his way into 119 jobs by the time he was 25”. Mal Sharpe. At the time of their meeting, Mal Sharpe had just graduated college and was interested in the burgeoning scene that was happening in in the San Francisco area in that time.

In 1964, they were hired by radio station KGO in San Francisco to pull pranks, or as they jokingly referred to them, “Terrorizations”. The radio show was called “Coyle and Sharpe On The Loose”. Shortly after these broadcasts aired, they released two records: “The Absurd Imposters[1] and “The Insane Minds Of Coyle And Sharpe[2], which were released on the Warner Records.

The whereabouts of Jim Coyle are unkown, but in their website, a supposition is offered that he left the act to pursue a career in “tunneling” and that he died in 1993 burrowing under the city of Barcelona.

Mal Sharpe continued to do the “Man on the Street” interviews. In the year 2000, Sharpe hosted a centennial exhibit at the Whitney Museum, called “The American Century“. Coyle and Sharpe were featured in the Soundworks Exhibit for this presentation.

They have one record that re-presented their seminal comedy material in 2000 from Thirsty Ear, entitled Coyle And Sharpe-Audio Visionaries[3].

  • The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU
  • RE/Search #11: Pranks!. RE/Search Publications, 1986.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, it might have been Italy but it wasn't

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

I’ve always been weary of the genre mix of comedy and horror, but that is probably because of my dislike of the Scream franchise.

Yesterday, I find this[1] intertitle and I thought it was hilarious.

A word on intertitles

Since silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the cinema audience. The title writer became a key professional in silent film and was often separate from the scenario writer who created the story. Intertitles (or titles as they were generally called at the time) often became graphic elements themselves, featuring illustrations or abstract decorations that commented on the action of the film or enhanced its atmosphere.

In the silent film era, films were as much a literary as a filmic medium. I’m quite sure you could ‘watch’ the film by reading the intertitles.

Coming back to Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, I find the humour in sentences such as “England in the 19th century was not all that it might have been — It might have been Italy but wasn’t,” and “We squirm under the tumult of Good and Evil ever — warring within us, yet were Science to separate them, Bad would flourish. Crime run riot — even Saxophone players would be tolerated,”[3] quite refreshing for 1925, when this film was released. We sometimes think that Monty Python started this kind of absurd humor, but clearly that is a mistake. To my knowledge the earliest modern instance of this kind of humor is Alfred Jarry‘s Ubu Roi, and going further back in the history of derision there is Rabelais and even before that there is the Facetiae by Poggio.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde is World Cinema Classic #73.

P. S. Another fave intertitle is this one[2] from Caligari, used to dramatic effect in that film.

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

The time is short, you die at dawn

Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde, it might have been Italy but it wasn't

Harpo Marx @120

Harpo Marx @120


Harpo Marx (18881964) was one of the Marx Brothers, a group of Vaudeville and Broadway theatre entertainers who achieved fame as comedians in the American film industry, greatly admired by the French surrealists and properly identified as American Surrealism.

Harpo was well known by his trademarks: he played the harp; he never talked during performances, although he often blew a horn or whistled to communicate with people; and he frequently used props – one of his most commonly used props in films was a walking stick with a built-in bulb horn.

He is exemplar of selective mutism, aphonia and the silent protagonist.

A little known fact is that in 1937 Salvador Dalí visited Harpo Marx in Hollywood to write the scenario for Giraffes on Horseback Salad, a film that was never produced. Photographic evidence of this encounter is perhaps this: “Dalí sketches Harpo Marx at the barbed wire harp”[1].

Eat Out More Often

RIP Rudy Ray Moore

Rudy Ray Moore died. I had never heard of him. But the image above I liked.

Rudy Ray Moore (March 17, 1927 – October 19, 2008) was an American comedian, musician, singer, film actor, and film producer. He was perhaps best known as Dolemite, the uniquely articulate pimp from the 1975 film Dolemite, and its sequel, The Human Tornado. The persona was developed during his earlier stand-up comedy records.

Rudy Ray Moore’s type of African-American humor, called bawdry, is also represented by Blowfly and the Detroit Grand Pubahs.

Introducing Kati Heck

In Belgian magazine Focus Knack June 2008, Els Fiers reviews German-born contemporary Belgian artist Kati HeckGoogle gallery at the occasion of Heck’s first museum expostion. Fiers likens her to Eija-Liisa Ahtila“Dog Bites”, Sam Taylor-Wood “A Little Death,” [YouTube] and Léopold Rabus Two girls and a mushroom.

Wood’s work I’ve learned to appreciate via dmtls a month or two ago, Ahtila and Rabus are so-so on first impression, and Heck, I’ve been a bit of a fan for some time. If placement she deserves, I will locate her in the tradition of the German Comic Grotesque, a category which Pamela Kort recently examined in her eponymous book and of which the earliest practitioners are Lovis Corinth, Paul Klee, Max Klinger, Otto Dix, Alfred Kubin, Kurt Schwitters, Emil Nolde, and the greatest of them all (and with Klinger and Corinth, the only ones in the beloved public domain), Arnold –“Isle of the Dead” —Böcklin.

Please notice the word comic in Comic Grotesque. If Heck is a great painter or not is not for me but for the market to decide, but I can say this: she has a sense of humor, and it’s a rosy kind of insouciance, of a cynical variety perhaps, but nevertheless one which invites genuine (as opposed to ironic) laughter.

Speaking of comic, I would like to offer you this piece of eye candy:

World cinema classics #23


Daisies (1966) – Věra Chytilová

It was against my rules to include films in this series that I had not seen. However, on the basis of this superb excerpt and some very warm recommendations of fellow bloggers, here is Daisies, a 1966 Czech film by director Věra Chytilová. It’s included in Film as a Subversive Art.

If everything’s going bad … so … we’re going … bad … as … well!

Previous “World Cinema Classics” and in the Wiki format here.