Comedy has never been a genre of film that I have really liked, particularly modern comedy as it is quite often tasteless and crude. Comedy was great when the stars were Norman Wisdom, Abottt and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and Peter Sellers. I have loved Laurel and Hardy from a young age because for me they are the perfect double act. Slapstick comedy is hilarious, it’s the reason why you go to the circus to see the clowns. Amy and I went to see Cirque du Soleil last year and the clowns had us laughing out loud. Laurel and Hardy have the same effect on me and its not easy comedy to pull off especially to pull it off and make it look real.
Last night I saw a comedy short from 1921 before Laurel and Hardy got together. They both played their part in the film, but Laurel was the star. It was a silent film called Lucky Dog and the slap stick humour was hilarious. To know exactly what is going on without hearing any voices takes some skill and back then they had very few effects to use. I think Laurel and Hardy were far better actors then they have been given credit for and they were certainly great writers of comedy. For people to still love them now 60 years after their last film shows how good they were.
The flying deuces is a brilliant story of how Laurel and Hardy join the French foreign legion after Hardy is rejected by a beautiful woman. This leads to the funny scene where they try to commit suicide by throwing themselves in the river. We all know that they can never do anything right and suicide is another act that they can’t perform. They soon get talked out of it by a soldier and end up joining the foreign legion where of course all goes wrong. Even the silly act where Laurel bangs his head on the ceiling makes me laugh and its just so simple. How many double acts have we seen where one is more intelligent then the other, but not as intelligent as he thinks he is. Hardy is very pompous and laurel is like a little baby, but it’s such a beautiful friendship which continued off screen.
Together they made people laugh for around 30 years with their feature films and their short films. I love the short film where they babysit and everything always goes wrong. The song “go to sleep my baby” is wonderful. There is also Hardy’ s wife who scares the living daylights out of Hardy despite Hardy pretending he is the boss. Laurel is the unliked friend who always gets Hardy into trouble, which often leads to a broom across both their backsides.
Before Hardy’ s death they had more comedy planned, but sadly both suffered with bad health. Hardy was always a big man, but had to lose weight due to heart problems. He had a number of strokes before he died and only weighed 65kg which is ridiculously thin for someone his height. Laurel continued to write but he too suffered bad health meaning he couldn’t pick up his Oscar for his work in comedy. Danny Kaye another great comedy actor picked it up for him. Laurel died in the mid 60’s meaning it was the end of era. They are still loved by Americans today and I’m sure they have had a major influence on the comedy today.