The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 21, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / September 21, 1998

What strikes you as being funny? While I can appreciate subtle and intellectual humor, I can also enjoy a good, low comedy spectacle. It’spossible, in my own mind, to appreciate both types. I especially enjoy,though, bad comedy.

And that appears to be a male thing. A woman may enjoy a feminist,intellectual, politically aware comedian such as Jeannine Garofolo and some may enjoy Howard Stern. Sorry. I like both.Men trying to tell a joke to a woman generally get, instead of a laugh, a confused stare and sometimes a “that’s supposed to be funny?” The old adage is, if you have to explain a joke, it’s not funny. However, it dependsupon the audience.

Jerry Seinfeld tells one about being in England and telling a joke with all kinds of baseball references in it. His British audience was totallybaffled. He reworked the joke with cricket references and the audiencehowled in appreciation.

Movies are always a sore spot of contention between men and women. Icannot tell you the number of times I’ve gone into a video rental store with my wife and find we cannot agree on a single movie. Many times, too,we go to the movie theater and end up in separate movies because we can’t agree on one to see together.

It has happened. Just not very often.Most women appear not to be able to appreciate the humor of The Three Stooges. Most men appear not to be able to appreciate a sweet, funnymovie which doesn’t include explosions and gunfire.

I have a small collection of what I’ve termed Truly Bad Cinema. These arefilms so bad, they’re funny, at least in my mind and the similarly-juvenile minds of some other people. I can sit down and view “Terror of Tiny Town”and scream with laughter. For the uninitiated, it’s a black and white moviemade in the early 1930s. It’s also the only, all-midget, musical Western.”Plan 9 from Outer Space” is cosmically boring to many people, most of whom appear to be women. Bela Lugosi’s last movie, it is so incredibly badin nearly every respect, it’s been called the worst commerically-produced movie of all time. Acting is abysmal. Sets are cardboard. Dialogue isdeadpan and pretentious and, as a result, thunderously funny. Even thespecial effects are amazingly amateurish.

I like this movie. Most people find it boring to the extreme.Is there a point to this particular column? Perhaps only to say we should all appreciate our differences and maybe give a chance to what we might think we won’t like.

Stretching the mind to gain new knowledge is always commendable and I highly recommend it. Learning is a lifetime. Just remember though to alsostretch your sense of humor.

There’s a lot of funny things out there.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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