The Essential Goofy

Classic Goofy model sheet


Here is a great video about Walt Disney’s Goofy character. Art Babbitt wrote notes about Goofy for the animators to think about when working on him. The notes form the narration over some classic Goofy clips.  It is an invaluable look into how well thought out Disney’s characters are.  They include concepts of both his interior mental operation, and how his body should be posed and moved. Putting these ideas into words helps define how a character is different from others and helps keep them consistent.


The Red Bastard

This is The Red Bastard, and he is generally found at Fringe festivals in the UK and North America.  Eric Davis describes his character as a “dangerous, seductive, comedy monster.”

Here is a good sample of his show, and you should note how he explicitly says he needs to do something interesting every 10 seconds.  That’s great advice for creating an engaging character.  When you enter a stage looking like he does, you had better keep the energy up.  The audience is probably afraid to look away.


The Red Bastard is a great example of bouffon. From wikipedia:

Bouffon (eng. originally from french: “farceur”, “comique”, jester”) is a modern french theater term that was re-coined in the early 1960s by Jacques Lecoq at his L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris to describe a specific style of performance work that has a main focus in the art of mockery.

Vaudevillian and author Trav S.D. has this to say about the Red Bastard:

I would describe Red Bastard as a devilish improvisational clown, who resembles a cross between Lewis Carroll’s pedantic Red Queen and one of the Fruit o’ the Loom guys. To be accurate, the Bastard is not a clown but a Bouffon, a sort of anti-clown whose job may or may not be to amuse, but also to provoke and unsettle.

I have another post that will tell you more about bouffon.  READ IT HERE!

Here is an interview with him about his show.

And if you can’t get enough, here is a video teaser for one of his shows.



Dr. Kill and Mr. Chance

I just ran across this zany ten-year-old short film, Dr. Kill & Mr. Chance. It’s a live action short built on a classic cartoon aesthetic.  It was all shot on blue screen, with the background and effects added.  It is reminiscent of the Jim Carrey movie, The Mask.  The director, Jean-Yves Chalangeas, plays the bad guy, Dr. Kill.   Mr. Chance is the kind of character who has luck on his side.  I wrote about these types in my post, The Lucky Character.  The storyline is very much like the roadrunner and coyote cartoons, where everything goes wrong for the bad guy.  Dr. Kill is apparently an assassin, and Mr. Lucky is his target, but there is no other information than that, so we don’t know why he’s sent to kill such an apparently nice guy.  At least the Coyote has the motivation of being hungry.

I would not describe this film as successful. But I do appreciate the effort, and it encourages me to wonder how this sort of thing could work. Even The Mask, with top talent involved, had its shortcomings. I think trying to recreate Tex Avery style in a realistic environment is not very appealing.  The curvy buildings and garish colors are just weird. There are some modern live-action films with extreme slapstick that are way funnier.  The films of Stephen Chow, such as Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, are great examples.

There is one curious moment.  A bundle of dynamite with a lit fuse comes into the story. Mr. Chance uses it to light a cigarette, then a cigar, and finally a huge joint. That was the one moment where I thought it could develop into something interesting.  I would rebuild the story around that, and have Mr. Chance be a likable stoner, and Dr. Kill be Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  At least it would be relevant and make more sense.

It appears they wanted this to be the first in a series, but the website is no longer active.  Here is a making-of video with English subtitles.


Gerald Potterton

Until writing this post, I could not have told you who directed the cult classic animated feature “Heavy Metal”. But now I know it’s Gerald Potterton

First I discovered Potterton’s short film “The Ride”

Then I found he directed another short featuring an elderly Buster Keaton, “The Railrodder”, which I had read about but never seen.

Clearly, this is an animator who appreciates slapstick comedy.

Also, Heavy Metal came into the trending topics recently because of the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, that put the Tesla roadster into space.  This image was made by someone online. I believe the illustration was actually from the print magazine and not the movie,

Massage comedy

I had noticed that massage was something that turned up regularly in physical comedy.  Of course, it’s pure physical interaction, usually involving an aggressive masseuse or masseur.  Patients, or clients, can be incredibly pleased, awkwardly uncomfortable, or bent into pretzel shapes.  Often, the person giving the rubdown is not who they think they are and are behaving badly. I had been keeping a list of YouTube videos with funny massage scenes for future reference.

Recently, master animator Richard Williams posted this tweet about the upcoming Aardman film Early Man.

If Williams thinks it’s a stunning comic achievement, he’s got me even more excited than I was already.  It appears the massage happens in the bathtub, judging by this promotional image.

Early man massage

I had time today, so I assembled a dozen or so clips of funny massage scenes from movies, TV, and cartoons.  I hope you like it.  If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel please do.  And check out some of my other video essays on comedy in animation.


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