Welcome to my blog. My personal passion is for physical comedy. From Commedia Dell’Arte to the great silent film comedians to the living artists working the Cirque du Soleil, I love it all. I earned my degree in Film and Television from New York University where I studied with noted animation historian John Canemaker. I also work as an animator. I think the animation community would be well served by a blog introducing them to the history and art of live comedy centered around the human body.
Comedy is the bread and butter of animation. In his book Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, Joe Adamson interviews Heck Allen, gag writer for Tex Avery. Allen mentions Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin who went on to a successful career directing live action stars like Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis. Heck says:
“Frank Tashlin was working for Schlesinger then, too. We called him Tish-Tash. He had a cartoon strip and he fooled around. He would see cartoons and he would go to the old slapstick movies with a little flashlight and a little black notebook, and he would note down every Charlie Chaplin and every Laurel and Hardy gag he saw. We used to kid him about his little black book, because he was always looking in it for a joke. Well, the laugh was on us. He went much further in this gag business than we ever did.”
There are plenty of blogs about the art and technique of animation, about what characters look like and how they move. This blog is about what characters do, drawing on the lessons taught by people who learned it the hard way, on stage in front of audiences.
For more information about me, Jonathan Lyons, please visit stupix.com. If you are an independent or student animator, and would like some feedback on your project, free of charge, visit the contact page and send me a message. I’ll see if I can help you out.