Jerry Lewis with music

This is real sweet clip of Jerry Lewis from The Errand Boy.  Clearly it was plugged into the movie just for fun.  It does nothing to move the story forward, and I like that, because it’s all about character.  He has lot’s of strong expressions and hand poses.

It is powerful, brassy music which motivates Jerry to imitate a strong brassy character.  It’s also very interesting how certain instruments get interpreted into certain actions.  A Youtube commenter identifies the music as “Blues in Hoss’ Flat” performed by Count Basie.

This might make a great animation exercise, animating a character to interpret a musical track. Unless it comes out like this.

While I appreciate the fact that Family Guy is paying homage to Jerry, the limited animation gives us just a fraction of the fun.
Before animating, shoot reference, and judge the reference harshly.

There are much worse versions on youtube. The comparison is valuable to understand what Jerry is doing. He is a master.

If you are enjoying these posts, please link to Comedy for Animators. Thanks!

This song makes everything funny

Or maybe not.

The song is “Yakety Sax” and is most famous from it’s use by Benny Hill.

Youtube users have done exhaustive testing of the theory that it makes everything funny. I watched quite a few.

“Saving Private Ryan” with “Yakety Sax” is not funny.

It has to be scenes with a chase or at least lots of running. This one turns the music off when cutting away from the running. Which makes it funnier when it comes back.

And it has to be sped up. Playing it over normal or slow motion won’t work.

The body out of control

I really like this video. It was created by the Swedish firm Traktor. It’s slapstick, while being really cool.

Obviously it’s been done with simple wire removal. But the effect is wild. There is a certain fascination with uncontrolled motion. It’s not unlike some moments in Ratatouille when Remy is manipulating Linquini. Even something as small as an eye twitch can add a little effect to a reaction shot. (personally, I think eye twitches have become overused.)

Being “spastic” has always had a certain use in comedy. Jerry Lewis did it. And then there is this great moment from Seinfeld.

If you can think of any other examples of characters, live or animated, who have body control problems, I’d love to hear them. Please put them in the comments.

Marionette with kazoo

My friend Andrew “Spanky” Grant forwarded this very fun video.  It’s amazing what a strong performance you can get from an exceedingly simple figure.

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