In which Deb Kristina gets her laughs any way she can

Once upon a time, I thought I was above a certain level of humor. Then my husband (then boyfriend) insisted I watch “Airplane!” I rolled my eyes at the dumb puns, wacky antics and over-the-top physical comedy. A giggle would try to sneak out sometimes, but I’d swallow it down. It was just so...dumb.

Then there was this one scene. A character is describing the deathbed speech of a guy named George Zip. It’s Leslie Nielsen speaking, and he intones, ever so seriously, “Win one…just one…for the Zipper.”

I was gone for about twenty minutes, curled up on the floor in hysterics. The whole movie hit me all at once. To this day, Airplane! is one of my favorites and from that I learned never that no brow is too low for me, at least when it comes to comedy*.

Here’s a random list of some of my favorite funny stuff. Call it the Riggle Comedy Awards.

Funniest recent movie that made me say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m laughing at that”: Burn After Reading

Best Will Ferrell comedy, quirky division: Stranger than Fiction

Best Will Ferrell comedy, dumb division: Talladega Nights, runner up Anchorman (if only for the television station rumble including PBS).

Best Mel Brooks comedy: Young Frankenstein

Best funny blog and book combo (a two-fer): Becky Motew’s COUPON GIRL made me laugh so hard the coffee shop people stared at me, and her blog makes me laugh in the privacy of my own home every time I read it.

Best family-friendly funny: The “Make ‘Em Laugh” scene from Singin’ in the Rain made my two kids (ages 6 and 2) laugh themselves into hiccups.

Favorite wordplay: “Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.” Groucho Marx

Favorite comedy best enjoyed in company of nerds who know all the dialogue: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Favorite spoof (of course): Airplane! (“A hospital! What is it?” “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.”)

Best zombie spoof: Shaun of the Dead

Best cop-movie spoof: Hot Fuzz

Favorite movie satire: (note subtle difference from spoof) all the Christopher Guest mockumentaries, especially Best in Show

Best-written comedy series ever: Arrested Development (favorite character: the deliciously unrepentant Lucille Bluth)

Best tragicomic series: M*A*S*H

Best tragicomic novel: CATCH-22

Funniest scene in the UK version of the Office (which is my favorite, no disrespect to Steve Carell): Watch it here.

What are your favorites in these categories and more?

* I take that back. “Year One” looks too dumb, even for me. Oh, and I hate poop jokes.

9 thoughts on “In which Deb Kristina gets her laughs any way she can

  1. I love Monty Python–it gets me every time. And I find old Saturday Night Live episodes (with the original cast) really hilarious. Sometimes you just really need to see a light funny movie, and no serious drama will do…

  2. Oh yeah, Mel Brooks…”roll in z hay…roll in z hay…” and History of the World, part I…MP for sure…old SNL…but then I think I might have been high…oh crap…did Eve’s mother say that???? Marx’s brothers…and the devil made me say that.

  3. One of my favourite movies is Ruthless People. The goofiest scene that makes me laugh every time is when Bill Pullman’s surfer dude character is talking about getting the money and leaving the country. He says, “Yeah..and then we’re off to Haiti!” and the woman says, “Not Haiti, you idiot. Tahiti!” Gets me giggling now! And of course, Bette Middler’s line about how they had to lower her ransom because her husband wouldn’t pay, in a whiny voice, “You marked me down? I’ve been kidnapped by K-Mart!”

  4. Our very close family friend directed Airplane (and Ruthless People). I’ll tell him you’re a fan!

  5. YOU ARE TOO KIND, my dear. AND WHAT GOOD TASTE YOU HAVE.

    I too am a longtime fan of AIRPLANE! Lloyd Bridges is brilliant in that. “GUess I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.”

    That makes me want to blow off the whole day and watch it right now.

    Thanks for your kind words,
    love,b
    (I didn’t want to tell you, but I’m your real mother)

  6. Bette Midler, that is who I want to play me in the movie of “First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria”…don’tcha’ think???

  7. Meredith, I like the old SNL, too!

    Eve’s Mom, History of the World Part I is another good one, esp. The Inquisition musical number (did I really just type that?)

    Joelle, believe it or not I haven’t seen this one but it sounds like I’d better add it to the list!

    Tiffany…WOW! Oh yes, please do let him know. I could recite whole chunks of that movie. My husband and I just watched it again the other day. So much talent in that movie, so many jokes. The bickering couple over the PA: “Don’t start with that white zone shit again…” And “Give me ham on five, hold the mayo…” Drinking problem.. I could go on all day.

    Becky, I think we have a date in the future to drink wine and watch Airplane!

  8. Kristina,
    I loved Bill Pullman in Ruthless People so much that I looked up his name (long before he was famous) and then when I saw The Accidental Tourist, I just kept thinking, “I know that guy from something else…” and so I looked up his name again, and sure enough, same actor. A few years later, I was working in a movie (playing one of my usual starring roles…waitress at an art gallery opening) and Bill Pullman was in it. He still had not had his BIG BREAK and I was the only one on the set all gah gah! It’s Bill Pullman!!! And everyone was like, “who?”. You will love Ruthless People. Hmmm…maybe I need to see it again myself!

  9. What about “Elf”??? I’m sure if you had a holiday category… 😉

    And omg, Shaun of the Dead… watching that movie, I made noises I’d never made before in my life. Picture the highest-pitched nervous laugh mixed with screeching.

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