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.
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.
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.