Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Quotes About the Comedy Man-Child
Children, in their purity, their struggles and their missteps, have been an important inspiration to comedians.
"I love the man-child," said Josh Gad. "I’ve sort of created a monopoly on naiveté and characters that are driven by obliviousness and child-like wonderment."
Ralph Allen, the co-writer of "Sugar Babies," described the burlesque comic as "a child of nature - the slave of stimulus and response." He wrote that this character "represents man stripped of his inhibitions, stripped of restraints of all kinds - free of moral pretense, innocent of education and, above all, selfish and lazy."
Burlesque comedian Harry Conley believed that, by acting like a child and getting an audience to identify with him, he was able to make an audience "become children emotionally and laugh as children."
Amy Schumer has indicated that an audience is most likely to laugh at a person who is not a fully established or fully functional adult. She said, "It makes everyone feel better to acknowledge that no one has it together." She shares Judd Apatow’s belief that people are at their funniest when they mess up. She said, "[T]he stuff you're copping to and the saddest, worst moments of your life - that's the stuff people connect to and appreciate."
Perhaps, though, children are more functional than Schumer and others believe. Red Skelton might painfully catch his hand in a mailbox while mailing a letter, but a child can handle this task in a perfectly efficient manner.
A child who trusts their parents and follows their parents' careful instructions is not a out-of-control mess. With proper guidance, a child is not selfish or lazy. It can be argued that coarse and rude behavior is not necessarily a product of childishness.
But comedians remain determined to make a connection to children.
If children play with dolls, comedians will play with dolls, too.
Read more about the comic man-child in I Won't Grow Up!: The Comic Man-Child in Film from 1901 to the Present.