#365DaysOfWriting — Day Nine
Laugh as much as you can every day. Apart from the highfalutin science about laughter releasing endorphins and infection-fighting antibodies, it’s actually a fun thing to do. Although the concept of laughter clubs is a little beyond me — why should we FORCE ourselves to laugh if we’re not feeling it?
Anyway, back to laughter. Nothing makes you feel better in the world than a hearty laugh. Even if it’s laughing at your friend’s PJ. There’s a quote I remember a comedian saying, and I paraphrase it here — it’s a lot easier to make someone cry than to make someone laugh. I translate it loosely to — with an emotional scene, or a tragic novel, triggering ‘feels’ (in modern lingo) may not necessarily be that hard, but trying to get people to GENUINELY LAUGH at a joke, a gag or a comedy scene can be hard. Now I know this isn’t entirely true, and it works both ways and blah-blah, but I must admit I have seen people get emotional fairly easily, even at the most ludicrously soppy situations. But most jokes elicit a smile at best (I don’t believe most of the LOLs and ROFLs on social media, not even my own). Unless it is REALLY funny.
Which brings me to a list I love — the movies, books and characters that have made me laugh the most. Genuinely. Here goes:
- British Comedy: More specifically, shows like Mind Your Language (it has aged a little), Fawlty Towers (this one’s still gold), Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister (found boring by many, I wonder why), and Mr. Bean. I’ve always enjoyed the sharp wit and dry humour used in British comedies, and to illustrate the point, you can check out the Top 10 moments from Fawlty Towers. Basil Fawlty happens to be one of my all-time favourite characters, and why not? He was played by the legendary John Cleese. Pro-tip: search for stand-up comedy gigs by John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson as a team, like this beekeeping sketch.
- Catch-22: One of the funniest books I’ve ever read by Joseph Heller (it’s the ONLY book I’ve read by him, sadly). The book follows the adventures of Capt. John Yossarian and the fictional 256th Squadron of the US Army Air Forces, based on the island of Pianosa in the Mediterranean Sea. The phrase ‘a Catch-22 situation’ came to be only after this book was released. Most of these airmen attempt to avoid combat situations (because they could die in those, obviously) and their attempts are what makes this funny. Give it a read. Currently available on Amazon.
- Robin Williams: What can I say about this man that hasn’t already been said? I was devastated by his death — it prompted me to write a little eulogy. One of the many facets to him was his comic timing. And not just in movies, or in stand up comedy — you could make Robin Williams invisible and he’d STILL manage to make you laugh. Watch him run riot this talk show. Even in the age of YouTube, I miss him.
- Jim Carrey: The man who I felt was the true successor to Robin Williams, Jim Carrey has the power to make you laugh by doing absolutely anything. He had a goofy charm all his own, and my two favourite movies of his are the Ace Ventura movies. His acting was a lesson in how to make slapstick actually WORK. Even at the end of Liar Liar, during the credit roll, we see his co-stars laughing at some of his gags — some of those scenes took a LOT of retakes.
- Crime Master Gogo: The living embodiment of the clueless, bumbling, yet ambitious Bollywood villain. Andaz Apna Apna is a cult film (I will judge you for not liking this movie — okay I’m kidding. But it is awesome.) What makes it a cult film is the characters — most importantly, Shakti Kapoor’s Crime Master Gogo. Now, he has little screen time compared to Paresh Rawal’s double-turn as Teja and Ram Gopal Bajaj, or Robert and Bhalla, or Amar-Prem, but he makes an instant impact whenever he turns up in a scene. The all-black outfit, with the black and red cape, the eye-patch, the gun and the hairstyle — let’s face it, his character was written to induce laughter. Especially when he asks for his ‘doobe hue chhatis hazaar’ in the end. Here are a few dialogues from the film that make it the cult it is today.
- Baburao Ganpatrao Apte: 6 years after Andaz Apna Apna and Crime Master Gogo made us laugh, we had Paresh Rawal’s career-saving turn as Baburao Ganpatrao Apte (not his career, that didn’t need saving — he saved Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty’s careers). The ‘dhoti utha’ scene still makes me laugh, even if I just think about it! Read a few more of his iconic dialogues here.