Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Under-appreciated Comedians - Gene Wilder

Sometimes you forget how much you like someone and are amused by them. When asked about my favourite comedians, there are always some names that spring immediately to mind but it's often the ones that aren't immediately on the tip of your mind that can really make you laugh. Today's subject, Mr Gene Wilder, being a case in point...

He's in three of my favourite comedy films* - The Producers (original and best version), Young Frankenstein (which he co-wrote) and the eminently quotable Blazing Saddles** - and arguably steals the show in all three. He has one of those perfectly expressive comedic faces, able to induce hysterics with a glance, particularly in his portrayal of the hapless and neurotic Leo Bloom in The Producers. He's also able to switch to full manic shouting mode without losing any of the funny (a problem that Will Ferrell suffers from in my mind - he can be funnier in his quieter moments but makes me cringe when he's just being "shouty man who thinks he's funny").


He also formed a cracking partnership with Richard Pryor. They only made about four films together but it somehow seems like more. There was just something about the two of them together that really worked. As with all great double acts, I guess they just had that chemistry that you can't really engineer or manufacture. It's the elusive spark that comes from two people who just "get" each other.


So here's to The Waco Kid. He doesn't get enough recognition these days so this is my small attempt to redress the balance a bit. Mr Wilder, your work is definitely appreciated round these here parts.







* To be fair, that's a long list with sub-categories and everything but still...


** Yep, all Mel Brooks films, too. Mel Brooks - funny in the 70s then the 80s came along and the funny went away.

3 comments:

MJenks said...

Have you read his autobiography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger? Fabulous read. I recommend it highly if you haven't already read it.

That Baldy Fella said...

No, I haven't, thanks for the recommendation! I see he's also written a few novels, may have to give those a look, too.

cerebus660 said...

Gene is fantastic as the Waco Kid! I love his delivery of the line "Little bastard shot me in the ass!"