Caught the new Woody Allen movie, Whatever Works, yesterday. And Larry David completely saves it, to the point where it’s actually a decent film. And it made me wonder why he has managed to be one of a very small number of the older-60 set who still manages to be funny despite being old.
Why is there constantly a debate or uproar over women being funny (a debate that’s rarely funny), but no one ever complains when you say that old people aren’t funny.
Even people who were really funny just become lame when they hit a certain age. I don’t know if it’s because they can’t modify their style of humor for changing times and evolving comedy, or if they’re ability to be funny simply disappears.
I’m not talking the unintentionally old guy funny, where an old man craps his pants and you laugh. But when was the last time you saw a really fun stand-up comedian who was over the age of eighty? It’s hard to say, because he’s my idol, but the later George Carlin specials had nothing on his stuff from his prime. I’d rather get shot in the head than watch the 2,000 year-old man in the year 2000, and the Smother Brothers still plugging away is borderline sad. Yeah, the older SNL guys are still funny, but studio execs aren’t lining up to produce the new hot Steve Martin Sargent Bilko 2 or a non-indie-laugh-on-the-inside Bill Murray movie.
But how is it then that Larry David has completely defied the rule and is one of the funniest guys out there, to the point where he’s getting funnier?
My thinking is that it’s because he has completely embraced the crotchety, old man, weary-of-minorities thing that we know old people are really like. I know that sounds obvious, but how many old people truly act like old people?
Basically, Larry David is the It’s-funny-because-it’s-true and that’s-what-we’re-all-thinking, but of what people think about senior citizens. Young people aren’t allowed to be nervous around minorities, and if you hate everything then you’re Emo, but old people have free reign. But Larry David is one of the only people who embraces it.
The reason other old people aren’t funny anymore is because they’re trying to become the nice old man. They do jokes about being old, in an old-timey Catskills humor, and it’s nice and well and good. Or they’re forcing the angry old man, ala Don Rickles, and there’s a lot of swearing and yelling and noise.
But that’s not what we want to see. We want to see the old guy that hates young people, minorities, fun, music, animals, happiness, TV, basically everything. Because that’s what we know old people are really like and no one wants to admit it.
Except for Larry David. Hilarious. Go see Whatever Works. Very close to being a bad/mediocre move, but it isn’t.