September 5, 2010

"Will you quit annoying me?"

That line appears at 1:58 in this clip from the great Marx Brothers movie "Duck Soup":



It's a funny scene with all sorts of things in it, such as Harpo surreptitiously cutting off the man's pocket and using it as a bag for his peanuts. (Yeah, count the phallic symbols.) But that line — "Will you quit annoying me?" — has stuck with me for many years as a particular type of funniness. I was IM-ing my son John about it this morning.

Me:
do you remember the line "stop annoying me" --- finding that really funny? what movie and how would you explain why we thought it was so funny?
John:
"would you quit annoying me!!!"

Duck Soup [+ link to the above clip]

similar to W.C. Fields in It's a Gift saying, "I hate you"*
In a comedy you expect wit, wisecracks, innuendo .... So it's funny if someone blatantly says the obvious thing you've been watching for several minutes.
Me:
thanks!!!

it's the element of surprise, but the surprising thing is its flatfootedness
it's surprisingly ordinary
John:
Also, it's funny for someone to openly say what they think of someone as if there are no social inhibitions

Reminds me of a scene in The Office (last episode of season 2) where Michael Scott is talking to everyone in the office about they're going to have a gambling night in the warehouse....

Michael Scott: Oh, and another fun thing. We, at the end of the night, are going to give the check to an actual group of Boy Scouts. Right, Toby? We're gonna...

Toby: Actually, I didn't think it was appropriate to invite children since it's, uh, you know, there's gambling and alcohol. And it's in our dangerous warehouse. And it's a school night. And, you know, Hooters is catering. Is that enou-is that enough? Should I keep going?

Michael Scott: Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not... that way. I hate... so much about the things that you choose to be.
Ha ha.

Speaking of analyzing exactly why something is funny, I put a lot of thought into the title of that blog post last night with the praying mantis. Originally, I had "Non Compos Mentis Campus Mantis," then, thinking it might be off-putting to start in Latin, I made it "Campus Mantis: Non Compos Mentis." Then, this morning, I was sorry I switched it. "Non Compos Mentis Campus Mantis" seemed much better — kind of like a 3 Stooges title. Looking at all the 3 Stooges titles, I'm not really sure why.

_________

* The key segment is at 4:40:



CORRECTION: "Praying" changed to "campus" 3 times.

37 comments:

Pastafarian said...

I remember that sequence from The Office -- the interplay between Michael Scott and Toby have yielded some of the best moments in that series. I guess that's over now.

MrBuddwing said...

Give credit it where it's due! The lemonade man in DUCK SOUP was played by Edgar Kennedy. "King of the Slow Burn."

Word verification: fiess.

ricpic said...

"Godfrey Daniel, Mother of Pearl!!"

A great W.C. Fields curse.

EDH said...

"Will you quit annoying me?"

No.

America's Politico said...

I find Tea-Party/GOP very annoying. Fortunately, starting Tuesday, they will start to disappear. Watch what happens...I am a consultant working on this since the summer. Beginning of the end.

Charlie said...

"Will you quit annoying me?" is almost as funny as "Why can't I just eat my waffle?"

WV: drovel. Drive-by drivel

MrBuddwing said...

Gentlemen, America's Politico here may talk like an idiot and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you ...

Word verification: anlibera.

SteveR said...

All righty then, after all this time getting the crap beat out of them, the anti-Tea Party folks will strike back Tuesday. How could we imagine a counter straregy that didn't involve a consultant?

Marx Bros: However you regard the comedy, it was always well executed.

BJM said...

@America's Politico

Will you quit annoying us?

Trooper York said...

I always the Marx brothers were among the most over rated comedy acts of all time.

About as relevant as Eddie Cantor.

Trooper York said...

I mean where is the grace of Lisa Lampenelli, the wit of Jim Norton, the style of Louis CK or physical comedy genius of a Gallagher.

If fact watching one of their dated and contrived snooze fests is the epitome of annoying.

Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Oh and America's Politico is a comedy genius.

BJM said...

One of my fav bits of nonsense is from "The Gift"...the back porch scene when the insurance salesman asks Bissonay if knows a Carl LaFong {at 3:40].

It's great fun to watch the face of an imperious restaurant host or gatekeeper as give my name as "LaFong" and spell it out.

john said...

"I am a consultant ..."

lol

john said...

"I'm a consultant!"

jaltcoh said...

I got the quote from The Office here.

Flexo said...

For years, I was unable to stop from bursting out laughing every time I tried to tell people about the scene from Ace Ventura where he goes over to the rich guy and says, "Thanks for the free parking."

jimspice said...

From "It's a Wonderful Life."

George Bailey: Oh, why don't you stop annoying people.
Freddie Othello: Well, I'm sorr- Hey!

As a side note, Freddie Othello was played by Carl Switzer, but known as Alfalfa from "Little Rascals."

Moose said...

I remember watching the Marx Brothers alot in college in my stoner phase, but I'm sure that doesn't have anything to do with this post...

America's Politico said...

You can get rid of me. I am just one small cog in the large operation that supports America and the administration. As a consultant, I advice clients everywhere how to win races (at all levels). It is my belief - and I am totally correct - that we will be victorious come November. Voters care about the country. Starting Tuesday, they will realize how bad/poor/flawed the other side (i.e., GOP/Tea-Party) is. It will come day by day, drip by drip. As a matter of professional courtesy, I am sharing here. It will really be the beginning of the end. You will feel it every day.

bwebster said...

"I'll teach you to kick me!"

"You don' havta teach me! I already know how!" [kick]

I think that has far more relevance to November than American Politico's predictions.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Boy. Humor has sure changed. I don't find the Marx Brothers in that first clip the least bit funny or entertaining.

Annoying.

Lem said...

Also, it's funny for someone to openly say what they think of someone as if there are no social inhibitions

It's Bad for Ya

Gene said...

Dust Bunny: Boy. Humor has sure changed. I don't find the Marx Brothers in that first clip the least bit funny or entertaining.

I agree. The clip is mean-spirited. The humor consists of two smaller but more verbal partners making a fool out of a bigger slower guy who has the misfortune to be working nearby. It seems like a revenge fantasy by small but clever writers who got pushed around in grade school.

Trooper York said...

You have to cut her a break.

You see it is only college professors who still believe in Marx.

The Crack Emcee said...

DBQ,

It has to be comedy, otherwise that big guy would've creamed those two - which would've really been funny!

Freeman Hunt said...

I advice clients everywhere

I'd "advice" you on your grammar, but I'm no consultant.

seattleWa said...

America's Politico...you don't consult anyone, but the voices in your head.

You are a troll, and a fool.

w/v doozoopt - We found Politico in the doo-zoo-pit.

c3 said...

Watch what happens...I am a consultant working on this since the summer.

Now that IS funny

(or maybe just bad code in the software)

Erik said...

I agree the scene from Duck Soup would have been funnier if the other vendor had been a jerk in anearlier scene (maybe he was and I forgot), but I still think the clip was funny.

Erik said...

My sense of humor has changed. When I was young, I despised the Three Stooges. Now I realize that it was brilliant.

J Lee said...

Kennedy had been featured in the earlier Hal Roach shorts directed by Leo McCarey, who directed "Duck Soup" and brought him in to serve as Harpo and Chico's adversary. It was also about the time he was starting his long-lived two-reel comedy series over at RKO, where the premise -- Edgar being constantly annoyed to death by his wife, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and a variety of other irritating people -- pretty much was the template for an untold number of future television situation comedies.

Robert Cook said...

As a kid growing up I watched many of the Hollywood classics on morning tv during summer vacation, or afternoon tv after school during the year, and I always liked the Marx Bros. and W.C. Field, but I preferred the brothers. As I got older, my preference changed, and I find W.C. Fields richer and more adult. In a sense, the Marx Brothers were the Three Stooges without Groucho's verbal humor...which allowed sophisticates of the time to admit liking the Marxes while scorning the Stooges.

I'm less inclined now to watch either the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers.

I also did and still do love the musicals: Busby Berkely and Astaire and Rogers.

Trooper York said...

I always thought Robert Cook was a big time Marxist.

Trooper York said...

But I must admit it is a surprise that he is a WC Fieldist.

John said...

Chico has always been the only Marx Brother that I could take in more than very small doses.

Harpo has always struck me as extremely creepy.

John Henry

Robert Cook said...

I said,

"In a sense, the Marx Brothers were the Three Stooges without Groucho's verbal humor...."

In a sense, my sentence was a series of words without my intended meaning.

Rather, "the Three Stooges were the Marx Brothers without Groucho's verbal humor."

Curley was an anarchic dada presence superior to Harpo, in my view.