Image by Böhringer Friedrich

I tried to laugh, I promise! I sat there, waiting to hold my aching sides as I laughed my adorable head off! But it never came. I gave the occasional polite laugh, a little fake, but I wanted to feel hip and cool and like I actually had a sense of humour. But I failed.

Last night I watch the Mel Brooks (hang your head in shame, Emma) film sensation (apparently) Silent Movie. It was referenced in my beloved Gilmore Girls so I thought I’d be a bit ‘Lorelai’ and watch this cool, classic film but it was a little slow. Mel seemed to try really hard to be funny. It was like I was reading ‘Slapstick For Dummies’. Beautiful girl gets offended at weird looking man hitting on her: TICK; massive amount of people exiting lift: TICK; fat man eats all chocolate in gift box: TICK.

And then there were all the ‘stars’ that made an appearance, like Brooks was saying, “Look who I know!” I love you Brooksie but I was disappointed. I even had to watch the second half in fast forward to find out what happened. The wheelchair race with Paul Newman was actually funnier in fast forward.

I don’t know what it is with humour from the past. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. Would I have laughed if I was watching Silent Movie in a 1976 cinema? Am I too sophisticated or not sophisticated enough? Have our comedic palates changed over time? Have I lost my funny bone, what if I don’t find anything funny ever again?

You see, Monty Python is ok, a little creepy at times, a little silly but sometimes amusing. I don’t really like Chevy Chase and Steve Martin is over-the-top. Adam Sandler has lost the plot, employing all his friends in semi-funny films relying on fart and sex jokes -meh! Jim Carey has gone all ‘serious actor’ on us and done quite a stirling job, actually but are his funny days over too? Mike Myers has probably retired to the swamp, Lesley Nielsen has died and Dan Ackroyd has lost his ghostly shine.

I love the 80’s comedy classics, but I think it’s more out of nostalgia. It seems the only films that make me laugh these days are the foreign ones (I love you Amelie and Life is Beautiful). Ultimately, retro funny is fun. That is all. I need to lower my expectations and laugh-o-metre and simply enjoy them for what they are and the times they represent.

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