All in the funny family!!!All in the funny family!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today’s mental workout for superheroes Tuesdays praises the funniest and most talented family that ever lived, no not the Wayans, but the Marx brothers. If they had had a sister, there’s no doubt she would have been quite a talent too. Whatever their parents fed them, it worked. The Marx brothers revolutionized comedy, people probably forgot they were living through a depression and world wars. Some of the Marx brothers comedy has never been duplicated since simply because it can’t. Their genius is unrivalled in cinema and their inspirational influence stretches across the globe. Marx brothers' comedy is clean and easy to understand for all ages, the combination of physical and intellectual wit stretched the mindset of the time. They were so inventive that neither stage directors nor movie directors could effectively direct them. How can you direct such phenomenal talent, one just has to set the stage then get out of the way reminiscent of God and the universe.

Some might needlessly debate who is the best comedy group of all time, Marx brothers or Monty Python? Admittedly the Marx brothers didn’t write their own scripts like the Monty Python crew, however they put new meaning in the term ad-lib. They took their scripts and elevated the dialogue to a whole new level. In fact their scripts would leave space for impromptu ad-lib at a very precise moment and of course, they would never disappoint. You would have to watch complete scenes three or four times just to catch all the punch-lines, such is the rate of their comedic genius. Marx brothers deserve to headline any modern age comedic hall of fame. There’s a great reason why comedians are in high demand in most open societies, shame we can’t do much about the closed ones, but the gift of laughter is something that should be mandated as a law, while we are it, useless laws should be thrown out.

It’s remarkable the extent of natural talent pouring through the veins of one family. The Marx brothers weren’t just comedic actors, they were gifted musically too. They were universal artists encouraged by their mother from an early age to express themselves unto the canvass of the world. Groucho was a talented singer and guitarist. Harpo was a musical genius able to play about six different instruments including his own namesake. Chico was an amazing pianist who showcased his talent in several productions. The Marx brothers story is a wonderful example of music giving birth to comedy at the highest level. Music needs incredible timing and coordination. Comedic timing and delivery requires the same level of expertise. The list of Groucho’s best scenes could go on for days, his famous walk, moustache, funny names and facial expressions are characters within themselves. It was Harpo himself who recognized his unique pantomime ability could be far more influential and entertaining than a regular act. Of course we all marvel at Chico’s over-the-top Italian accent and his funny puns.

Great timeless comedy is art and science too. It conveys a language of its own with intuitive nuances communicating directly with funny bones. The Marx brothers brought tremendous energy to the stage and the film like no other especially in such tough times as the Great Depression and world wars. It’s equally funny to notice how even their supporting cast had to sometimes fight to hold back the laughter. We sure could use some Marx humor today as we battle the forces of worldwide economic stagnation and nuclear proliferation. No disrespect to contemporary artists, but there are more funny jokes, expressions, puns, slapstick, farce, gags both auditory, visual and verbal in the first few minutes of a Marx brothers performance than in most modern day comedies. It was the great Federico Fellini who alluded that comedic masters ought to be heavenly saints in their own right. Laughter is about freedom. Life should be freedom, at least that concept holds true for a few. Marx brothers had the greatest freedom in life, they could freely laugh at themselves and the world around them. The gift of laughter is your universal birth right and totally within your control, so go ahead and Google your favorite Marx brothers skit and boost your spirits for the day. As always, enjoy your hilarious mental workout.