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115/365 – No One Likes Comedy
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. Film Title: Bridesmaids

115/365 – No One Likes Comedy

I’ve been nudged in the direction of drama more than once in my life.  People seem to see something in me that screams drama.  I’m not speaking of actual life drama.  How much would that suck if people kept pushing my life into dramatic situations.  As if I were a real life John McClane.  Now to think of it – yes, push me people.  I want to be John McClane.  But Die Hard John McClane.  Not Live Free or Die Hard John McClane.

Anyway, I’m speaking about artistic drama — acting, writing, film-making.  My college acting teacher, Phylis Ravel, gave me my first meaty dramatic role in the play Hedda Gabler.  I played George Tessman who is the misanthrope, agreed, but also blows up at the end, completely disengaging form any silliness the other characters or the audience might have placed on him.  Just see the play.

After that, I sort of abandoned comedy for awhile.  That is until I started taking improv classes and realized that I needed comedy in my life.  If your life is already dramatic, if you are surrounded by dramatic elements or even barraged by them, comedy can be a relief.  Hell, the best comedians are the ones who have had shitty, shitty lives.  They channel that pain into a comic mosaic.  After all, comedy is just truth + pain.

Because the truth is, this hurts, and so it hilarious.

So, can someone tell me why The Oscars are so vehemently against adding a comedy category to their roster?  I mean, the Golden Globes do it.  And if you were to talk with any actor they would tell you that comedy is harder to do than drama.  If so, why can’t the academy recognize comedic films, that are, categorically, in every sense of the word, pieces of art?  It seems biased and unnecessarily pompous – as if the inclusion of comedy denotes a decrease in professionalism and seriousness in film making.

I’m bitching about this because the 2012 Oscar nominations came out today and Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Best Actress in a supporting role.  I think that’s great.  I haven’s seen Bridesmaids, but I hear it was funny and she was fantastic.  I’m not saying it’s an undeserved nomination, but, to me, it proves that comedy needs special attention in the Oscars.  Look, she got an Emmy for her television work in a COMEDY.  She’s a COMEDIAN and she’s vying for an Oscar with a bunch of actresses in DRAMAS.  It’s like being nominated for a Heisman when you actually play basketball.

Or when you try to compete against baseball players when you play basketball . . .

Directing, acting or writing in comedy is so, so, soooooooo different than drama.  You work different muscles and need to have a different mindset.  That mindset and those muscles are hard to work, too.  Being in grad school for film, I had to fight for my right to make comedies.  They were frowned upon as if they were a lower form of art.  Bull shit!  BULL F’ING SHIT!  I dare any dramatic director to take a bite out of a comedy.

How many times have you seen a dramatic actor (a young dramatic actor) make the transition easily into comedy.  Sure, Robert De Niro made that transition as have a number of well respected dramatic actors.  However, have you ever noticed how all these actors are in the twilight of their careers?  They’re older, usually white males?  De Niro did it late in life but all his comedies are parodies of his former characters, so they only work in relation to those films.  Analyze This and Meet the Parents are funny because were seeing De Niro play a familiar role in a comic setting.  Well, I found Meet The Parents more uncomfortable than I did funny.  It reminded me of one of my exes and how mean her dad was to me.  I hated that movie now that I think of it . . . I digress — These older, white males are playing off their earlier roles for comic effect whereas comedians who make the transition from comedy to drama tend to have an better go at it.  Look at:

Patton Oswald:

Robin Williams:

Tom Hanks:

Bill Murray:

Bob Odenkirk:

And bad ass of all Comedy to Drama transfers, Bryan Cranston:

Comedy is hard and making that dramatic transition tends to be easier for a comedian.  The fact is, people are up in arms about Melissa McCarthy being nominated for a comedy role.  Whatever their reasons are, I feel the injustice is that she’s competing against 4 women who were all in dramatic roles.  Why did The Academy decide to nominate her for this particular role?  Was it because of her Emmy award?  Was it because she made a bold choice in portraying her character?  Was it because they’re finally recognizing that bold choices in comedy roles are just as risky and dangerous as their dramatic counterparts?  It could be any of these.  I just want the Oscars to recognize comedy because placing writer, directors and actors of comedy on the same level as drama is unfair.  Unfair to who?  In the Oscars, its unfair for the comedians because the judging is going to lean toward the dramatic.  Overall, its unfair for drama because I truly believe that the comedy is much harder to achieve than the drama.

Regardless, congrats Melissa McCarthy.  Go knock dead.  Because that would be funny.

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