|Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in The Devil's Brother, 1933|
The funniest scene in the whole movie is, of course, when Stan gets drunk on the wine they're trying to fill a huge container with, to bring it upstairs for the innkeeper to serve it.
The container comes to a full and Stan, instead of telling Oliver to stop passing more, simply drinks it to get rid of the wine in excess. And he keeps drinking, and drinking, and drinking.
Once back upstairs, Stan, dead drunk, suddenly starts laughing over some light jokes. His laugh is so contagious that Oliver, although not drunk, also can't hold it in.
Nothing else happens. They simply laugh. But oh, how they laugh!
And I, a kid, would laugh my heart out along with Stan and Oliver.
I personally find it more difficult to laugh realistically than to cry when acting.
Not to cry can be, after all, a more effective and touching way to cry than actually shedding tears. The same doesn't apply to laughing though. If a director asks you to laugh, that's just what you have to do. And you better know how to do it well, or you will sound unnatural, fake, and amateurish.
Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger knew all of these risks when playing Joker in Batman, not to mention the further problem Heath Ledger faced: he had to be careful not to laugh like Jack Nicholson did 15 years before for the same role.
They both created, then, but on purpose, the most unnatural way of laughing ever.
And they did it majestically!
This way, they were able to play around with it and be creative, without the technical pressure of failing it, but rather experimenting and having fun.
Ledger made it sound so fake it actually gives you a chill up your spine every time you hear him laugh as Joker.
Jack Nicholson's Joker had a sinister charm; Heath Ledger's was downright scary.
I suppose I wanted, with this, to reminisce a bit about Stan and Ollie.
And still point out how difficult laughing on cue can be.
Can you laugh on cue?
- Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy in The Devil's Brother.
- Jack Nicholson in Batman.
- Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
- The divine Erik Hartman in his show Boemerang
- Eddie Murphy in most of his comedies.
- Jim Carrey on David Letterman, some 15 or 20 years ago.
- Dustin Hoffman during an interview over the word "cut".
- Roger Federer interviewed in 2007 at Basel