It occurred to me while watching the prehistoric comedy Year One, that the difference in two types of comedy is perfectly encapsulated in the scene in which Jack Black and Michael Cera stumble upon a small pile of feces. Black bends down to determine through sight, touch, and (gulp) taste what the people had eaten; Cera stands above him and says, “Maybe you can tell if they ate some s—. There’s a lot of s— in there.” SPOILER ALERT! The poo turns out to be bear not human.
My point is not to gross you out. It’s that Black is a doer, and Cera is a sayer. There’s no reason you can’t like both brands of comedy, but I suspect deep down you appreciate one more than the other. I tend to find the commentary funnier than the act. For instance, I laughed harder when Cera said, “They’re doing the jackal dance, it’s not my strongest,” than when he actually danced. Seeing Cera’s character wet himself while hanging upside down wasn’t nearly as hilarious as Black saying, “Hey, I’m peeing on my face too, on the inside.” And that snake wrapping itself around Cera’s neck couldn’t top Black’s suggestion on how he could save himself: “You could eat it before it eats you.”
Are you a doer or a sayer when it comes to comedy? Vote in the poll below. And what did you think of Year One? Read Owen Gleiberman’s review here.