Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Who's the Best...Comedy Team?



34 comments:

jim said...

Seriously tough competition.

But, where are The Stooges???

Fred W. Hill said...

Since I first saw Monty Python & the Holy Grail on my little b&w tv in 1975, that has been my favorite comedy troupe by far. I just love their sense of absurdity. Of recent comedy duos, I'll go with Simon Pegg & Nick Frost, of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and now The World's End fame. Yeah, for some strange reason I tend to prefer British comedy to U.S. comedy.

J.A. Morris said...

I'll go with the Marx Brothers. Their movies have been among my favorites since I watched 'Horse Feathers' when I was 6 or 7. I own all their films on dvd. And since I discovered the internet, I'm always looking for mp3s of radio appearances by Groucho & Chico.

Edo Bosnar said...

For me it's Monty Python by a long shot. Just the sheer volume of material they produced, from the series, through the movies, to the live shows, is impressive, and it's all so funny and - for the most part - timeless. I still find stuff like the Holy Grail and Life of Brian as funny now (if not funnier) as when I first saw it.

david_b said...

A few weeks ago (for Doug's Walmart DVD column..), I mentioned the great double-DVD sets you can get for the various Marx Brother collections. I didn't opt for the large more-complete sets with all the background material (although having some insightful commentary on these films would be ultra-cool..).

I enjoy their early films with Zeppo since he offered a better balance to the antics, 'long with the songs by both Harpo and Chico.

I'd go with Python as well.., but I'm a strong fan of the pre-Python outings with David Frost (who hired a young John Cleese..) to provide a cynical bend on the week news on 'The Frost Report' with future 'Two Ronnies' (Corbett and Barker) and other soon-to-be-Python members.., as well as 'At Last the 1948 Show', first to show the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, a huge favorite of mine, shown in this later rendition at the Hollywood Bowl..:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13JK5kChbRw

For American teams, I'd go with Bob and Ray. Easily.

Doug said...

I'm not sure if this group represents the exact spirit of today's topic, but I'll offer up the cast of The Carol Burnett Show, specifically Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. I can remember visits to my grandparents' house and watching that show, with my grandma just sitting in her chair crying with laughter. Good times!

Doug

Anonymous said...

I never thought of TV casts as comedy "teams," but they probably fit a reasonable definition of the term, since they worked together regularly. So Harvey Korman and Tim Conway deserve as much consideration as Burns & Allen or the Marx Brothers. Bob Hope & Bing Crosby, or Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder, might be considered solo stars who worked together often, rather than teams. Re: the Marx Brothers, I always felt sorry for Zeppo. He had the thankless job of playing the straight man in an act that didn't really have one. Ironically, after he left the team, their movies began playing up the "straight" parts (songs and romantic subplots) more. I think an objective evaluation (if that were possible) would judge Laurel & Hardy the greatest comedy team of all time. But nostalgia and sentimentality are factors, so I might vote for the Stooges, whom I remember watching on Saturday morning TV.

William said...

How about the "The Not Ready For Primetime Players" (original cast of Saturday Night Live)?

Dan Aykroyd
John Belushi
Chevy Chase (later Bill Murray)
Jane Curtin
Gilda Radner
Laraine Newman
Garret Morris

J.A. Morris said...

I'll agree with Fred, Pegg & Frost are hilarious. Just saw 'The World's End' last night and it's highly recommended.

Paul said...

This is a tough one. I am a huge fan of the Marx Brothers, and of Monty Python. Both teams exemplify the mixing of high and low brow comedy to a tee. Gun to the head, and forced to choose, I'd probably go with Python. Over the years, I've probably laughed out loud more consistently at their stuff, no matter how many times I've seen it.

To throw in another British comedy team, I've just started watching A Bit of Fry & Laurie on Netflix. I've been a fan of both of them for years. (If you have only seen Hugh Laurie on House, you must see him in the Blackadder series to appreciate his diversity.) Jeeves & Wooster, starring the team, is another favorite of mine. But, I've never seen this show. So far, it is well worth the time.
Sorry for the long post.

Karen said...

As always, there are a ton of other candidates I could have pictured, but out of space restrictions, I only presented a few to get across the idea.

I've never been able to appreciate the Three Stooges. There always seemed to be a meanness to their humor that bothers me. But another reason I "just don't get it" may be that I have two X chromosomes.

My personal favorites are the Marx Brothers and Python, and those are preferences forged in childhood. The beauty of both teams' acts is that the humor works on so many levels. I enjoy different aspects now than I did as a child -or should I say, more aspects.(I could also say the same of Warner Brothers cartoons).

themiddlespaces said...

The Marx Brothers are genius. No one comes close in my opinion.

But Monty Python does do a kind of a weird sideways wiggle that disrupts the space-time continuum enough to compare.

david_b said...

Wellll, when you get to 'show casts' (Carol Burnett, SNL..), you really have to start deciphering what you're trying to make mention of..

Are you talking about creative writers writing for these folks or the performers themselves..? Comedy's a careful combination of both.

Early on, 'cept for Ackroyd and Chase, most SNL material wasn't written by cast members, other then them pitching ideas which evolved into skits. You had the folks like Al Franken and Tom Davis doing all the writing, later on coming out and doing their own schtick, eventually joining the cast for final 'original cast' year themselves after Belushi and Danny left.

Same is true for other variety/ensemble shows.

BTW, I have a soft spot for Tom and Dick Smothers.. They were always wonderful and you can definitely tell there was great progressive/edgy comedy writing in their show's final year by soon-to-be-stars like Steve Martin, David Steinberg and Rob Reiner.

Edo Bosnar said...

Although I haven't seen any of their material in ages, I remember really liking the Smothers brothers.
And Paul, good call on Fry & Laurie. Both are really funny on their own, but when they team up it's comedy gold: Jeeves & Wooster is utterly brilliant.

Matt Celis said...

The cast of Blackadder from series 2 onward. Always dry, hilarious, and pointed.

Garett said...

Tie between Marx Brothers and Monty Python. Both veer between intelligent wit and lowbrow blasts of comedy! I grew up watching Abbott and Costello, so I have a fondness for them. 3 Stooges are fun. I wasn't a big fan of Cheech and Chong from their '80s movies, but I watched their first movie Up In Smoke recently, and it's great.

I haven't been able to get into Laurel and Hardy, from the bits I've seen. I liked the team of Chris Farley and David Spade. How about the Kids in the Hall? Great in the early '90s. SCTV--Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty doing the news.

Edo Bosnar said...

Since SCTV was mentioned, another team I recalled is Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as Bob & Doug McKenzie. Those skits were hilarious, and they hold up pretty well, too (a watched a bunch of them a few years back). Their albums are pretty funny, too.

david_b said...

Garett, keen point on C&C humor in the 80s.. I don't believe they were able to keep their brand of humor fresh enough after the first few movies..

Plus, if folks here recall, in addition to the onset of preps/yuppies and societal changes, most drug humor died out after John Belushi passed on. From what I read from the vintage SNL interviews and being in college at that juncture, it 'just didn't seem funny anymore'

'Blackadder' is probably the show I'd LOVE the most, if I ever sat down to watch it. Love Rowan, Hugh and the others in the clips I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Doug, another great topic. And like so many of these, it's almost as much fun interpreting the question (define "Comedy Team") as it is answering it.

With that said, being from NOLA, I'll go with the New Orleans Saints, at least for the first 20 or so years of their existence. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they may well have been the most comical team of the Bronze Age. ;-)

Tom

Doug said...

Tom --

Thanks for the kudo, but I'll toss it out West to my partner -- today's topic is her brainchild.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

David, Blackadder, like Jeeves & Wooster for that matter, is something you simply must see.

Oh, and Karen, I have to say I share your assessment of the Three Stooges: I also see an undercurrent of unappealing meanness in their humor. So I guess it's not just a matter of those double-X chromosomes...

Matt Celis said...

How about Messrs. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison & Starkey? They had a group that was often quite the laugh riot.

Anonymous said...

My apologies. Great topic Karen!

And if I can get serious about my comedy for a minute, love so many of the suggestions here but I have to go with the Pythons and the Marxes as my favs.

And yes Karen I believe the proper chromosome mix is required to get the Stooges. nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Tom

Karen said...

No worries Tom, it's not always obvious which of us has put together a particular post.

Normally I don't like to stereotype, particularly when it comes to gender, but it does seem like almost all the people I know or see who like the Stooges (Moe and company, not Iggy) are guys. Not only that, it seems a fair number of women actively dislike for them. I wouldn't go that far for myself -I just don't find them appealing, but I take a pretty "live and let live" approach to things in general.

Edo, I'm glad I'm not the only one who perceives some sort of mean-streak there. I know a lot of humor derives from tragedy but the Stooges seem to revel in cruelty at times. But then again, I haven't watched a lot of their stuff.

Doug said...

Just playing off of that "cruel humor" vibe, the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" reveled in putdowns and general meanness. The delivery and timing usually generated a laugh, but too much "Raymond" in a short amount of time can leave one wanting for some civility!

Doug

david_b said...

Doug, playing off your comment as a sidenote, I GREATLY detested the entire family sitcom route where typically the Dad's cast as the bumbling man-child or made the butt of jokes. I could never tolerate that trend in sitcom humor. I enjoy Raymond (or 'Home Improvement' perhaps..) for it's characters most of the time, but I generally loath that style of humor..

Call me old fashion, but I'm of the My Three Sons/Cosby Show/Leave it to Beaver mentality.

I'll take those shows any day.

Garett said...

I didn't see the Stooges until a few years ago, when their shorts came up on youtube. I wouldn't say they have the depth of the Marx Brothers, but once I got into their rough and tumble style, I ended up watching a bunch. Also Lou Costello lifted much of his comedy style from Curly.

Here's the Stooges at the dentist:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcELyKkOAak

Can anyone link to a funny Laurel and Hardy? From what I've seen, I find them nice but not so funny.

Anonymous said...

I always thought of the Three Stooges as rowdy, rather than mean, but I guess it's in the eye of the beholder. As for Laurel and Hardy, some of their best shorts (including "The Music Box" and "Leave 'em Laughing") and clips from their best feature-length film ("Sons of the Desert") were available on Youtube the last time I looked. A lot of women seem to dislike L&H as much as they do the Stooges. The former were not as violent as the latter, so maybe the problem is with the portrayal of female characters. Wives were usually nagging battle axes, and the only other women in their films were usually scheming gold diggers. But then, the way the Marx Brothers treated women made Laurel and Hardy and even the Stooges look like feminists.

Fred W. Hill said...

Echoing some other comedy team faves, I'll add kudos to the classic Carol Burnett cast, with Tim, Harvey & Vickie -- watching them on Sunday nights was part of my family's routine back in the day. Also loved those first few years of SNL -- including pre-Senator Al Franken with his then partner, the now-late Tom Davis. Also, I'll give a shout out to the team of Atkinson, Laurie, Robinson, et al on Blackadder -- really hilarious stuff in my regard.

Anonymous said...

The Stooges were funniest, but they stopped being hilarious after Iggy left.

Graham said...

The Stooges were my favorites when I was a kid, until I got to see Laurel & Hardy and the Marx Brothers. It's hard to top the Marx Brothers. Those movies are fun no matter how many times you see them.

Anonymous said...

Julia Louise Dreyfuss and cast on Veep are howlingly funny. Anything with Larry David, original cast of SNL, Monty Python.

Anonymous said...

Al Franken is one of the funniest guys on the planet...and a pretty good senator!

Ray Tomczak said...

Ok, so I'm a little late in weighing in on this topic.
Want to second Matt's mention of the Beatles. The Fab Four, especially John and Ringo, displayed quite a talent for comedy in their first two films. However, my favorite line from A Hard Day's Night is George's. When asked by a reporter if he was a "mod" or a "rocker", he replied, "I'm a mocker."
One comedy team not yet mentioned, but fondly remembered from my childhood, that I want to throw a shout out to are Laugh-In hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. And if we're considering entire casts, Laugh-In's was one of the best.

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