Friday, August 26, 2005

It's a classic

I'm fixing a Chicken Kiev*, and Jake's watching The Amanda Show on Nick. The Amanda Show is a comedy-variety show for kids featuring Amanda Bynes. Here's the skit. Amanda sits on a porch with her date, a geeky young boy with a pimple in the middle of his forehead. She can't take her eyes off the pimple. Before long, she's fantasizing that she knocks the pimple off his forehead, the pimple takes on a life of its own, and Amanda falls in love with it. Yeah, that's right -- the pimple. I laugh. Right away, Jake wants to know why I'm laughing. (Since age 3, he's learned that if he pesters us long enough, we'll explain even the dirtiest jokes to him.) "It was unexpected," I tell him. Humor, whether it be one-liners, sight gags, or Jon Stewart's routines for The Daily Show, has an element of the unexpected. The bigger the surprise, the bigger the laugh. I've been trying to teach this to Jake since toddlerhood, mostly so he wouldn't repeat jokes over and over and OVER again, but also because it's my parental duty to teach him how to be funny. Anyway: Amanda falls in love with a sentient, autonomous pimple. I laugh, then I tell Jake why I'm laughing. "Oh, they always do that," he says. "Whenever there's a pimple in a skit, Amanda falls in love with it. It's a classic." It's a classic? Elmer Fudd falling in love with Bugs Bunny in What's Opera, Doc? is a classic (the gender confusion goes back to Shakespeare, and undoubtedly farther than that). Groucho Marx's "Go, and never darken my towels again," is a classic. (And if you have any doubt as to my premise that surprise is the life blood of humor, check out this page of Marxisms.) Since twenty years has passed, I'll even grant classic status to Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest for "This goes to eleven." But I'm sorry -- Amanda Bynes falling in love with a pimple can't be a classic. What are your favorite classics? D.
*Chicken Kiev
Very simple. Take a pounded chicken breast, the thinner the better. Place a heaping teaspoon of a butter/herb mixture at one end of the breast, roll it up jelly roll-fashion, and run it through a bowl of beaten egg white. Salt, pepper, bread crumbs, a pat of butter on top. Place several such rolls side by side in a buttered baking dish. Bake at 400 F until golden brown and bubbly. The butter/herb mixture: chives/parsley/salt/pepper/lemon juice/butter is the old standby. You can do whatever you like. For today, I used butter, chopped green onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili oil. Coming soon: high time I blogged on garlic.


Blogger Lyn Cash said...

i'd forgotten how much i enjoy that dish until reading your blog today. i also like Mexican Chicken Kiev (rolled in mild taco seasoning & bread crumbs, stuffed with a dribble of Rotel and cubes of cheddar in the center before baking).

classics - there will never be another set of Marx, Stooge, or even Nick & Nora Charles, but i suppose that jon stewart sure comes a close second - lol. love that man.

have a great weekend!

8/26/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger amanda m. said...

as an amanda, i love the amanda show. but my "classics" are bugs bunny toons, anything invoking the 80's, anything invoking the 60's (flower child and all that berkeley upbringing, you know) and limmericks. limmericks always get me.

8/26/2005 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Lyn -- Rotel?

Amanda: okay, you're on. Give us a limerick!

8/26/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger mm said...

Classic funny lines? I would have gone with "This one goes to eleven", too.

8/27/2005 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Invisible Lizard said...

Classic humor? It's corny, but I've always liked Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First" skit.

8/27/2005 08:30:00 AM  
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