Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comedians - do they have a sell-by date?

Every couple of years a new batch of comedians hit the scene and everything they touch turns to gold (or ticket sales). But four or five years later they inevitably start to churn out more turkeys than a turkey farmer on a turkey farm at Christmas time. So who are the current old guard, who are the new boys and who’s just starting to fray at the edges?

The Old

Steve Martin – he’s had many highs (The Man With Two Brains, The Jerk, Planes, Trains and Automobiles) and lows (too many to mention but I’m going to single out The Pink Panther remake). But he’s still standing and still sells tickets.

Chevy Chase – a blast from the past who hasn’t had a hit movie in well over a decade, but a friend of mine who works at Dublin airport saw Mr. Chase pass through recently and get swamped by fans looking for autographs. Not surprising, considering that the Lampoon films and Caddyshack are on constant re-runs on TV.

Bill Murray – the grumpiest legend of all, Bill hasn’t done a straight-up comedy in a while. Will he fulfil my dream in 2009 and re-unite The Ghostbusters for number 3? I really hope so…..

Fraying at the Edges

Jim Carrey – Carrey is another comedian who has spent the last few years avoiding comedy with mixed results (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was excellent, Number 23 was not). But he’s making a comeback this month with Yes Man. Danny Wallace’s book was hilarious – let’s hope for Jim’s sake that the film is too cos he needs a hit.

Adam Sandler – Zohan was bad in an unfunny way and Bedtime Stories looks bad in a cloyingly-cute Disney way. To be honest, I haven’t laughed at an Adam Sandler movie since The Wedding Singer.

The Frat Pack – They’re all way too old to be still doing this shit, and judging from the desperation in their eyes, they know it. Yes, Messrs. Wilson, Ferrell and Vaughn, that’s you. I’m giving Ben Stiller a temporary reprieve because Tropic Thunder was so brilliant it made me snort Fanta through my nose.

The New

Judd Apatow’s stable – Apatow has more or less taken over Hollywood comedy and for now, at least, his line-up of actors are the hottest names in Hollywood. And this despite the fact that Seth Rogen et al look like they should be crunching code for Microsoft rather than appearing in movies with babes.

But if there’s one thing they should know it’s that the public tires of comedy performers just as fast as they fall in love with them. Sooner or later, just like the comedians that have gone before them, the hits will dry up and their jokes will start to stink like old cheese. But will they rise to the top like Bill Murray and keep coming back for more or sink like Chevy Chase and become the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question? Only time will tell…..

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