Laurel And Hardy: The Soda Gag
Laughing Without The Audience at the Rep's LAUREL AND HARDY
I had kind of an odd experience at theÂ Milwaukee Rep’sÂ Laurel and HardyÂ Â last night. There's a point in the show where the two share a soda. I'd never seen the bit before, but I anticipated the punch line well before it was uttered. The audience laughed. I didn't.
Even though I saw the punch line coming and didn't laugh, I felt a sense of satisfaction at the fact that the joke, which is probably older than Vaudeville, could still get a strong, positive, unforced round of laughter from a modern opening night audience at the Rep.Â
There is quite a bit of comedy that is timeless and universal, but much of it tends to be lowbrow stuff without much depth.Â While being pretty simple, the soda gag gets its impact from spurious logic, which lends an air of respectability to it. In the “real world,” spurious logic is unwittingly spoken with a straight face all the time. The modern world seems to run on spurious logic. Moments like the soda gag make Laurel and Hardy a really classy night at the Stackner.Â