Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Laurel And Hardy: The Soda Gag

Laughing Without The Audience at the Rep's LAUREL AND HARDY

By Russ Bickerstaff
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William Theisen and Gerard Neugent as Hardy and Laurel, respectively.

I had kind of an odd experience at the Milwaukee Reps Laurel and Hardy  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. 

There is quite a bit of comedy that is timeless and universal, but much of it tends to be lowbrow stuff without much depth. 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. 

The Milwaukee Reps Laurel and Hardy runs through November 14TH at the Stackner Cabaret. A review of the show runs in this weeks Shepherd-Express.

 


 

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