Analyzing the Funny

Kimmel

I’ll admit it, I don’t watch enough late-night (owing to the fact I don’t have a TV), but when I do plunk down in front of the small screen, I instantly turn to Kimmel. I love that his comedy has become more adventurous and intelligent, not less. Many stand-ups turned hosts seem convinced that a desk bit or banter with the band will hold my attention. Sorry, I have seen too many to be that interested—I need something a bit more thought-out.
Case in point, “The Handsome Men’s Club,” an almost ten-minute sketch Kimmel premiered during his post-Oscars show. What late-night show scripts a ten minute sketch, and then invests in it enough to bring together enough A-list celebrity (men) to fill another awards program? There are so many aspects of this sketch I like, I thought it would be helpful to go through them one by one.
Feel free to disagree or add more funny things in the comments.


-The beginning. I love the opening shot of each celebrity staring at the mirror and reciting that chant, “Wow! You’re handsome…Good job mom. Amazing. Holy S*#^.” It’s a great sight gag and it also sets the sketch’s appropriately silly tone. The shot both reflects the actors’ vanity and makes fun of it, without feeling put-upon or preachy.
-Kimmel: How much did we raise at the car wash? Patrick: Um, Seventy-five million dollars. I love this exchange of dialogue. Exaggeration works here to make the sketch that much more absurd. Plus, it seems that the actors are in on the joke, so we don’t feel as bad laughing at them.
-Gilles Marini is shirtless. Can’t say much more about this, but hilarious…and handsome.
-Surprise. I love how many twists Kimmel includes. Sting’s appearance trumps all of them. I just expect a guy who published his dreadful song lyrics in book form the other year to be really full of himself. But the self-deprecating humor he displays here makes him that much more human. Thanks, Sting.
-Self-deprecation. Ethan Hawke’s admission that he would like to be called “Handsome Hawke” is just one of several examples, and they all work. The very idea that Jimmy would be leader of this kind of club is a jab at his weight, I guess.
-Plotting. Matthew McConaughey’s suggestion that Jimmy really shouldn’t be president of the club is perfectly timed. Just as I was looking for a plot to keep me interested for nine minutes, we get a crisis in command. Jimmy’s very blubbering handling of the rebellion only helps make the matter that much funnier.
-Spanx. There are some words, like Spanx, that no matter the context or meaning, are funny. Spanx are both funny as a word and a concept. Bravo for admitting you wear them, Jimmy.
-Expanding Roundtable. I love how there must be thirty celebrities at this small table. You can tell none of them filmed at the same time, but I think this discontinuity only makes the sketch funnier. This sketch’s world is off-center and absurd, but that’s all to the funny.
-Music. No great sketch is complete without a musical interlude. Here Lenny Kravitz is in top form as Kimmel’s bard. Great assist, and some of the best song lyrics he’s probably ever sung, “My skin’s too soft…” Huh?
-Twist at the End. Loved the sketch’s ending. To avoid a spoiler alert, I won’t give it away, but watch until the ninth minute, you won’t be disappointed. Especially if you’re a Good Will Hunting fan. OK, I gave away too much, you can probably guess the end.

Now tell me what you think. Funny? Not so funny. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended, I didn’t write this. Unfortunately…

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3 responses to “Analyzing the Funny

  1. I’ll have to come back to watch and analyze – things are too hectic today since I leave for CA tomorrow. BUT just wanted to say, how are you a screenwriter without a TV? 😉

  2. Dude, I LOVE these skits. You know it started with Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon, right? And then Jimmy and Ben answered? And then they answered again (I believe)? And then Jimmy did this one? Yeah. They’re awesome. The original and this one are probably my favorites.

    I wonder if the A-listers do this pro bono, or if they get paid for it…

  3. @ Rebecca–I am a VERY poor screenwriter, hehe.

    @ Kristan–Did not know the history of these sketches, thanks! So glad you appreciate the humor here. I really hoped that the people who read my blog would like this clip.

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