Last weekend I went to see The Muppets. I was asking myself why a sixty-six year old man would go to a movie with puppets. By myself. This was the second weekend the movie was out and it was a Sunday afternoon so the crowd was small. Most had their children with them. I suspect the children didn’t want to be there. The girls probably wanted to see a movie with a princess in it and the boys wanted something with disgusting bodily noises in it. The adults brought the kids as cover. Because they wanted to see it. They wanted to see for the same reasons I did. One part nostalgia and three parts we just loved The Muppet Show.
The Muppet Show was a thirty minute variety show staring, well, the Muppets with a live guest host. The guest hosts were stars from movies and TV and some pretty big recording stars. Anybody with a name who didn’t mind being upstaged by a cheap piece of fabric with two eyes and a mouth. I loved it. It was zany comedy. It was complete and utter nonsense. Zany is a tag that seems to have gotten a negative connotation. Maybe calling it nonsense would make us feel better about it. Makes no sense at all. Don’t send it in to the New Yorker because they would just stick their nose in the air and sniff.
Comedy today seems just mean instead of funny. (Now I do sound old. Music’s too loud, the way kid dress, how much for a hamburger?) What we need is nonsense. Like the old days. Like…
Airplane, The Jerk, the early years of Steve Martin (think fake arrow on the head), Monty Python (the department of silly walking), the early years of Saturday Night Live (Coneheads, killer bees, land shark). None of this stuff makes any sense. It’s ridiculous, dumb, low brow, not worty of our time. I love it.
Come to think of it most of this stuff happened in the seventies, the decade after the turbulent sixties. Maybe that’s what we needed. Maybe that’s what we need now. We should declare the two thousand teens as the decade of nonsense. We need less Two and a Half Men and more nonsense, stuff that just puts a silly grin on your face. Like The Muppet Show.