Saturday, 1 March 2008

'But now let's meet some people who are juggling... with life.'

There doesn't really need to be any text accompanying this clip of WC Fields's rightfully legendary juggling skills from The Old Fashioned Way (1934), this isn't so much a post as a sort of replacement for Monkhouse Movie Madness or Make 'Em Laugh or any of those other wet Sunday afternoon compilations of old comedy films which you just don't get anymore, thus depriving future generations of a staple of their cultural diet.

(Well, I assume you don't get them anymore - I'd love to be proved wrong by the discovery of T4's Charley Chase season, or by catching the last five minutes of Loose Women in which Kate Garroway and Colleen Nolan break into a step-perfect recreation of Laurel and Hardy's soft shoe shuffle from Way Out West, but I'm not holding out much hope.)

Why, though, do juggling and comedy seem to go together where, say, plate-spinning and comedy or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel and comedy don't? I suppose comics often feign daftness to conceal a razor-sharp mind, and jugglers pretend to be clumsy only to turn the audience's expectations around by plucking balls out of the air, or something equally woolly and cod-theoretical like that.

Anyway, here's a more contemporary bit of precision tossing shorn of its original context but none the worse for that - Mark 'Let me put my thinking cap ONNNN...' Heap's ten seconds of wonder from one of those Big Train pay rise sketches. Contain your jealousy by thinking of those thousands of unfunny Covent Garden/Glastonbury regulars who make An Audience with Justin Lee Collins seem like a nice night's entertainment, but admit it, you wish you could do this sort of thing, don't you?

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