Groucho, Zeppo, Gummo, Chico, and Harpo--also known as The Marx Brothers--not only changed the way we think of comedy, but they helped shape our modern notions of cinema as well. Does their biting wit and chaotic humor hold up today? I absolutely think so. In fact, I think we need a lot more humor today to help us break the tensions that we feel on a daily basis--and our guest agrees. Dr. Robert Weir is a retired history professor who most recently taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He's a former senior Fulbright scholar to New Zealand, a past president of the Northeast Popular Culture Association, and the author of 11 books and numerous other academic works. We talk about comedy today, do college-age students get the humor of the Marx Bros, the anti Semitism that they faced, and the origins of their rise to stardom. If you have never seen a a Marx Bros. film, drop everything and go check out A Night at the Opera or my personal favorite, Horsefeathers. In fact, you stay here and I'll drop everything and go watch a Marx Bros. film.
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// EPISODE LINKS //
Book link: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/th...
// EPISODE OUTLINE //
03:22 Start of conversation
06:25 How did the Marx Bros. become a cultural interest?
10:17 Did the humor catch on with your college students?
16:08 My approach to education with my students
19:15 How did their mother impact the Marx Bros. showbusiness careers?
23:46 Pioneers in "talkies" or early cinema with sound
28:27 Some feedback from the Catholic Telegraph for the Cocoanuts. (It sounds like the setup for a great Groucho zinger.)
33:51 How did anti-Semitism impact their careers?
45:54 Before Jim Halpert was breaking the wall, Groucho was showing how it is done by bringing in popular culture.
49:02 The Marx Bros. did NOT want the music in the film, which sounds absurd.
52:15 Why was Harpo silent?
58:23 Margaret Dumont reminds me of Bea Arthur--owning every scene she is in with nothing more than a look.
1:01:06 Why was Horsefeathers an unpleasant film to make?
1:04:14 Is the speakeasy in Horsefeathers a reflection of reality or a political statement?
1:06:56 What did writing this book teach you about comedy?
1:10:09 I get asked about my favorite form of comedy. Things get chaotic.
1:11:40 Concluding thoughts and I even throw in a few of my own Marx Bros.-inspired jokes.
// WEBSITE //
Head over to the website to learn more about me and to contact me. https://theneutralgroundpodcast.com/
// EPISODE SUGGESTIONS //
1. ChatGPT, Cheating, Critical Thinking, and the Future of Humanity and AI | Dr. Teo Susnjak #65? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Z6n...
2. What we don't hear about incel culture | Drs. Sarah Daly & Shon Reed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynYdp...
3. Why not violence? Dr. Duane Armitage - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohhht...
4. Visual Thinking, Rebuilding the Trades, Animal Consciousness, Training AI | Dr. Temple Grandin - https://youtu.be/P8FvlKD6Y9Q
5. Crisis in Men, Anger and Alienation in boys, What is Going on? | Dr. Robert Tyminski - https://youtu.be/cwFMjuXf5xI
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#comedy #grouchomarx #humorous
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