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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

homeland humor

So there's this ad by Lindor, the people that make those wonderful little truffle balls that you can buy at the Borders checkouts, or with a $2.50 coupon in the latest Costco coupon book. You've got that Roger Federer guy going through airport security, and the people at the x-ray machine see that his carry-on is full of balls. "Hey, look at this, he's a tennis player" says blue-uniformed TSA person #1 to TSA person #2. Then they open the bag and see that it isn't tennis balls, but rather a big full of those delightful little Lindor truffle balls, while Roger Federer says "Swiss tennis player." Because it's swiss chocolate, get it. And then the TSA people say they're going to have to confiscate the bag, and Roger says "you've got to be kidding me," and the commercial ends with a freeze frame shot of the two TSA people looking very very serious about needing to confiscate that bag.

I find this funny. I don't find much to laugh about at airport security, but I find this funny.

And then tonight I audited the first 15 or 20 minutes of Due Date. Where Robert Downey Jr. has his carry-on switched with one of Zach Galifianakis' that has marijuana paraphernalia and such, and Downey has a dialogue with the TSA guard that's full of the two talking past one another. And then he's on the plane and he starts lecturing Galifianakis on how he shouldn't use words like terrorist and bomb and ends up being shot at by an air marshal with a rubber bullet, tossed off the plane, put on the no fly list. And after not really laughing once, or smiling, or even grinning even the teeny-tiniest bit, even beseeching the gods of comedy to explain why anyone thinks the "driver pulling away when someone tries to open door of car" gag is supposed to be remotely funny, I decided I'd rather get to Whole Foods and buy some dinner before they closed and get home than stay around in the theatre to midnight or so watching a not very funny movie.

So why is this? Why am I willing to enjoy one comic look at the insanity we call airport security while the other leaves me absolutely cold? Is it because I like Lindor truffle balls more than Zach Galifianakis? Because the one is so clearly unreal and exaggerated that I can view it from a distance while the other seems all too real? Because Roger Federer is a better comic actor than Zach Galifianakis?


Joseph L. Selby said...

Because one gag is 30 seconds long and one gag is 90 minutes long. Extending a 30-second joke to 90-minutes does not create 90 minutes of comedy, only spread 30 seconds of comedy over 90 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I found this post amusing. Except now I really want a Lindor truffle.

Maria said...

I'm with Charlie. I need a truffle.

The commercial would have been funnier before they put the scanners in, but not so much these days.