Funny Business (TV series)

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Funny Business (also known as Laughing Matters) is a documentary style television series about the craft of comedy consisting of six 50-minute episodes. The first episode aired in the UK 22 November 1992. The show was also shown in Germany and released on video. It was directed by David Hinton. The writers were Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, and David Hinton. It was produced by Tiger Television Productions.

The show featured appearances by many comedians, including Rowan Atkinson who made an appearance both as the presenter/narrator, and as an aspiring comedy actor named Kevin. Atkinson demonstrated many of the principles of comedy (slapstick, mime, etc.) in a manner which was instantly identifiable to anyone familiar with his Mr. Bean character.

Episode list[edit]

  1. Visual Comedy
  2. No title
  3. No title
  4. Murphy Brown
  5. Let There Be Love
  6. A Question of Taste

Visual comedy[edit]

In this episode, it is claimed that the three principal mechanics behind (visual) comedy are for an object or person to

  1. behave in an unusual way
  2. be in an unusual place
  3. be of the wrong size

The documentary then goes on to show these mechanics at work in different embodiments, each time illustrated with examples of mostly early visual comedy.

In a central part of the documentary, Atkinson emphasizes the need to deliver the comedy with a carefully crafted attitude. The character behind the comedy is at least as important as the techniques used. He claims that Charlie Chaplin, who is considered one of the greatest comedians of all time, and arguably the greatest of his time, does not make us laugh anymore today, because his character is outdated, despite the fact that his usage of the techniques of visual comedy is probably without par.

External links[edit]