Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Marx-Capote Fight, Drawn by Ejected DVD

More Netflix activity for me. I’m still catching up on my U.S. culture, after all.
Yes, there is such a thing.
Anyway, I’m working my way through the DVD set of the Dick Cavett show, and unfortunately “working” is the operative word. There are definitely good nuggets in there, but it sure takes a lot of getting used to.
Generally, the fame of the guests makes up for the slow pace and seeing them just hanging out, more or less, is a treat. Some of these shows took up 90 minutes of air time. One host, one guest. Imagine.
Other shows were an hour (I think) and involved multiple guests. I had to end one prematurely last night. The “meeting” of Groucho Marx and Truman Capote was just a bit too painful for me to watch. Capote appears pained anyway, but being interrupted by a septuagenarian boy-child with a drive to pun and suck on a cigar strained his taut nerves and face even more.
On the one hand it was incredibly funny to see Dick Cavett squirm in the middle, trying to let both talk. On the other, it was sad.
But what could Groucho do? He’s not one to sit on a couch and listen to someone talk. It’s counter to his programming. He thinks he’s there to entertain (which he is), and nodding politely is not entertaining. Capote thinks he’s there to elucidate and wax wise, or at least polish witty. But being interrupted constantly is not conducive to either.
And I had just gotten used to Cavett’s odd, pseudo-nervous patter, too. It seems that he tries to make his jokes so offhand that they come out hidden and mumbled. And then he “emphasizes” them by saying, “no, no.”
Maybe I find his delivery so painful because it’s the one that comes most natural to me. I think something is funny, but by the time it comes out of my mouth it already appears old and trite to me, so I swallow it again with some non-productive comment like, “Well that was a silly thing to say.”
Perhaps people who drink to loosen up are on to something.

No comments: