Steve Coogan’s latest film, Stan & Ollie, works on several levels – as an entertaining movie about the lives of Laurel & Hardy, as a loving tribute to two iconic comedy legends, and as a deconstruction of comedy itself.
This week, when Coogan introduced a special screening of the film for some of the most iconic British funny folk of the past 30 years – including Frank Skinner, Richard Herring, and Iain Lee – he made the point that comedy unites us all, so maybe we should laugh at Brexit.
With This Time With Alan Partridge set to have a ‘Me Too’ episode, does Coogan think that there’s anything comedians shouldn’t joke about or laugh about?
“No I don’t, actually,” Coogan told Yahoo Movies UK. “You can do comedy about any subject, it’s not about what you can or can’t do, it’s about the underlying attitude of your comedy. As a rule, comedy can be powerful and used to shine a light on things, but you should punch up and not down, and you should attack those who are empowered and not those who are disempowered.”
“If you take the lesson of Laurel and Hardy, their work never traded in contemporary references or the current issues of the day,” Reilly said. “They dealt in things that were eternal. How do we get this box up these stairs? Something that someone in Cairo, or Buenos Aires, or Tokyo could relate to. These are not things that are related to national identity or religion, or contemporary culture, these are timeless things and that’s the comedy that lasts.”
“Their comedy will be remembered in 100 years time, Coogan agreed. “If you do contemporary comedy you’re always going to be rooted in the time you do it in. Stan & Ollie were around in the time of fascism in Europe, the Great Depression in America, you have to remind yourself of that when you watch it, what’s going on while they’re doing these funny films. The reason they last is because they exist in their own bubble, but that bubble is redolent of the perennial human condition that never changes.”
Stan & Ollie is in UK cinemas tomorrow. Watch a trailer below.
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