Recap 'Love, hate, whatever! It's all about me!'
Last Thursday, on March 17, the Central Library in The Hague was entirely devoted to the American director Mel Brooks! Writer Arnon Grunberg and film editor Geralinda Heywegen discussed his films and his life in showbiz. An evening about bad jokes and smart humor, vanity and charm, but especially about Brooks' gift for exposing conventions through humor.
On his own LinkedIn page, Grunberg reflected on the evening:
'Little is as complicated as analyzing humor - Brooks quotes the actor Edmund Kean who must have said on his deathbed, "dying is easy, comedy is hard" - and much more than tragedy, humor falls or stands with timing. The tragic usually remains tragic, even if you are five seconds late. I know of few who have engaged in transgressive behavior so naturally and confidently that it should be called genius slapstick. (Which may show that not every boundary crossing deserves our disapproval.)
Brooks excelled at persiflating genres, the western, science fiction, the musical, horror. And he also understood, to paraphrase Houellebecq, that you have to press where it hurts. Especially if you want to make comedy.
To Gerlinda I said that comedy begins where perfection ends. I would slightly modify that statement now. The comic is at odds with the belief in perfection.
Those who expect paradise on earth will not like Brooks. Nor, for that matter, will they like Houellebecq.'
(Quote paraphrased and translated from Dutch.)
The next Writers Series is on April 19, again in the Central Library in The Hague. How do you write about climate in a way that does make an impact on the reader? Writers Eva Meijer and Mounir Samuel reflect on that in What happens when the water comes?
The video registration of Love, hate, whatever! It's all about me! will soon be available for viewing via this website and our YouTube channel.