Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Canadian Ham

My good friend and Weekly Standard colleague Matt Labash has written a terrific piece entitled "Welcome to Canada: The Great White Waste of Time." Matt journeys to British Columbia in search of Americans who really have left this country because of George W. Bush. But in the midst of some very funny Canadian jokes, he had this to say: "...polls show [Canadians] pride themselves on being much funnier than Americans (don't ask me why, when they're responsible for Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and Alan Thicke)."

Did he just say John Candy? We've argued about this for days now and there is no use convincing him that John Candy was a great comedian. Matt refers me to his IMDB resume and points out he's had vastly more flops than successes. I don't disagree with this. But at least for me, all it takes is one Planes, Trains, and Automobiles or one Splash to deem him funny. (Others have also mentioned his work on SCTV.)

As Tom Hanks's brother Freddy in Splash, Candy was fantastic. Remember how proud he was to get his letter published in Penthouse under the heading, "A Lesbian No More"?


Anonymous said...

The thing about Candy is that he was always best as a SUPPORTING comic - almost never as a lead.

Think about it:
Hanks's brother in Splash
Martin's foil in Planes
Pryor's catcher in Brewster's Millions
Bill Murray's buddy in Stripes

He never really carries a movie by himself (except maybe Uncle Buck). Which isn't to say that he isn't a great comic - I think he is. But I think there is a point to be made with respect to what he did over his career.


Anonymous said...

I fully expect to see a correction in the next issue of the Weekly Standard regarding John Candy. Labash's swipe was uncalled for and inaccurate.

Candy's best moment came in Splash when he and Hanks are disgusing themselves as Swedish doctors only to encounter a Swedish-speaking armed guard who demands they say something to prove they are Swedish.

After a few "Ya, yas" Candy says something which, according to the subtitles, is "Hey, babe, I've got a 12-inch penis."

In the next scene, Candy says something like, "After we were dating for a few weeks, a few key words began to sink in."

Anonymous said...

As is true of Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy -- Candy's all time best work was on the small screen as part of SCTV. His film career has certainly had its moments, as others have mentioned, but with SCTV he and the rest of the cast were SUI GENERIS! Johnny LaRue deserves some respect!!

Anonymous said...

Even John Candy would have found this piece hysterical!

Labash never ceases to entertain me with that acerbic, off-handed style of his...he writes so easily, it makes me think *I* could do it...

Matt's Weekly Standard pieces are nothing short of brilliant...taking his niece to the concert...riding with Hitchens from Kuwait into Iraq...that backstage-with-the-rappers column.

Make the man a regular on Galley Slaves...and let me go with him on his next assignment. Matt, I'll drive.

~ mike

Jay D. Homnick said...

Matt Labash is a genius and he has a notably broad range.

Some recent greats are his day with the international election observers and his viewing The Passion with a Jewish doctor. But my all-time favorite is still his coverage of the porno convention about eight years ago.

As for Candy, he was a nice guy. But I have always loved Dan Aykroyd, who is always sweet and often funny.

pmcronin said...

The Canada article, like much of the work by Matt Labash, made me laugh out loud. Nonetheless, I too thought the inclusion of John Candy was not fully merited. Blogger "Al" probably most accurately captures Candy's strength as a supporting actor/ comic. Though often associated in films with Dan Aykroyd (whose portrayal of Elwood Blues was probably only funny because he tried to play it so straight), Candy has given me chuckles in a way that Aykroyd has never done outside of Blues Brothers and a few SNL highlights (Jane, you ignorant slut...). Alan Thicke; well, I'm still waiting for my first laugh there.

Anonymous said...

I'm fond of "Only the Lonely."