The prospects for a coherent, hilarious and consistent American comedy seem to lessen every year, as the poor waterlogged, gassy corpse called ‘Evan Almighty’ proved when it floated ashore recently. So there’s a temptation to think too highly of Robin Williams’s uneven but occasionally funny ‘License to Wed.’
And regardless of the fact that in this country, certainly in the arts, we treat comedy as a second-class citizen, I’ve never thought of it that way. I’ve always thought it to be important. The last time I looked, the Greeks were holding up two masks. I’ve always thought of it not only as having equal value, but as the craft of it, being funny.
I auditioned for a solo in church and got it. I was about seven and I sang a song called, ‘Jesus, I Heard You Had a Big House’ and I remember people standing up at the end and me thinking, ‘Oh, I think I’m going to like this.’ That’s how it all began. Sounds funny to say you got your start in church, but I did.
I watched a lot of silent directors who were absolutely great like John Ford and Fritz Lang, Tod Browning, and also some very modern directors like The Coen Brothers. The directors take the freedom within their own movies to be melodramatic or funny when they chose to be. They do whatever they want and they don’t care about the genre.