INTERVIEW:

Expert Opinion: 'The Three Stooges' vs. Pretty Big Three Stooges Fan

on April 18, 2012 by Paul McDonald, as told to Boxoffice
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threestoogesexpertopinion.pngAs told to Boxoffice:

I'm a pretty big Three Stooges fan. I've got the Stooges books, the autobiographies, most of the posters. All kinds of figurines, they're all over the place in my basement. Some are still in the boxes, so I'm sure they're worth some money. I have these three heads of Larry, Moe and Curly where you can slam them with your hand and the voices will come up, you know, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk." I've got a Three Stooges chef hat and chef apron that I wear around, Three Stooges wind chimes. I have Curly as a rubber duck that somebody got me so I can take a bath and have Curly in the bathtub.

I don't really know who the Farrelly Brothers are. I'm not a big movie fanI'm just a sports guy. Dumb and Dumber, I remember that one. Jim Carrey and the guy from Chelsea here in Michigan: Jeff Daniels. I just love the slapstick and the comedy of the Three Stooges. I always watched them growing up, all my friends did. They'd hit each other and there were the noises and all thatI think the whole thing was the noises. If they took the noises out, it wouldn't be funny. And the one-liners. They were dumb, but it was funny-dumb. Most of these shorts were made in '36, '37. You don't see that humor any more in moviesI don't know where it's gone, but you don't see it. And I don't think there's many good comedians who could do this kind of stuff. It's a bygone era. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. I'm 48.

I was nervous when I heard they were making a new Three Stooges movie. I just didn't think they could pull the slapstick off. People have tried to act like them before, but they haven't been able to do it. To me, nobody is going to be the original guysyou just can't duplicate what they didand I was afraid they were going to make a mockery of it. If they didn't have had the mannerisms down like they did, the movie wouldn't have went off at all. I would have walked right out. But these guys got the little mannerisms and sayings just right, things I'd forgotten all about until they did them again. There's one part in the film where they went out on this golf course and they're selling fish to make moneythey just picked a golf course, I guessand Curly was watering all the fish to keep them alive. He had a name for all the fish, and he did the same thing in one of the shorts. I don't remember what he was feeding that, but it brought back memories of the old 15-minute reels.

Ladies don't like the Three Stooges for some reason. I think it's just a man's comedy. My wife Cathy never watched them growing up, so when we were first dating, I said, "Well, I like to watch them," and she said all right. She tolerates it. She goes into the other room. My wife collects nutcrackers. She has hundreds of them. I told her no more nutcrackers, so she had her brother Bob make me the Three Stooges as nutcrackers. They thought it was funny. I said, "Well, what's three more nutcrackers? I'll take them."

We took our three young nephews to see The Three Stooges. The youngest is four and he was kind of iffy about it, but the other two were laughingI was about his age when I started watching themand they really got a kick out of the comedy, even the old films. I think the Stooges are timeless. Some of the stuff they usually watch doesn't compare. My mom and dad would have never let me see some of the movies they watch nowadays. Maybe the movie will make the shorts come back out? There could be a renaissance of the Three Stooges. You could see them on the television more. There was a lot of kids there and there was a lot of laughter, so hopefully that will start a new generation into watching the old flicks.

But the nephews haven't imitated the Stooges yet. That was the good thing: the brothers came out onscreen after the movie and said to the kids out there, "You've seen these hammers hitting people," and they showed the kids they were rubber mallets. Christ, in the movie, there's chainsaws going against Curly's head and people hitting him with sledgehammers. Back in the day, we never would have thought about doing that at home, but nowadays, you never know what these kids will pick up. "Let's grab this knife and see if it's sharp!"

You could tell the people who made the movie were big Stooges fans. They had to be to know how to direct these guys, because you have to see these shorts to know exactly how Curly acted and this guy did it perfectly. There's a moment in the movie when they're at the zoo and a peanut goes in a dolphin's blowhole. Curly said they had to do the Heineken maneuver-not the Heimlich maneuver. That was Curly at his best-he was always mispronouncing things. They did a heck of a job. I don't know if you could do better than these guys. The guy who did Larry, his voice was exactly like him. It was uncanny, really.

It didn't really bother me that there wasn't a Shemp. Back in the day, some of the ones they made of Shemp were the same storylines they made with Curly, but now Shemp was in place of Curly. Curly's always been my favorite Stooge. Reading about him back in the day, he was always the funny one. And then Curly had all the strokes, and that's why Shemp came into play. There's one film I remember where Shemp was asleep on a train and when they took his hat off, it was Curly sleeping with a toupee on. That was pretty neat"Hey, there's Curly in a short, but it's really a Shemp one!"

But if they made another movie, Jim Carrey would make a good Shemp. Shemp was the guy that Moe would slap around most of the time. He was a ladies man. He had the long hair and when he'd get slapped around, his hair would come all unglued. I really do think Jim Carrey would make a good Shemp, better than how they were going to have him gain weight to play Curly.

The only thing that was a non-Stooge thing in the movie was the nun in a bikini. You'd never have seen any of that kind of stuff in the '30s, of course notthat was out of the ordinary. But it was pretty neat. I guess in this day and age, it fits in pretty good. Bunch of skin in every movie, right? That Kate Upton girl who was in the bikini is from Michigan. Her dad is a representative in the other side of the statehe's like a big guy in the House of Representatives in Michigan. Not her dadher uncle, maybe.

Another thing was that the Jersey Shore people were in there and it was kind of off the beaten path there for a while. Moe hit them around, which was kind of funnyI'm not a big Jersey Shore fan. But more was slapping them, so that was pretty good. I didn't mind that. The Jersey Shore kids are the exact opposite of the Stooges. They can't even compare to the Stooges.

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