Tuesday afternoon, December 20, 2016.
“What are you doing Saturday night?” Considering what the Jackson Pollock painting they’re looking at says to her, her answer isn’t surprising. Woody Allen and Diane Davila in the scene that contains my second favorite joke in Play It Again, Sam.
Talking to Ken and Oliver about this and that the other night somehow led to us talking about Woody Allen’s Play It Again Sam and me trying to tell them my favorite joke from that film. But I couldn’t. Just thinking about it, I got laughing so hard I couldn't get the words out. It was uncontrollable. I’d say I was laughing like an idiot except that I was actually laughing like a genius---Pop Mannion. Laughing fits like the one overcoming me have overcome him in the same way as far back as I can remember. I was even making the same comic strip Teeheeheeheehee laughing sound he’ll make. The guys got a real kick out of that. It was more evidence I'm turning into my father. I think they think it’s a necessary step for clearing the way for them to turn into me. Why they’d want that, though, I can’t imagine. At ay rate, I couldn’t tell the joke for the life of me, and not only did they miss out on the joke, they missed out on the story that explains why I find the line so funny. Here it is.
First the joke. Allen's character is telling his friends (played by Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts) why his wife left him for a guy he describes as a big blond Nazi. Guy's also a skier. Allen says:
She wants to laugh; she doesn't laugh enough. Insufficient laughter; that's grounds for divorce. Oh, and skiing! She wants to go skiing. She wants to ski down a mountain laughing like an idiot.
You had to be there. And there was with me in college just dumped by my high school girlfriend---the one who looked like Scarlett Johansson, not the one who looked like Elizabeth Montgomery---for a guy she was going skiing with weekends while I was away at school.
He was big and good looking but he wasn't a Nazi. Actually, he was Jewish. Also a nice guy. It's also the case that I was funnier and made her laugh, so she didn't need to go skiing down a mountain laughing like an idiot. Just go skiing. I did’t ski. So Woody’s and my situations weren’t quite parallel. Still it helped cheer me up to keep quoting the line whenever someone asked what happened with me and Chris. Still does, although no one’s asked me about her in a long time.
Post script. He dumped her before the next winter's ski season when he went away to college. Skiing and laughing together aren't enough to sustain a relationship, I guess.
“The hideous, lonely emptiness of existence…” You didn’t think I wasn’t going to include it, did you? The scene from Play It Again, Sam that contains my second favorite joke in the movie: