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Laughing all the way to the bank

/ 10:12 PM May 16, 2012

If you’re the life of the party and have a knack for making people laugh, you could do much worse than trying your luck in the profitable world of entertainment—and find yourself laughing all the way to the bank.

People need “comic relief” from life’s grim downers and bummers so much that they’re prepared to pay top money for it, so the best and most popular comedians are among the wealthiest denizens in show business.

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Some comedians may look like caricatures or cartoon characters, but those long chins, bulging noses, flapping ears, bulbous lips and uneven dentures are like money in the bank for them, so they’re definitely not complaining!

In fact it’s been observed that, when a male or female comic resorts to cosmetic surgery or drastic weight loss to “improve” his or her looks, the comic’s career prospects dip.

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The exceptions to the rule are the “sexy comediennes” like Sofia Vergara in the States and Rufa Mae Quinto here. But they’re called exceptions precisely because their unique combination of beauty and humor is hard to come by, and in inept hands could even come across as an unfunny contradiction.

In England, the beautiful comedienne was famously represented by the patrician-looking Kay Kendall, who had an aquiline-nosed profile to die for, but could also be as blithely, stylishly funny as could be. Alas, she passed away much too early, and is still missed by devotees of sophisticated screen comedy.

At the other end of the style spectrum are the much more raucous and unsubtle exponents of slapstick humor, who like swatting each other on the head with a rolled-up newspaper, to literally punctuate their crossly and brashly comedic routines with a satisfying pop.

Their appeal is more pedestrian and even macadam, but they’re among the most popular and richest entertainers in the biz—which just goes to show that nobody ever went hungry under-estimating the comedic preferences of the mass entertainment audience.

These days, the “underestimaters” are having a field day, because comedy has lost its character and situation-based parameters, and has degenerated into stringing any and all “funny” notions and gambits together, in the sometimes overly fond hope that a couple of them will happen to be actually risible.

The latest wrinkles along those lines are the so-called “pick-up lines,” which have become so momentarily trendy that even “serious” comedians are dishing them out. It’s likely, however, that their shelf life will be exceedingly brief, so they’re definitely not money in the bank.

Much more bankable are the long-range prospects of comedic master impersonators like satirists Willie Nepomuceno and Tessie Tomas, and the sui generis singer-comedienne Mitch Valdes, whose ability to mine her own experiences for laughs and telling insights is unparalleled. Trouble is, their antic art is so difficult to achieve and sustain that only a few of their “successors” are in sight. So, let’s value Willie, Tessie and Mitch for the rare comedic gems they are!

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TAGS: comedians, Rufa Mae Quinto, Tessie Tomas, Willie Nepomuceno
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