Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wherein I Try to Account for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's Sudden International Fame (Apart From the Crack-Smoking and Bull-In-a-China-Shop Antics, I Mean)

I think there's a craving (dare one call it a hunger?) out there for a funny fat man. Shakespeare, after all, gave us Falstaff. In the early years of Hollywood, there was Fatty Arbuckle, who looked like an overgrown boy, an image that was held against him when he was tried and eventually acquitted of raping and killing a Hollywood wannabe-starlet. In the 1930s, there was Oliver Hardy who teamed with skinny foil Stan Laurel. And let's not forget stout Sydney Greenstreet of The Maltese Falcon and other memorable film turns (in most of which, admittedly, he was more menacing than he was funny; the same could be said of portly film director Alfred Hitchcock). More recently, we've had John Belushi, John Candy and Chris Farley. (Orson Welles, as he aged, became quite obese, but when he showed up to chew to fat--sorry--with, say, Johnny Carson, he was more of a raconteur than a comedian.) Also--hello, Santa!

In other words, there was opening for World's Funniest/Most Famous Fat Man, and Rob Ford stepped up to fill the role.

Rob Ford: a Falstaff for our time, no?

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