Monthly Archives: February 2015

Chuck Jones on What Makes a Comedian Funny

Many thanks to the editors at BigThink.com and to Patrick Allan at LifeHacker.com for sharing this terrific story and quote from Chuck Jones!

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From BigThink.com:

Chuck Jones (1912-2002) was an American animator, cartoonist, and director of animated films. His most famous work consisted of numerous Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts for Warner Brothers featuring characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, and others. Jones was nominated for eight Oscars, won three, and was awarded an honorary statuette in 1996. Robin Williams called Jones “the Orson Welles of cartoons.”

Many luminaries of humor peddle varying definitions of comedy. Jones’ stance was that comedians are funny people who do funny things against a backdrop of relative normality.

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.” [Wikiquote]

Source: “The Art of Chuck Jones: John Lewell Interviews the Veteran Hollywood Animator [1982],” in Animation – Art and Industry, ed. Maureen Furniss (John Libby Publishing Ltd., 2009), 134.

From Patrick Allan writing at LifeHacker.com:

Having a good sense of humor can make you more charismatic and become the type of person people like to be around. Being funny isn’t always easy, however, and legendary animator Chuck Jones believes the main ingredient is how you say or do something—not what you say or do.

Chuck Jones—most known for his animation and direction on Looney Tunes—has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and received four for his cartoon work. Needless to say, Jones—who passed away in 2002—knew comedy pretty darn well. Jones believed there was a secret to it all:

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.”

Ever tried to listen to someone repeat a stand-up comedian’s joke? It’s amazing how unfunny it can be. So as you work on your jokes and humorous conversation, remember that you don’t need to stress about material. Instead think of ways to be funny without relying on a “funny door.” Of course, you don’t want to be all jokes all the time, but a sense of humor can get you a lot farther than you think.

…There’s a New Rabbit in Town

“What’s Up, Doc? The Animated Art of Chuck Jones” opens Saturday, February 14th in Fort Worth, Texas a their Museum of Science and History.

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Chuck’s daughter, Linda Jones Clough, and his granddaughter, Valerie Kausen, will be special guests on opening day. The exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits with the collaboration of the Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Beverly Hills, and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Costa Mesa, explores what it takes to make a cartoon and how Chuck Jones’s unique perspective on film-making, his comedic genius, precision timing, and intense focus on character shaped and guided the evolution of the animated film. It is a not-to-be-missed exhibit.

For more information, visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History website by clicking on either image.

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