On July 1, newjonnytransit turned three. I didn’t know that straight away, but WordPress told me.
So, to celebrate I’m going to give myself (and by extension you [you’re welcome]) a birthday present that is, frankly, about as good as it gets: via YouTube, the single funniest thing ever captured on film.
I know. That sounds like reckless hyperbole, doesn’t it? But it’s not – and it really does bear repeating: what you’re about to see is the single funniest thing ever captured on film. (Granted there are many things captured on film that I’ve never seen. Yet those things are not funnier. I have seen an awful lot of Buster Keaton films; those are as funny as it gets, and what you’re about to see is funnier still. Therefore the funniest thing ever captured on film.)
Perhaps you’ve seen it before. But given it’s unlikely providence – the Travel Channel, 2007 – more than likely you haven’t. Let me briefly note, then, by way of introduction:
(1) Anthony Bourdain was already quite funny before, here, he accidentally does something funny. He subverts the formulaic nature of reality television in the course of delivering standard-issue reality television. (Says the voiceover introduction to his travel show, No Reservations: “I’m Anthony Bourdain. I write. I travel. I eat. And I’m hungry for more.” Says the way he subsequently does this show: they’re paying me to do this, and that’s pretty weird.)
(2) Key phrase: (0.02) “I don’t bother to listen when he yells back at me, don’t do what I’m doing.” Proof eternal that inside every man playing by the rules is a naughty boy dying to ignore them.
(3) Anthony Bourdain is too old to be doing this. And he knows it too.
(4) (o.14 to 0.16) Will our TV host fall, or won’t he? The two seconds of wondering are worth their weight in gold. What’s better than a spectacular pratfall? A spectacular pratfall almost averted.
(5) (0.20) The flip. Oh, the flip! Simply magnificent. I could watch that a million times and never get sick of it.
(6) (0.23) And still time for one extra fall. A fall on the very cusp of being too much… But no. In fact: a consummate, exuberant, genius final flourish. A fall, you might say, for the ages – in the blink of an eye, one mortal body setting itself free of earthly constraints in a lunatic frenzy of tumbling. Gravity is god; and the ground compels me to worship!
(7) (0.30) “Yeah, I’m fine.” The embarrassed entreaty of a man dealing all at once with shame, excitement, adrenaline, and the closeness of death. An adult New York hipster transformed into a naughty boy with nowhere to hide. And very possibly enjoying it.
I love this clip with all my heart. It’s life with the boring bits taken out, and sometimes just thinking about it is enough to make me laugh out loud. Enjoy:
Like I said, the single funniest thing ever captured on film. (Even if, it must be said, at least a little bit dishonestly. Witness the disappearing sunglasses at 0.33. Hey ho.)