Wednesday, 25 February 2009

When is funny, not funny?

Over at my Stars Hollow blog I talked about the 'train wreck' that was Joaquin Phoenix's interview with David Letterman a couple of weeks ago. (If you haven't seen it or don't know what I am talking about then head over and check it out)
There is much debate over whether he is staging the whole 'flipped out' routine but the majority of people seem to think he is genuinely struggling with some major demons. He has a history of instability and drug dependence.
This brings me to the point of my post. I was wondering in the light of this what people thought of Ben Stiller impersonating Joaquin at the Oscar's?
I found it treading that very fine line between humour and plain bad taste that I guess is what comedians are so good at. I just felt that although it was wickedly on the money, should we be ridiculing a man who clearly may have mental health issues?
What do you think?


dancing in beaumont said...

I am so on the 'bloody funny' side of this, does that make me bad?? but if he is that mentally unstable then his 'people' shouldn't let him sit on national television making a fool of himself!

it has divided people though, one of my very good friends was telling me today how completely disgusted she was by the whole 'ben' thing. couldn't see the funny side at all!

whit said...

Ooh, I see both sides to this. Did you hear that Casey Stiller was following him (joaquin) around with a camera that night on the letterman show?
But the clip was funny but what if he is unstable? Why isn't anyoen looking out for him?
Ben STiller was sort of funny, kind of over-played, but if he is making fun of it, maybe some boys of hollywood are in on it and it is a social experiment? Ah, conspiracy theories. I was thinking of you when Heath Ledger won.

Kell said...

I have issues with people making light of mental illness and also those faking it.
That being said, I am on the fence with this one. Joaquin's 'performance' on Letterman was like a train wreck that you couldn't take your eyes off and thus left it open for parody.
Was it tasteless - yes and no. Given that JP has come out and said that it was all for a documentary on public persona and that he expected parodies, I guess that laugh is on us!