Death: Still Funny After All These Years


So, back when I was in the Garrens Comedy Troupe, we played an improv called Story Story DIE in which the players line up and tell a story, each one only speaking when pointed to by the conductor.  When we made a mistake, either by repeating a word, or saying something that made no grammatical sense, or stammering, or whatever, the conductor would call us out and lead the audience in yelling “DIE! DIE! DIE!” 

It was great.

The best part was that we then would get a suggestion — and in some rare instances, two suggestions — with which we would then be killed. These quickly improvised pantomimes were a favorite of mine. “Death By _______!” the conductor would say, and the player would have to quickly act out his or her own demise.  Aaron Johnston once died by a pantomime remote control, which had begun to zoom around the room of its own accord, until it finally nailed him in the head. (Marc E. Shaw, if I recall correctly, provided the sound effects, and absolutely nailed the sounds of a flying remote control.)  I once died by elephant saddle, accidentally hanging myself in the strap.

Well, 10 years ago or so there was a made-for-TV movie on called “Legion of Fire: Killer Ants,” which had my friend Dallen Gettling in a supporting role as a helicopter pilot. 

He dies in the movie when the ants sneak up on him as he sits reading in the helicopter. When they pounce on him, he panics and accidentally flies his copter into the air and then into a mountainside.

All I could think was “Death By Helicopter And Ants!”

Well, last night another made-for-TV movie was on the tube, this time featuring my friend Eric Smith (Eric Artell to SAG and IMDB) as an archaeology student on a dig at Cecil B. DeMille’s set for “The Ten Commandments.” Well, as luck would have it, Cecil B. DeMille apparently used actualy Egyptian artifacts, and the present-day excavation set off a curse.  

An inattentive bulldozer driver is suddenly set upon by scorpions, and he panics and accidentally drives his bulldozer into my friend Eric, neatly decapitating him.

“Death by Bulldozer and Scorpions!”

Neither of these movies were comedies, but darn if those deaths weren’t delightfully funny. 

My apologies to anyone who has lost a loved one to bulldozer decapitation.

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