Because It's the End of the Weekend, and Going Into This Week, We Need to Laugh

More
[Alyssa Rosenberg]

I'm having trouble embedding it, but seriously, go watch Steve Martin parodying the Billie Jean video.  If Michael's gift was his grace, Martin's is his awkwardness, and his utter lack of fear in exploiting it for our pleasure.  The video makes Michael's talent clear by showing how awkward and gawky those moves would have been if they were performed by anyone else.


Parenthetically, things like that video make me wonder what's going on in Martin's head as he's made his recent career choices.  In the last ten years, he's made two very different good movies, Shopgirl, which broke my heart, and is based on the tiny gem of a book that Martin also wrote, and Bowfinger, his savagely funny takedown of Hollywood.  And his memoir, Born Standing Up, is sharply observed, and one of the best explanations of how comedic sensibility grows that I've ever read (Martin, like Jackson, was also abused by his father, though only once physically, the rest was emotional.  He writes in Born Standing Up: "I have heard it said that a complicated childhood can lead to a life in the arts.  I tell you this story of my father and me to let you know I am qualified to be a comedian," a sentiment both self-aware and deeply painful.) But there's been a lot of trash in between.  It's hard to know how the guy who made stuff like The Jerk and Roxanne and All of Me ended up making Cheaper By the Dozen and the horrendous Pink Panther remakes.  I don't know why it is that few great stars, in any genre, seems to survive into late adulthood with their artistic sensibilities intact.  There are exceptions, of course, people like Clint Eastwood, Neil Young, whoever.  But there are a lot of dramatic, puzzling falls to observe.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In