Was Albert Brooks Ever Funny?

The film : Lost in America. The writer/star : Albert Brooks. The humor : Almost nil.

I mean, I’ve enjoyed his guest-shots on the Simpsons - but did he ever, otherwise, show any comedic talent at all?

I mean, Woody Allen called, and he wants his schtick back.

Albert Brooks is a comic genius and he’s hilarious too! I love him. He’s smart, goofy, and cute. I adore him and everything he’s ever done.

His humor is perhaps too subtle for some. That’s not a cheap shot at you. Some people like their humor slap stick and others like it subdued.

I remember growing up in St Louis in the mid-late '70’s, there was a guy that had a Saturday morning comedy show on the radio. One of the bits I remember him playing quite often was one from Albert Brooks where he was holding auditions for people with suggestions for a new national anthem. It was a hoot.

And don’t forget (as has been mentioned in several “related celebrities” threads) that he is the brother of Super Dave Osborne.

He did a bit on the Tonight Show back in the 70’s where he did impersonations of Curly and a few others.
That’s about it.

There’s subdued and then there’s completely dead.

Personally, I think Lost in America was hilarious. I also think Brooks’ “flop sweat” in Broadcast News was one of the best controlled panic attacks in movie history.

I like subtle humor. I don’t think ‘neurotic Jewish guy’ is subtle, or particularly humorous, and there’s not a lot else in Lost in America. I mean, it was nice to see Julie Hagerty in a post-Airplane! role, but she was underacting quite a bit, except in the amusing casino scene.

Maybe the problem is with the writing - I will be seeing Broadcast News in the next few months sometime. Maybe he’s better there.

I loved him in Mother (?) with Debbie Reynolds.

I also loved him in the movie where he took quaaludes to get over his broken romance.

I agree with those who say Brooks’ humor is subtle but funny. I like the guy. I thought he was great in Mother, Finding Nemo and The Muse–even if the last one wasn’t that great of flick, to put it mildly.

I like Brooks’ work because his characters are usually people in the midst of self-discovery and introspective revelations. His performances work for me but I can completely understand how they wouldn’t for others and would not write someone off as not ‘getting it’ because they don’t find him funny.

I thought he played the straight man part great in Defending Your Life.
That movie has hilarious performances by Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, and Buck Henry.
“5 days, oh my god.”
“Little brains. That’s what we call you behind your backs.”
“There is no hell. But I hear L.A. is getting pretty close.”
"I coined the phrase ‘all nude’ "
“Welcome to the past lives pavilion”

I like him as the straight guy, like in Broadcast News or Taxi Driver or even Finding Nemo.

But I don’t think he’s actually FUNNY at all. And, I wouldn’t call his brand of humor “subtle” or “dry”. Sometimes he’s downright buffoonish, except he plays the buffoon very poorly.

The movies that he’s written/driected, “The Muse” “mother”, “lost in america” are very lame. I think there might be a subset of american that finds him funny.

Hint: ;j

Mr. S and I both think he’s hilarious. And neither of us is ;j .

I thought this scene from The Muse was pretty funny.

Brooks: Are you two sleeping together?
Wife: I refuse to dignify that with a response.
Brooks: Then dignify it with a “No.”

or however it goes.

Defending Your Life is one of my favorite all-time movies.

Never got to see Mother, but I was reading when Debbie Reynolds came in for auditions, Brooks immediately gave her the part as his mother. She said “Shouldn’t we do a reading first?” He replied, “See? You’re telling me what to do already. You’re perfect!”

He may not be everyones cup o’ tea, but he’s 10x better than David Brenner, who for the life of me I can’t figure out what he ever did, other than tell BORING stories on Talk Shows.

I’ll take him over Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, or any of these other lame, unfunny people any day.

Lost in America and Modern Romance are neurotic classics, but Real Life may be the funniest of them all. I think his various Simpsons characters have been hilarious and the material I’ve heard from the stand-up days is quite funny, too. He can come across a bit self-absorbed at times, and his recent movies haven’t been as hot, but he was hilarious at his peak (late70s-mid80s).

Which Simpsons characters has he done?

Most memorably, Hank Scorpio.

I’ve loved Brooks since I discovered his “Comedy Minus One” LP back in college. His “Memoirs of an Opening Act” is one of the best standups I’ve ever heard.

His films are always delightful (I’d say “Defending Your Life” is his best), though I suppose the jokes and his deadpan directing style is not for everyone. But he’s definitely one of the best around these days. (Yeah, I know – faint praise)

Never found him to be even remotely funny. Hank Scorpio was cool, but Brooks was just a voice, and someone else wrote the lines. YMMV.

Now, I think that’s really undercutting voiceover actors. I found Brooks’s delivery of Scorpio’s lines as a good thing that enhanced the humor of the actual text.

Which is why I suspect the man can be funny, as long as they keep him from writing or directing.

Lost in America was a passable film because of Garry Marshall’s cameo and Julie Hagerty’s Casino breakdown. If not for those elements, there’d be nothing left for me to like. Oh, and the cop who liked Easy Rider.

Everything else was like watching a documentary of one man’s tedious neuroses.

I have the same problem with a lot of Woody Allen’s work, but the difference is that Woody Allen actually injects some wit via the dialogue.