November 15, 2010

"By instinct and archetype, comedy is usually phallic..."

"... Chaplin has his cane, Harpo his horn, Groucho his cigar, and Dame Edna her gladioli, with which to poke, probe, and goose the world. Pee-wee, by contrast, is the comedian of non-phallic fun."

IN THE COMMENTS: Deborah said:
Unless Pee-wee himself is a phallic symbol. Of sorts:

"Now, as then, Pee-wee is a round-shouldered, knock-kneed picture of arrested development. His voice is high and strangulated, his laugh shrill and affectless, a sound that comes from the throat, not the belly. He occasionally lets out a scream of fear or a wail of loathing; when he throws himself on the floor in a tantrum, he adopts a kind of fetal position."
Yeah. Good point. The name too. Pee Wee. Wee wee. Pee pee.

38 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh good lord, make it stop.

Scott M said...

I'd buy the posit made, but given the history of the actor I completely agree with Crack.

shoutingthomas said...

The New Yorker.

Of course.

That explains it.

I can remember when I affected reading and liking the New York... back in college.

You had to prattle on about The New York is you wanted liberals to think you were sophisticated.

traditionalguy said...

Pee Wee is not a good role model unless it is for an eternal child that must tip toe around dealing with the terrifying Oedipus Complex that all males must learn to deal with one day. Staying in college forever is one method...at least it is better than staying in Pee wee's elementary school forever.

TMink said...

Sometimes a horn is just a horn.

And Pee Wee has a bike with a bell. No horn needed.

Trey

c3 said...

wink, wink, nod, nod

Skyler said...

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a Freudian is a just a whacko. Actually, always.

Pastafarian said...

Rangle, McCain, PeeWee, and Radcliffe. I'm having trouble coming up with the theme for the day.

Men I'd like to kick in the nuts, repeatedly, even while they lie on the ground in the fetal position, til they lose consciousness?

No...I don't really want to kick PeeWee Herman in the nuts. Not that many times, anyway. That must not be it.

deborah said...

Unless Pee-wee himself is a phallic symbol. Of sorts:

"Now, as then, Pee-wee is a round-shouldered, knock-kneed picture of arrested development. His voice is high and strangulated, his laugh shrill and affectless, a sound that comes from the throat, not the belly. He occasionally lets out a scream of fear or a wail of loathing; when he throws himself on the floor in a tantrum, he adopts a kind of fetal position."

Clyde said...

And yet it was Paul Rubens who had the ultimate phallic incident at the adult theater. Ironic, no?

traditionalguy said...

Sophocles, the Greek playwriter, came up with the Oedipus Complex before Freud stole it for his usages. But the rivalry between a father and a son is never far from the surface and must be dealt with in a socially acceptable truce.

Pastafarian said...

deborah, I must admit, that was my first reaction too -- PeeWee is a peewee. He often flops around with an overly rigid posture. He's a dickhead.

But then I thought he might appear in these comments with the icy rejoinder: "I know you are, but what am I?"

deborah said...

lol there's always that risk.

A.W. said...

um, isn't the fact that these comedians are all dead or retired at least suggest that this is a little outdated?

i mean where is sienfeld's cigar. Or Chris Rock's? and even those references are a little out of date.

so even if it was once true--and that is debatable--its not true today.

vet66 said...

I agree with Deborah. PeeWee is the phallus and a small one at that. Otherwise 'pee wee' is meaningless. He always looks like sausage meat peaking out from it's thin skinned casing wondering where the mustard is.

wv: roode

A.W. said...

traditional

> the terrifying Oedipus Complex that all males must learn to deal with one day.

You want to kill dad and be with your mom?

Well, speak for yourself, freakazoid.

here's a hint. when you talk about humans, it is almost always wrong to say something is true or false about all of us, or a significant subset of us, unless it is truly a tautology.

ricpic said...

I know you are, but what am I?

William said...

I admire Charley Sheehan for creating a comic persona that is burnished by getting in trouble with high priced hookers. At first glance, it doesn't seem that there is any room in Pee Wee's universe for adult toys or black leather underwear. But perhaps now that his audience is composed mostly of nostalgic adults, Paul Reubens can introduce a Mr. Dildo character for Pee Wee to play against.

deborah said...

" He always looks like sausage meat peaking out from it's thin skinned casing wondering where the mustard is."

I feel especially brilliant today...or is it just a reflection of the company I'm in?
Hee hee :)

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey - and what's the matter with phallic comedy?

traditionalguy said...

A W ...The strength of the two men's hidden emotions, that you point out is a freakazoid's problem, cannot be lessened by running away from it in circles. We will only recreate a family to play it out over and over again in hopes of doing it right. That is why coming to an awareness of it can be very helpful to both male role players.

A.W. said...

traditional guy

Um, no, its just you and Freud. Seriously, its exactly this kind of crap that makes it impossible to call this "science."

tim maguire said...

Maybe they don't know...

roesch-voltaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Ellison said...

I had a roommate in college who saw figurative phalli everywhere. I got a big laugh when I told him "you think everything that's longer than it is wide is phallic."

Coketown said...

I have a liberal arts degree, and I'd say 60% of the upper-level classes were devoted to this kind of nonsense. Oil derricks are phallic; the Chrysler building is phallic; cigars are phallic; the desert pit in Star Wars is a man-eating vagina.

The whole New Yorker piece reads like an undergraduate term paper. "Instinct and archetype"? Someone must have just discovered Joseph Campbell! The tragic thing is, these are the types of people who volunteer themselves to write the public discourse on sex--people who spend more time analyzing things that aren't sex than actually having it.

Trooper York said...

All comedy is not phallic.

I mean Jeane Garafolo is a twat. Just sayn'

E.M. Davis said...

"But perhaps now that his audience is composed mostly of nostalgic adults, Paul Reubens can introduce a Mr. Dildo character for Pee Wee to play against."

Does no one remember the original Pee Wee Herman Show?

Quaestor said...

This kind of scatological analysis is irresistible to people who write for The New Yorker. They do it because they've bought into the myth that it bestows a welcome heft to an otherwise trivial matter which wouldn't stimulate more than three neurons in the brain of a well-rounded reader. This Lahr chap evidently doesn't realize that Freudian analysis is an extremely dusty bit of intellectually foppery in these days of tagged neurotransmitters and such. Not only that he seeks to make a rather nebulous point about cylindrical comedy props without knowing much history of comedy, for if he did he'd be at pains to fit Chico Marx into his model, the one without even a vaguely phallic prop. All comedic cognoscenti know that Chico was the randy one.

Quaestor said...

Trooper wrote: "I mean Jeane Garafolo is a twat. Just sayn"

Well, she's vaguely cylindrical and has a swollen head. Yeah, phallic.

wv: pingit - what you do when DNS queries won't resolve.

Fred4Pres said...

I think I recall Pee Wee playing with his pee wee. But I would prefer not to think about it.

Fred4Pres said...

The origins of comedy.

So when I get a tug from TSA, I should consider it a joke?

Geoff Matthews said...

For Seinfeld, the phallic symbol is his mic. Pretty wide-spread for comedians today.

Big Mike said...

Alternative explanation -- most commedians have a particular prop that they make part of their commedic persona. Often this prop is vaguely phallic (they left out Bob Hope's golf club) but sometimes the prop is replaced by a recurring theme (Jack Benny's stinginess, Jim Carey's rubber face) or costuming (Pee Wee Herman, Groucho's moustache) or a trademark gesture (Jack Benny, again, or Jackie Gleason's "away we go" stance) or some combination of the above (Pee Wee).

I guess you have to write for the New Yorker to find deep phallic symbolism in a routine article about a second- or third-tier performer.

Quaestor said...

Paul Reuben must be pushing sixty by now. To be doing the same schtick since (gawd what is it, 197_?) is Freudian all by itself, never mind the penis jokes.

Belkys said...

he was jailed for masturbating in a theatre . or i m wrong? how much phallic can you be?

Scott M said...

he was jailed for masturbating in a theatre . or i m wrong? how much phallic can you be?

Masturbating inside the Washington Monument? Or perhaps the soon-to-be-built and much larger Clinton Monument (right next to the Washington Monument, but twice as wide and tall, with shades of red circling the base).

traditionalguy said...

This post needs a wee wee tag now. Commenting on popular culture has its strange moments.