Every so often, a comedy talent emerges that is so unique, so unbelievably funny that audiences can help but fall in love. Usually, it’s some young upstart, fresh off a stint at one of the country’s more popular comedy theaters, ready to make their mark on the world. It’s very rarely a struggling character actor in their mid-50s who, until that point, had stuck almost exclusively to drama. But such is the case with Leslie Nielsen, and the world is much better for it.
A new 20-minute documentary from Hats Off Entertainment on YouTube explores Nielsen unconventional career path and examines what makes his deadpan delivery so damn funny. Let’s all take a moment out of our day to appreciate this genius at work.
“I think that the same quality that…works for both drama and comedy, is credibility,” Nielsen said in a 1992 interview.
That credibility manifests in the unflinching deadpan he brought to characters like Airplane’s Dr. Rumack, which helps make the absurd, cartoonish moments of that film so funny. This, of course, was only the beginning of Nielsen’s career as a go-to actor for parody films; he would go on to star in Police Squad!, the Naked Gun series, Dracula: Dead And Loving It, and even the Scary Movie franchise. And let us not forget the many, many farts he dropped throughout many late-period press interviews.
If this mini-doc only whet your appetite for more deadpan lunacy, the first two Naked Gun movies are currently streaming on Netflix. You’re welcome.
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