Steamboat Bill Jr.

Over the years, slapstick has become one of the more intellectual branches of comedy. Oh sure, watching a guy get hit and fall down is funny on any level. But it’s also so simple and pure that each gesture can be unpacked and analyzed, just like a good poem. Turner Classic Movies is going to underline that point by airing a month-long tribute called “Ouch! A Salute To Slapstick” that will feature more than 50 films “from silent masters Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd to modern master Will Ferrell.” The films will air every Tuesday and Wednesday starting on September 6 for the rest of the month, and the blocks will be hosted—because this is TCM, after all—by comedian Greg Proops.

If all of those movies aren’t enough of an introductory course on slapstick, TCM will also by putting on a literal introductory course through Ball State University and the Canvas Network called “Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick In Movies.” The six-week online course will be free, and—as explained in a press release—it’ll involve a “multimedia exploration of how comedy has evolved in popular cinema,” “access to TCM’s online archives,” a private slapstick fan club, and videos highlighting and breaking down famous slapstick gags. Aspiring slapstick comedians and film students (or just people looking to appreciate slapstick on a deeper level) can sign up at TCM’s website.

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