Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Part I
The immediate mystery of Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is that it’s not funny. And the character “Albert Brooks” isn’t funny within the movie either.
Which is rather strange, as a character notes within the movie, since the real life Albert Brooks is very funny – Brooks appeared on Johnny Carson many times, been an extremely successful stand-up comedian and so on.
We can ascribe that failure of funny-ness, as most critics have, to an inadvertent failure of Brooks’ comedic talents. However, when a first-rank comedian can’t seemingly get a single laugh, perhaps we should not so easily jump to that clichéd conclusion.
When this type of disagreement between comedian and critic occurs, it’s usually useful to think about Jerry Lewis’ later career and the idiotic response of American critics to Lewis’ last masterpieces.