Monday, January 08, 2007

Never Enough Shearer

Just finished Harry Shearer's novel Not Enough Indians a few minutes ago. It continues to resonate like a slot machine that just opened up for you and still hasnt stopped.
Watched Harry's flick Teddy Bear's Picnic twice over the weekend, with opposite reactions to it. Although watchable enough, it just didn't seem up to the level of story I'd expect from Harry Shearer, the voice of audio treat Le Show for decades and one of America's most reliable masters of funny/seriousness.
The novel however. I listened to Le Show this morning at 10 as usual. When I can't make that appointment, it's on line soon enough. If there's been a Le Show I've missed since it went on line, it would be a mystery. Harry's private collection perhaps.
Then the great treat of a new Simpsons. Not as many Shearer voices as usual but it's almost impossible to Simpsons without Shearer.
Then finished the book I'd started yesterday. The sentences were all in Shearer's voice in my head. He was doing the characters just as he does on the Simpsons. I think anyone would experience this. There are wonderfully hilarious descriptions of people and things that seem to have erupted out of Simpsonsland. I started underlining passages I wanted to quote, or recall. The first was:
One of the things about being compulsively amiable is that you could never just say something simple, you had to keep embellishing it with an unstoppable flow of what you hoped didn't sound like desperate attempts at attention retention.
p. 52
It's funny, memorable and gripping. It's not something I'd immediatley want to re-read any more than I'd want to watch the Simpsons episode immediately after watching it. Same with Le Show. Shearer captures the hilarity of now as well as anyone I've heard, and weekly, a task otherwise known only among cartoonists. I first heard him as part of The Credibility Gap on LA radio in late 60s-early 70s. Thier 3 Stoogesesque- phone repairmen skit during the LA phone strike should not be listened to by anyone operating a vehicle, holding a sharp object, or near a stairway as convulsive laughter can be dangerous.
I wonder what an episode of The Simpsons written by Harry Shearer would be like?

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