Seeing the Humor in Sexual Identity

GreenCineStaff's picture

That's funny. I have seen that advertisement and I think both characters - the fat Black woman and the skinny Black man - are Eddie Murphy in that situation.

They're both Eddie Murphy, but again, the presumption that the "you" is male, that there's really only one audience, and that the mistake would be that you'd be squished by a big fat Black woman instead of a Black woman saying, "Have you ever sat on a man who didn't appreciate your big fat ass?" That's much funnier to me.

I see what you're saying. So it's not so much about recontextualizing a stereotype as it is reversing the gaze and upsetting the presumption. Now, I know that it took such a long time - seven years - to make Puccini for Beginners, and no doubt after all that effort, you hate comparisons to other filmmakers; but, I'm sure that you've frequently heard that the film reminds audiences of Woody Allen, partly because of its Manhattan setting. Before I read any of those comparisons, however, Puccini for Beginners reminded me of Woody Allen, not so much because of the movie itself, but because of something you said in your press notes. You said, "I'm not above someone slipping on a banana peel if it will get a laugh." That instantly reminded me of that scene from Sleeper where Woody Allen is running on a giant banana peel.

Of course! [Laughs.] Well, listen, to be able to use my name in the same company as Woody Allen is an extraordinary compliment, and I certainly am a great fan and know all his movies very well, but I did not in any way consciously say, "I want to do a Woody Allen movie." I'm really trying to figure out who Maria Maggenti is and what my vision of the world is. I can honestly tell you that Woody has never once shot in the subway. In that respect, we part ways.

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