What to Watch: New Year’s Eve 2011

Turner Classic Movies has yet again arranged for one of the funniest comedy groups to take over New Year’s Eve programming. For those of you looking for something to do for the 14 hours leading up to your evening plans for the holiday, the network has arranged for me you to never leave the couch except to occasionally roll on the ground in reaction to the antics of the Marx Brothers.

TCM had scheduled probably half a dozen of the trio/quartet’s movies to run last year up through midnight on New Year’s Eve, which is how I came to record and spend the past year watching a majority of them. I hadn’t seen any of the boys’ pictures before then and to my surprise found I utterly adore their mode of humor. I had been resistant to them –like Laurel and Hardy as well– thinking for some reason I would not care for their work. What a fool I was! Chico, Groucho, Harpo (and Zeppo, I guess) have become my favorite comedic team. 

So for those who are Marx Bros. virgins like I once was, Saturday makes for a great chance to become ingrained in their way. And if you are of that inexperienced class, here are some things I didn’t know when watching my first of their movies that might make the experience more enjoyable:

  1. Harpo never speaks and is always acquaintance/sidekick to Chico and usually wears an oversized coat that contains any unlikely implement you can imagine.
  2. Chico always plays an low-brow Italian gent … and is awesome.
  3. Groucho’s mustache and eyebrows ARE painted on, I’ve concluded, as they are far too absurdly large, greasy and unhairy to be real. He is always the ringleader and usual star of the flick.
  4. Zeppo, if he is in the  movie you are watching, will play a normal guy who might be recipient of the other brothers’ antics and you will not recognize him as fitting in with those buffoons.

So cross over to the dark hilarious side if you have not already. The Marx Brothers are not for everyone, but if dumb humor is your taste you will love them. The schedule for Dec. 31 is:

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