Monday, March 14, 2011

WWI Vet Dies: Reminds Me of a Mamet Joke

Faithful readers will recall several entries since November about a line in David Mamet's Heist that I [Roger Ebert] said was the funniest he had ever written. Gene Hackman is a thief who wants to retire. Danny DeVito wants him to do one more job, for the money. Hackman says he doesn't like money. DeVito replies: ''Everybody needs money! That's why they call it money!''...

Many readers said they did not see anything funny about this line. I quoted Louis Armstrong: ''There are some folks that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.'' More protest. I quoted Gene Siskel: ''Comedy and eroticism are not debatable. Either it works for you or it doesn't.'' This also failed to satisfy many readers.

In desperation I sent the whole correspondence to David Mamet himself, and have received the following reply:

Thank you for your update on the Heist controversy. A lot of people didn't even think 'World War One' was funny. So it just shows to go you.

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