Tony Zhou’s video essay “Edgar Wright- How to do Visual Comedy” is a fascinating analysis of both the problems with American comedies today as well as Edgar Wright’s use of cinematography to create jokes where American directors have failed. According to Zhou, the complexity of filmmaking in American Comedies has become boring because there is neither nuance nor passion in how most American comedies are made. In particular, the fact that most of these films are made up of jokes with punch lines, which rely entirely on dialogue rather than other types of sound or camera movement. While Zhou has no intention of dismantling some of the classic American comedies, which are funny, he does make it clear that Visual Comedy can add a lot to a comedy and make it much funnier.
Videographically-speaking, I really enjoyed his use of character dialogue to finish his sentences and cement his arguments. Not only were these really well timed, but they also emulated his point about well-timed sound editing with regard to comic relief. I also appreciated that he used a scene from Jaws to further express his and David Bordwell’s argument that having things pop up on screen is funny. While the scene from Jaws likely scared audiences, using it in an essay on comedy actually made me consider the ramifications of having a shark pop out of the water because of the juxtaposition that the example creates. One of the most successful comparisons Tony makes is the difference between a lame and a funny sequence showing a character moving from one city to another. On one end, there is the boring Hollywood version, where the sequence basically just follows the character in their car as they pass various buildings in a city and cross a bridge while some random, upbeat rock song plays in the background. On the other end, Edgar Wright’s version of this scene in Hot Fuzz uses all of the attributes of comedic filmmaking and Visual comedy that Zhou outlines later, more directly.