Word of the Night: gasser

 GAS-er \ , noun;   1. Something that is extraordinarily pleasing or successful, especially a very funny joke.   2. A person or thing that gasses.

 “Whenever Mrs. Kissel breaks wind, we beat the dog.”

The scene that I thought of when reading this definition isn’t from a horror, thriller or sci-fi movie.  But it’s definitely twisted, and absolutely hysterical. The above quote is from a scene in the movie “10” starring Dudley Moore and it’s a real gasser involving a real gasser.  Or to paraphrase Bette Midler, oh my God, I’ve been reduced to telling fart jokes.

 I refer to the scene where Moore’s character, George Webber, encounters an old woman, so advanced in years even she doesn’t know her age.  George is visiting a priest in order to learn the identity of his obsession, Bo Derek’s “perfect 10”.   While visiting the priest in his office, Mrs. Kissel arrives and attempts to serve the men tea. The poor woman is so mentally and physically incapacitated the task is quite beyond her.

Of course old age and dementia shouldn’t be funny, and you can’t help but feel guilty for laughing out loud.  But I realized while watching the scene again for the first time in twenty something years (you can see it here 20 seconds into this clip),  what’s really hilarious is watching Dudley Moore desperately trying to do the right thing.  He wants to help.  Doesn’t know if he should.  Gets up.  Sits down.  All the while trying to suppress his laughter.  Having parents in their late eighties, I can relate to his dilemma. 

And then there is Mrs. Kissel’s extraordinarily pleasing release of flatulence, and the line about beating the dog I still don’t really understand.  I saw “10” for the first time when I was 16 years old.  It was one of the first R rated movies I saw with my friends and the first time I ever saw Dudley Moore in anything.  I miss Dudley Moore.  His engaging smile, cute British accent, gentle, self-effacing humor.  An amazingly talented man.  He could even bring humanity to a fart joke.

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