Between Two Ferns: Not laughing at this claimed comedy

There are a lot of ways to laugh, not all of them — or even most of them — indications of real mirth.

A not exhaustive listing would  include:

The nervous titter, when an audience laughs because its members think they should, but the stimulus is slightly or grossly embarrassing.  The absence of a laugh would signal, somehow, culpability.

The polite heh-heh.  A joke isn't all that risible, but the teller deserves at least a C for effort, acknowledging he hasn't fallen on his amour propre or ambushed by an unwarranted egotistic conviction that he had something of interest or amusement to impart.

The guffaw: Unexpected hilarity elicits this, usually from persons unafraid of showing appreciation.

The snorty honk.  This is from know-it-alls, people who share the teller's convictions, recognize his rightness, and are in on the cleverness.

And so on.

The new film, supposedly a comedy, featuring the arrogant glare-meister Zach Galifianakis, called Between Two Ferns, the Movie — is, overall, 80 minutes long.  It is amusing enough only accidentally, eliciting just the barest quick giggle, and usually having nothing to do with Galifianakis's labored and unspontaneous efforts to be "comic."

The audience was primed to find it funny, however.  And the audience was a SAG/AFTRA crowd, and thus specially privileged to see things ahead of the hoi polloi who wait for theatrical distribution across the fruited plain.  My associate and I had probably four instances of mild and quick laughter, short-shrifted by the realization that all the efforts to which the host had gone were based on snarky mockery of the guests interviewed.  He mocked David Letterman's snowy beard by likening him to Santa Claus in summer.  But Letterman can take it as well as dish it out.

He pushed Brie Larson's buttons by asking why her parents had named her for a cheese and followed that with a rude non sequitur: When did you get your first period?  Is that supposed to be wit?  Is it anything but left-field rude?

Matthew McConaughey was in for a dose of endless mispronunciations, a series of "All right, all rights," and then a mention of his car commercials.  John Legend supplied a rare note of suspense as we viewers knew that Galifianakis had the night before done something (highly unlikely) that would have enraged any husband.

And so it went.  There was no overarching theme other than  the protagonist-annoyer trying to convince an officious Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) CEO-type to give funding  for a mainstream 5-day-a-week comedy show featuring his two beloved ferns.

He assayed Sacha Baron Cohen's incognito efforts.  Did not succeed.

Or the very earliest and most breezy delights of the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," which was easy-swallow, unbelabored, and unexpectedly ticklish.

It was an effort at madcap, but it was capsized by the ego of the host.  Some of the sight  gags were extreme and frankly over-the-top absurd.  Overdone is not necessarily humorous.

It's truer than ever that human comedy of old is hard to find, what with outrage spewing out of every outlet — college, mainstream media, Hollywood.  P.C. determines far too much, and frankly kills humor, as Jerry Seinfeld and other really funny comics have noted over the past few years.

Oh: The only surefire humor is in the subtitles identifying each "Between" guest, invariably scrambled or deliberately malapropped.

Zach has made his feelings for the current administration quite clear, and they amount to as much of a rationale for dislike as his pointless movie is a reason to laugh.

There are a lot of ways to laugh, not all of them — or even most of them — indications of real mirth.

A not exhaustive listing would  include:

The nervous titter, when an audience laughs because its members think they should, but the stimulus is slightly or grossly embarrassing.  The absence of a laugh would signal, somehow, culpability.

The polite heh-heh.  A joke isn't all that risible, but the teller deserves at least a C for effort, acknowledging he hasn't fallen on his amour propre or ambushed by an unwarranted egotistic conviction that he had something of interest or amusement to impart.

The guffaw: Unexpected hilarity elicits this, usually from persons unafraid of showing appreciation.

The snorty honk.  This is from know-it-alls, people who share the teller's convictions, recognize his rightness, and are in on the cleverness.

And so on.

The new film, supposedly a comedy, featuring the arrogant glare-meister Zach Galifianakis, called Between Two Ferns, the Movie — is, overall, 80 minutes long.  It is amusing enough only accidentally, eliciting just the barest quick giggle, and usually having nothing to do with Galifianakis's labored and unspontaneous efforts to be "comic."

The audience was primed to find it funny, however.  And the audience was a SAG/AFTRA crowd, and thus specially privileged to see things ahead of the hoi polloi who wait for theatrical distribution across the fruited plain.  My associate and I had probably four instances of mild and quick laughter, short-shrifted by the realization that all the efforts to which the host had gone were based on snarky mockery of the guests interviewed.  He mocked David Letterman's snowy beard by likening him to Santa Claus in summer.  But Letterman can take it as well as dish it out.

He pushed Brie Larson's buttons by asking why her parents had named her for a cheese and followed that with a rude non sequitur: When did you get your first period?  Is that supposed to be wit?  Is it anything but left-field rude?

Matthew McConaughey was in for a dose of endless mispronunciations, a series of "All right, all rights," and then a mention of his car commercials.  John Legend supplied a rare note of suspense as we viewers knew that Galifianakis had the night before done something (highly unlikely) that would have enraged any husband.

And so it went.  There was no overarching theme other than  the protagonist-annoyer trying to convince an officious Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) CEO-type to give funding  for a mainstream 5-day-a-week comedy show featuring his two beloved ferns.

He assayed Sacha Baron Cohen's incognito efforts.  Did not succeed.

Or the very earliest and most breezy delights of the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," which was easy-swallow, unbelabored, and unexpectedly ticklish.

It was an effort at madcap, but it was capsized by the ego of the host.  Some of the sight  gags were extreme and frankly over-the-top absurd.  Overdone is not necessarily humorous.

It's truer than ever that human comedy of old is hard to find, what with outrage spewing out of every outlet — college, mainstream media, Hollywood.  P.C. determines far too much, and frankly kills humor, as Jerry Seinfeld and other really funny comics have noted over the past few years.

Oh: The only surefire humor is in the subtitles identifying each "Between" guest, invariably scrambled or deliberately malapropped.

Zach has made his feelings for the current administration quite clear, and they amount to as much of a rationale for dislike as his pointless movie is a reason to laugh.