We really enjoyed this Jewish Journal appreciation of the brilliant, under-sung Chris Ross. That the author found something in Chris and his comedy worth praising 50 years after his death makes us feel like we’re on to something. We have some great Chris Ross material that we can’t wait to bring to light.
Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, to stand for the National Anthem reminds us of how The Committee depicted a similar instance of non-violent resistance. As spot-on today as it was almost 50 years ago, The Committee’s “Star Spangled Banner” scene is emblematic of their vision of American nationalism, the militarism at the heart of our national identity, and what happens to protesters who won’t stand up and salute the flag. This clip is from 1969’s “A Session with The Committee”, but the scene goes back with the company to 1966 at least. Featuring Peter Bonerz, Barbara Bosson, Carl Gottlieb, Christopher Ross, Garry Goodrow, Howard Hesseman, Jessica Myerson, and Mel Stewart. #respect #Kaepernick #nationalanthem
The story of The Committee wouldn’t be complete without a look at the life and comedy of the troupe’s youngest performer (and star) – Christopher Ross – who died tragically of a drug overdose at the age of 25 in 1970.
We met Chris’s brother Fred earlier this year and he passed along a small token from Chris’s life that we couldn’t resist sharing with you. It’s a piece of burgeoning comic theory that resonates deeply with us, bringing to mind the time when we were first exposed to -and infatuated by – improv and sketch comedy and when we thought way too much about how comedy works.
Here it is as written. Enjoy:
What is Humor?
The 33 Points…
by Christopher Ross
1. Obvious, Simple, Predictable
3. Deadpan and Understatement
4. Extension of Reality
5. Lunacy, Pointlessness
6. Pain or Cruelty
7. Mistakes, Accidents
9. Afflicted, Deformed
10. Unexpected (Surprise, Shock)
12. Humiliation and Embarrassment
13. Frustration, Aggravation
14. Ignorance or Stupidity
15. Rude, Obnoxious
16. Out of Context
17. Word Play
19. Pomp, Formality
21. Pathos, Poignance
22. Helpless, Hopeless
26. Appearance or Condition (Physical or Otherwise)
27. Facial Expression
28. Movement, Walk, Etc.
29. Reaction, “Takes”
30. Voices, Noises
31. Innate Rhythmic Pacing (Timing)**
32. Recognition, Comparison, Mock
**#31 may cause some alarm. Disregard if you think it will make it easier.
(Note: I sincerely hope this list will help to clear up any and all disagreements or conflicts and thereby aiding Shtickticians everywhere.)
[Chris Ross image is a still from a home movie, courtesy of Allaudin Mathieu