It’s Only Funny If It Hurts

It’s Only Funny If It Hurts

With Bill Oddie

Date: Saturday 29th January 2022
Time: 2:00pm
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

You’ve Been Framed! is a 21st-century comedy phenomenon but why do we laugh at the physical misfortune of others? That accidental fall that looks precarious, that painful-looking blow to the head, that snappy kick up the bum – why do we find it all so funny? And are we bad people for doing so?

Bill Oddie presents his ‘comedy lecture’ exploring what Freud described as Schadenfreude. “You’ve fallen down—I haven’t.” It creates the laughter of pure pleasure, the pleasure derived from someone’s humiliation.

Bill himself says he wouldn’t know about that stuff, but does have “lots of experience of being in pain and being laughed at.” The lecture will illustrate this unique comedic experience with extracts from Bill’s favourite examples, think Tom & Jerry, Jackass, Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges, Bottom, and of course Bill’s homage to slapstick, The Goodies.

Only funny if it hurts 2022

The Real Charlie Chaplin (2021)

The Real Charlie Chaplin (2021)

Date: Saturday 29th January 2022
Time: 11:15am
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£6.00

Dir: Peter Middleton & James Spinney US 104min

We are honoured to be hosting a screening of the brand new documentary ‘The Real Charlie Chaplin’ fresh off its debut at The London Film festival.

A look at the life and work of the one and only Charlie Chaplin in his own words, featuring an in-depth interview he gave to Life Magazine in 1966.

With unprecedented access to archive footage, as well as talking heads from surviving family members, this documentary reveals never-before-seen insights into the Hollywood star. Introduced by Chaplin Biographer David Robinson.

You can read a review of the documentary, written by Pamela Hutchinson, here!

the real charlie chaplin

The Slapstick Lecture with Peter Krämer

The Slapstick Lecture with Peter Krämer

New Beginning: Buster Keaton and The Cameraman

Date: Saturday 29th January 2022
Time: 9:30am
Venue: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £6.50/£4.00

The Cameraman (1928) was the first film Buster Keaton made as an employee at Hollywood’s most glamorous studio, MGM, after years of making films at a company named after but neither owned nor managed by him.

This presentation explores the reasons for Keaton’s move to MGM and the difficult conditions under which he worked there; the long-drawn-out process of story development for, and the style and themes of, The Cameraman; as well as the film’s limited success with reviewers and audiences.

Peter Krämer is the author of the BFI Film Classic on Buster Keaton’s The General.’

11 The Slapstick Lecture with Peter Kramer A New Beginning Buster Keaton and The Cameraman
11 The Slapstick Lecture with Peter Kramer A New Beginning Buster Keaton and The Cameraman

Silent Comedy Gala 2022

Silent Comedy Gala: Hosted by Stephen Mangan

Date: Friday 28th January 2022
Time: 8pm
Venue Website: Bristol Cathedral
Map: Bristol Cathedral
Price: £12.00 – £25.00, Plus booking fees.

Step inside Bristol’s spectacular Cathedral for a very special triple-bill of silent comedy classics on the big screen, accompanied by live music.

Join us for an evening of live music and classic onscreen comedies in an event showcasing your all-time favourite comedy stars.

Your host for the evening will be the hugely gifted actor, comedian, presenter and writer, Steven Mangan, who achieved fame through TV roles in Green Wing, Episodes, Dirk Gently and The Split (among others) and has subsequently also written a best-selling children’s book, Escape The Rooms.

Stephen is a huge Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy fan, and he can’t wait to introduce Buster to new audiences at Slapstick Festival’s 17th annual Silent Comedy Gala.

The highlight of the evening is a complete screening of Buster Keaton’s last great film, the outstanding comedy masterpiece The Cameraman (1928). Accompanied by an improvised score from The European Silent Screen virtuosi featuring  Günter A. Buchwald, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco, the film famously features several of the most celebrated sequences in cinema history.

Other highlights include short comedies from the timeless Laurel & Hardy and thrill picture legend Harold Lloyd. This truly will be a thrill-packed evening – not to be missed!

Book early to avoid disappointment and get the best view in the house!

“A Bristol Institution” Bristol Post.

SILENT COMEDY GALA with Stephen Mangan

Slapstick Conversations: Buster Keaton

Slapstick Conversations: Buster Keaton

With James Curtis

Date: Friday 28th January 2022
Time: 3.30pm
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £6.50/£4.00

James Curtis, admired biographer of Preston Sturges, W.C.Fields and Spencer Tracy, gives us the richest, most comprehensive life story to date of the legendary actor, stunt artist, screenwriter, director and comedic master Buster Keaton, in his latest biography Buster Keaton: A Filmmakers’ Life.

Buster transformed movie-making by elevating physical comedy on film to the highest of art forms.

His silent shorts and features remain as startling, innovative, and irresistible today as they were when they first beguiled audiences almost a century ago.

In partnership with Festival of Ideas, Slapstick is proud to present a special ‘in conversation’ with James Curtis* on Zoom, live from California, hosted by Bristol Ideas director Andrew Kelly**. In collaboration with Bristol Festival of Ideas.

8 Slapstick Conversations Buster Keaton with James Curtis

*James Curtis is the author of James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters; Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges; William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come; Spencer Tracy: A Biography, and W. C. Fields: A Biography (winner of the 2004 Theatre Library Association Award, Special Jury Prize). His most recent work is Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth of Modern Comedy. His new biography of Buster Keaton will be published February 2022 by Alfred A. Knopf. In addition, Curtis has edited three books on film-related subjects, including a biography of actor Walter Huston. He lives in Brea, California.

**Andrew Kelly is Director of Bristol Ideas. He is also a film historian. His projects include We The Curious, Bristol Legible City, Brunel200, Bristol800, Bristol Film 2021 and the annual Bristol Great Reading Adventure. He is a visiting professor at the University of the West of England and has published 15 books on issues ranging from film and cinema history to Brunel and engineering, the future of cities and 100 years of Bristol aerospace.

The Patsy (1928)

The Patsy (1928)

With Sally Phillips & Ronni Ancona

Date: Friday 28th January 2022
Time: 1:00pm
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

Dir: King Vidor US 78min U

Following the gala screening of ‘Show People’ at The Cathedral, the iconic Marion Davies shines in one of the best of her many collaborations with director King Vidor.

The Patsy does not skip a beat. No scene, gag or joke is out of place in this delightful movie, which follows the trials and tribulations of an awkward teenager hopelessly in love with her elder sister’s boyfriend.

With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney and introduced by Ronni Ancona and Sally Phillips.

10 The Patsy 1928
10 The Patsy 1928

W.C. Fields: Sally of the Sawdust

W.C. Fields: Sally of the Sawdust

With Dr Harriet Fields and Chris Serle

Date: Friday 28th January 2022
Time: 10:00am
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £6.50/£4.00

Dir: D.W Griffith US 104mins U

The irascible and immensely talented W.C Fields stars alongside silent film darling Carol Dempster as they form a sort of father/daughter relationship in ‘Sally of the Sawdust’.

When her circus mother dies, young Sally (Dempster) is raised by Professor McGargle (Fields), a juggler and small-time con man. McGargle trains Sally to dance for his opening act, and after their success, the pair join a carnival in this rare D.W Griffith comedy.

Putting these two incredible actors together in the circus is bound to make for a great comedy.

With an introduction from presenter Chris Serle and a personal message from Dr Harriet Fields (Fields’ granddaughter). With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

9 W.C. Fields Sally of the Sawdust 1924

Slapstick Divas: Hosted by Sally Phillips and Ronni Ancona

Slapstick Divas

Hosted by Sally Phillips and Ronni Ancona

Date: Thursday 27th January 2022
Time: 8.30pm
Venue Website: Bristol Cathedral
Map: Bristol Cathedral
Price: £10 – £22, plus booking fees.

Welcome to an evening of brilliant, rarely seen silent comedies in Bristol’s magnificent cathedral as we celebrate the outstanding leading women in some of the funniest on-screen comedy from the golden age of silents.

Actor and comedian Sally Phillips is joined by Actor and Impressionist Ronni Ancona as they host this fascinating evening celebrating three silent comedy deities.

Highlights include a rare screening of SHOW PEOPLE (1928) featuring Marion Davies, the silent starlet who is still reaching new heights today as one of the stand-out characters in the recent Oscar-winning Netflix drama MANK (2020).

In addition shorts from Mabel Normand, part of the inspiration for the Tony Award nominated musical MACK & MABEL, and the first female director Alice Guy-Blaché.

Expect an electric night of classic comedies on the big screen with a live audience alongside live musical accompaniment from the European Silent Screen Virtuosi: featuring Guenter A. Buchwald, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco.

Slapstick 2022 Slapstick Divas Website Square

David Mitchell’s Top Comedy Moments

David Mitchell’s

Top Comedy Moments

Date: Thursday 27th January 2022
Time: 6pm
Venue Website: Bristol Cathedral
Map: Bristol Cathedral
Price: £10.00 – £22.00, Plus booking fees.

Comedian, writer and actor David Mitchell is making his debut at Slapstick festival in our ever-popular Top Comedy Moments strand.

During the show, David will reveal his favourite and most influential moments of on-screen comedy with his host Matthew Sweet (Free Thinking, Radio 3).

We are delighted to be hosting this unique opportunity to discover what helped shape the comedic mind of the cynical yet always hilarious king of dry wit.

Known for his memorable on-screen performances such as Ben Elton’s satirical interpretation of Shakespeare on ‘Upstart Crow’, his stellar portfolio of fine television and radio comedy including the enduring Would I Lie to You, The Mitchell and Webb look, The Unbelievable Truth and the BAFTA winning cult classic Peep Show.

With an opportunity to ask David a question too, this is a rare chance to hear the man discuss his comedy influences.

Slapstick 2022 DavidMitchell Website Square

Lloyd: The Kid Brother (1927)

Lloyd: The Kid Brother (1927)

With Kevin Brownlow

Date: Thursday 27th January 2022
Time: 3:00pm
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

Ted Wilde & Harold Lloyd US 82mins U

Slapstick legend Harold Lloyd stars in one of the greatest ever silent comedies ‘The Kid Brother’.

Lloyd is undoubtedly an icon of the silent era, and this film is an incredible testament to his talent.

Perfectly paced, it balances humour and action into a beautifully crafted story of a sheriff’s timid son, someone who has a chance to prove himself when a medicine show run by con artists comes into town.

With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney.

Introduced by film historian and film director Kevin Brownlow with a personal message from Suzanne Lloyd (Lloyd’s granddaughter).

7 Lloyd The Kid Brother 1927