Filming Bruno: The Audience is What Makes It Funny
The filming of Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat, recently made some news while shooting in Wichita, Kansas. Besides disrupting a local church Easter play, the crew also filmed a scene at an airport which was caught with this spectator’s video.
It’s a little fascinating to see in this context because though Bruno and his dance partner look silly and it is a funny dance, you don’t really have a joke. What’s necessary for that?
The reaction - the breathless gawking and confused stares. Thank goodness for local news media. Besides quoting anonymous witnesses as saying the antics “almost looked like pornography”, they also filed this somewhat ridiculous report, where they warn audience members that they might be offended, as if two men dressed very silly doing a funny dance was pornography.
Check out Ma and Pa Kettle smiling - smiling! - at 0:59. They sure like pornography, huh? The media doesn’t notice that older couple. Of course, I don’t think the Bruno movie will be showing them either. Maybe those are “look at the fruits!” smiles, but perhaps its genuine amusement at something outside the everyday. No matter what, the ambiguity of it wouldn’t be funny. (I certainly hope Sacha Baron Cohen proves me wrong.)
But it’s interesting how both that news report and, likely, Bruno will rely on the one version of America - that we’re offended or shocked, not that we’re amused and picking up our cell phone cameras. One’s doing it to enforce the status quo, the other to slam it.