Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Comedic Gem in Tyler Perry's "House of Payne"

My wife and I have been watching Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" since it started on TBS a few weeks ago. Like Perry's other works, this show is an hilarious work with a lot of seriousness hidden inside. If you haven't caught the show yet, I highly recommend you check it out. You can watch entire episodes on TBS' web site (be prepared to watch some Pine Sol commercials if you do).

Curtis Payne, one of the main characters in the show, is played by LaVan Davis. That this man hasn't been more well-known is beyond me. In the show, I can only describe the character he plays as a cross between Archie Bunker and Curly Howard. Those are comparisons I don't make lightly.

He is like Archie Bunker, not because of bigotry; there's none of that. But Curtis' world-view and being set in his ways make for some very funny scenes (with a lot of seriousness just under the current). Like Archie, he even has his own chair (throne) which no one is supposed to occupy but him. Unlike Archie, when someone is in his chair he's more likely to grab the person and throw him or her off than to just wave his arms and demand his rightful spot.

That Davis is like Curly Howard is something which elevates him, and the entire show, onto a whole new level of comedy reached by a very few. His body movement, timing, song-like vocalizations and one-liners tossed into the mix so remind me of Curly in his heyday. Davis does little of the slapstick-funny stuff which made Curly a legend, it's the subtle things he does with such aplomb that show his genius.

Davis may also be somewhat of a renaissance man. According to his bio on the TBS web site he is studying opera. I have a feeling whatever this man puts his mind to he will accomplish.

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