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Explain this joke to me (A Few Good Men)
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From 'A Few Good Men':
Galloway: I've got medical reports and chinese food. I say we eat first.
- beat -
Weinberg: Got any Kung Pao chicken?
It's that last line which is supposedly very funny, but just goes over my head. Anyone?
I've got nothing. Maybe it was funny because Weinberg was reluctant to stop working or was super professional, and the departure from character was funny? But I haven't seen the movie, so I couldn't say for sure- just a guess.
Thanks regardless. Maybe someone else will be able to enlighten me.
Edit: Oh, and if you enjoy the very best in dialogue and acting? See this. It's a terrific movie.
Well, here we go.
According to the Rules O' Comedy, Chapter II, Section 1, Sub-section Fart, regarding three-lined jokes:
"Most, if not all, of three-lined jokes ('tlk' for short forthwith) involve epistemological considerations regarding the nature and physiology of the properties enounced on the foremost line. Therefore, many 'tlk's derive their comic impact from simple relations between them, e.g. having a list of items containing relations of uncommon types*."
From such a statement we can derive then to conclude that the inherent
of the joke you expose must be somewhat contained in the relations between the properties of 'medical reports' and 'Chinese food'. The Rules O' Comedy continues:
"*When and if a list may be presented in such manners it usually - after all, since Aristophanes most 'comediants' use methods based upon aesthetic simplicity - contains properties whose relations betwixt themselves are, to the droopiest of crowds, evidently culpable of incongruity."
(Rules O' Comedy, Section 1, Sub-Section Fart, Footnote 1)
Being unavailable to me resources on
A Few Good Men
, and, logically then, me proceeding in the analysis without much context, I must pander to the lowest common denominator and assume that such as the above is the case, as it very well seems to be. I reference now Chapter III, Section 7, Sub-Section $%^&*!, regarding people:
"As we have established in the aforementioned tomes, the transcendental aspect of comedy surges mostly from shock - much as the transcendental and enchantingly esthetic aspects of worship do. Insomuch as we can give the 'spectateurs' a providence which in the shallowest of their minds they were not anticipating; to do this is to enter through the doors - much of the Hall is still to be walked. To deliver unto them a providence that truly exceeds the 'esprit''s expectations, to do this much is to take steps. In this way, most of human interactions in the Great Act involve personas that do not walk very far. Incapable of deriving context from clues, they lie listless, waiting to be taken out of their stupor by the slightest provocation."
Regarding things in the manner that it is done in The Books, one may very well presume, once again having no contextual information - and being far too busy researching to go look - that Weinberg is one of the described*. As such, his references to the Kung Pao chicken would most likely be a result of his incandescent character than a reference to the
comedic property described in the Rules O' Comedy.
To conclude, we have the Rules O' Comedy, Chapter I, Section 3, Sub-section O:
"As such, most periodic intervals, even if they in themselves are un-malleable components, can be used by the 'comediant' to exert as providence. Verily so, Periodism is a whole sect of the Art which will be described furthermore in the second tome, thus phenomenalizing it's overall importance."
From the very observed fact that you yourself decided, apparently without reason, to include the author's use of Periodism I would conclude that it is key to the overall understanding of the joke, circumscribing it to the general Rules by which the game is played.
Hope I could be of help.
*To be frank, his clear Jewish heritage would take that out of play, as explained in the Rules O' Comedy, Chapter VI, Section 5, sub-section O.J.:
"(...)and, as such, most arabs in the Passion Play care not for the tender heart of the new-born pig. Proceeding on to those of the Tribe, we assert evidently that no such thing as one described as possessing 'dropian'-ish characteristics has been recorded in the 'Annales'. Furthermore, (...)"
Yawn. The other guy doesn't care about any medical condition. He's just greedy. Not a very funny joke, and if it needs explaining, the point is proven.
I don't think that's supposed to be HA HA funny.
Galloway walks in on a pretty heated discussion between Kaffee and Weinberg. Weinberg basically wanted off the case because he didn't believe in his clients. Not necessarily their guilt or innocence (as far as following orders)... he just didn't like them because of what they did. Orders or not, he felt his clients shouldn't have participated in the Code Red.
By asking "Do you have any Kung Pao chicken?", he was basically telling Kaffee (and the movie audience) that he was staying on the case, in a low key humor sort of way.
@ Glanzman: That's how I see it, too. But I've come across a few remarks on how this is the most underappreciated of humorous lines in that movie. I was thinking there's something to it I just don't know enough to see - or I'm just too dense. :)
So Jo's line is funny because the implication is that they might not be hungry after they look at the medical reports. While she was gone, Weinberg had been expressing his doubts to Kaffee about staying on the case. He had let slip his perception that it was really an open and shut case about a few marines bullying a weaker kid and he wasn't sure about the just following orders defense. Kaffee asks him to stay on the case because he knows how to do research, he knows how to prepare a witness, etc. He's thinking about it. At that moment, Jo walks in. She says her piece, in her semi-neurotic sort of way. She senses the silence and tension and asks "What?" It's Sam's moment of decision. After a pause, he asks, "You got any Kung Pao Chicken?" which is his way of saying, I'm in.
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