Saturday, November 06, 2010

I guarantee you will laugh at this scene

I had the good fortune to direct this episode of FRASIER, called ROZ & THE SCHNOZ. It was brilliantly written by Jeffrey Richman.

The premise: Roz is pregnant and meets the father's parents (played to perfection by Kevin Kilner and Jordan Baker). She is horrified to learn they both have huge noses. Will her baby have one too? This is the dinner party scene when everyone arrives and gets their first look.

There are times when it appears the actors are about to lose it. Those moments are real. David and Jane especially.

It was a tricky scene to stage, finding different ways to do the reveal as each character entered. But at the end of the day I couldn't be happier with the results. I think this is one of those rare scenes where you can watch it over and over again and laugh every single time.

Enjoy. I know you will.

26 comments:

Bill said...

Yep. Makes me snort every time I see it.

Dan said...

How does Kelsey hold it together like that for so long? Sometimes it feels like keeping a straight face is 50% of his talent.

Tom Dougherty said...

Frasier DVDs are consistently good renters here in Seattle, at the few remaining video stores in town. Small wonder. This particular scene is a classic.

And not for the first time, I wonder why no producers have undertaken a Buster Keaton biopic starring David Hyde Pierce. The resemblance (and comic timing) are spot on!

Mister Charlie said...

LOVE it. Funny stuff, "Probably Japan." That got me LOL.

Rob said...

Sorry. I was waiting for the funny bit but it never came. I'm from the UK so maybe it's a 'different sense of humour' thing. Though I did find lots in Frasier to chuckle about over the years, this just wasn't one of them. It just seemed puerile to me.

olucy said...

oooh, someone's nose is out of joint.

Stu said...

i have to agree with rob on all counts. great show, but this scene was just too obvious for my tastes. no disrespect intended.

A_Homer said...

Perfect ending.

Sticking My Nose in It said...

The only thing that didn't work for me... "I didn't realize you had...had...had... company" ... seemed to hang a lantern on the discomfort to come. I would have preferred getting right to... "I didn't realize you had..." Then they turn... And Niles chokes on "company."

Mac said...

Well Rob, I'm from the UK and I love that scene, so if it's a "different sense of humour thing" it's not a US/UK difference. It's a Rob/Mac difference.
But hey - it'd be a dull old world if we all laughed at the same stuff.
What I love about that scene is that the
uber-sophisticated Niles is behaving like a child, while Frasier tries to be the grown-up. Then Frasier ends up losing it and the "Quiche Lorraine" get-out is beautiful. They are all great performances but Kelsey Grammar is amazing here. I want him back on the telly!!

RCP said...

This show is such a pleasure to watch.

Wayne in Maine said...

Alright Ken....settle it!!! When Fraiser asks his dad if he remembers Rick....the old man says "Shit Yeah!!!" Am I right, I've heard this one dozens of times, and I swear I hear him say it!!!

bettyd said...

I recorded this back in the VCR days and rewatched several times. Plus on repeats. Plus when you posted this entire episode a few years back. LMAO each time. Extremely funny.

Tom Quigley said...

I can't imagine how Peri Gilpin was able to maintain the look of discomfort on her face the whole time that Niles and Daphne were both laughing. She must have been using every acting tool she knew to hold it in.

Kevin B said...

Cute scene. Reminds me of this similar, and very funny one from "Golden Girls."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1jvlIUJ2xU

Anonymous said...

Wayne, sounds to me like he says "oh sure, yeah!" but abbreviates the "sure"

oh Sh--yeah!

Katherine said...

No matter how many times I see this episode, I always crack up at Martin's reaction to seeing them.

Ken, a maybe Friday question for you: You've talked about directing this episode a few times on the blog, but I was wondering if you could give us a full account of what it was like directing an episode of Frasier. You'd written a lot of episodes for the show, but how was that different (or similar) to directing one? Were the actors welcoming to a first time director for their show, or were they already at the point where they knew their characters well enough and didn't feel like they needed suggestions? And last, as a huge fan of David Hyde Pierce, I'd love to know what it was like working with/directing him.

As a side note, I recently met DHP after seeing La Bete in New York. Fantastic play, definitely worth seeing, and he couldn't have been nicer.

backstreets said...

I love Frasier, and there are so, so many scenes that I can watch multiple times and laugh every time. I'm sorry to say, I just didn't find this very funny. Cute, yes, but not even close to breaking out laughing. When the characters seem to find it so funny and I don't, it become more annoying than anything else. Sorry. Again, I usually love the humor in Frasier.

Julie! said...

I remembered this scene the second you started describing it. I agree that it's hilarious. Thanks for posting it - and I, too, would love to hear more details about working with the Frasier cast/crew.

Tom, I think you might be on to something with the David Hyde Pierce/Buster Keaton thing. Check out this scene from Frasier for a for instance - 5 minutes, Niles and Eddie, no dialogue. Classic stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mWiPaQ872c

David Ellis said...

Dear Ken: This reminds me to tell you a story from the summer. Our second son was born in July here in London and later that month my wife was watching Frasier re-runs on TV while feeding Benjamin. The episode was Roz and the Schnozz. When I came home she reported laughing so hard she couldn't feed our infant until the commercial break.

I looked up the episode and was able to report that it was directed by my favorite blogger. Your work and that of the writers stands up so well you were able to deny a child his milk!

Best

David Ellis


PS: I'm never sure where to ask a Friday question so I'll do i here. Are you aware, when writing a pilot, of inserting recurring elements that might become a burden should the show get a long run? I ask because I am not a fan of 'lessons we've all learned today' warp-up VOs to episodes, particularly in comedies. I noticed that in the second season, Modern Family has dropped this annoying closing trope. Scrubs, however, carried on with them throughout the run and I found them very annoying and cloying, often out of step with the tone of a particular episode. Any examples of similar corners you wrote yourself into?

Roger Owen Green said...

Actially, I didn't laugh at the scene until the point at which Frasier is about to lose it, and then comes out of the kitchen, allegedly laughing at the earlier joke.

Anonymous said...

A dinner party scene in Frasier? Really?

Richard Y said...

"It was a tricky scene to stage, finding different ways to do the reveal as each character entered."

This invokes a Friday Question. Not necessairly in this case but when watching at home and the 'set-up' for the reveal is made and the camera pulls back for the character punch line, we, sitting in our couches at home get the joke and laugh when we see the wide shot - along with the studio audience. NOW, the studio audience already sees the reveal as it is already on stage in some instances. How is the studio laughter controled? With the reveal already exposed to the studio audience how do you get them to laugh as is they just saw it like it is to be seen at home?

Jeffrey Leonard said...

This is one of those scenes where the puns can be as obnoxious as the writers want them to be. It only makes it funnier. Excellent!

Jason said...

Sorry, not funny. In fact, it makes me as uncomfortable as a SAW movie. I turned it off.

daveed said...

Wonderful scene! I didn't want it to end. I loved how Kelsey Grammar kept playing the straight through it all. The snickering reminded me of similar moments in the Carrol Burnett Show.