Welcome to Your Daily Short, a new feature on Film.com that will highlight and stream a short film at high noon. Every weekday. Every week.
THE FILM: “Thank You Mask Man” (directed by Jeff Hale) 1971
RUNNING TIME: 7:19
Lenny Bruce didn't tell jokes but he did do bits.
Like the beboop jazz musician he was, he would grab a theme and riff on them a mile a minute, his ethnic voices and spontaneously generated characters similar to Charlie Parker's trills and head-fake melodies. His best bit is his break down of what makes someone Jewish or "Goyish." (If you live in a big city and are Catholic, you are Jewish, Lenny Bruce says. "No duh," the only proper response.)
The ultimate Goy to Bruce was the Lone Ranger - a real schmuck. He wouldn't even wait around for a thank you. "Thank you, masked man!" the townspeople would cry, but he would already be off. You think that would annoy a small town? I mean, what if they baked him a cake?
This tangent led to one of Bruce's most famous bits, which was turned into "Thank You Mask Man," a short animated film by Jeff Hale in 1971.
Note: if you aren't schooled in modern jazz, Judaism or marijuana, you may not think much of this film. Trust me, though, it's brilliant - you just have to work at it. Calling Tonto "Tanta" is funny.
Second Note: don't be alarmed by the homophobia. "Fag!" is used for a laugh line, but Bruce is "in character." Neither he nor the film is exhibiting prejudice, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary, as they say.
Watch yesterday's Daily Short: “(nostalgia)’”. Do you have a favorite short film that you would like us to feature as Your Daily Short? Whether it’s something you love, something you made, or both, send it along to Filmdotcomshorts@Gmail.com and you might see it on the site!