Wednesday, April 18, 2007

DAVID LARIBLE: Spotlight Gag

Since his name came up yesterday, and since we've already posted Emmett Kelly's version of the Shorty Flem Spotlight Gag, here's David Larible's interpretation.

Stripped of the hype of the Feld Entertainment publicity machine, Larible is not a charmless performer. On the contrary, he is an extremely talented clown.

But for all his skill he is one clown that nearly always leaves me cold.

My problem with Larible is that I've never found his character nearly so huggably soft, so sweet-as-candy, so "don't-you-just-want-to-eat-him-up-he's-so-absolutely-lovably-cute" adorable as David's character seems to find himself.

I know that I am in the minority on this one. Whether it's because he's featured on the commercials, billboards, posters and programs, whether it's because he is standing firmly in the spotlight throughout the show or whether its his natural talents, gifts and abilities, audiences around the world seem to love him.

But for me, David Larible is, and always will be, the anti-Shiner.

And that's just my personal opinion on the subject. I like my clowning with a little less treacle. You may enjoy yours so sweet you risk diabetic coma. Circus comedy is an incredibly Protean art form. Like with jazz, there is room enough for endless diverse styles and welcome innovation under the amorphous umbrella heading of "clown".


Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, Pat, he's not my favourite either.
When I saw him on RBBB, I wondered what all the fuss was about. But at Theater Carre in Amsteram, Holland, he seemed far better. Parhaps something to do with being in a single ring there.


Anonymous said...

I've always felt that Larible had an impossible task of trying to do his style of clowning in the large arenas of North America.

I always held out hope that I'd be able to see him in the intimate setting of a one-ring show.

Kaliedoscape was a little too "over-produced and Ringling-ized", but I am still holding out hope that I'll see him in Europe.

I think Kenny Feld liked him because he did 12 minutes solo which took the place of hiring 6 circus acts/troupes/etc.

Anonymous said...

wooow the second half of the act when he doesnt uses his broom anymore is a copy of the act from oleg popov.

he watched popov very closly for this. stand with his foot and the light, stroke it, put it in his hat ( popov uses a basket) and then trow it out again: just the same.

and popov was the first on this one: I am sure off that. his inspiration for the spotlight act was chaplin. ( notice the face larible makes when he sits in the sun: thats very chaplin!!!)

the first part with the broom is more the shorty version.

To me it is clear what larible did here: he watched to videos one off shoty flemm and one of popov and glued them togheter as one act.

Anonymous said...

I think David went into clowning because he was too chubby to follow his father's footsteps into the air on the Washington Trapeze.

GothamTomato said...

Now, could you please settle the question:

Which comedy team originated the routine,
'Niagara Falls"....

...slowly I turn. Step by step...

Anonymous said...

I have never cared all that much for Larible. He was OK when I first saw him in 1991 and by the time he left Ringling I thought he was doing nothing more than phoning it in.
So...I just don't get the whole Larible "thing" that was all the rage for years.
Then again, he may not care for my style of clowning either. That and 50 cents will get us a cup of coffee.