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Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, directed by Herbert Ross, is one of my all-time favourite comedies and there is a silent scene of furniture moving that lasts less than a minute, but tickles my funny bone to the point where an emergency room visit is not out of the question. There is something about the deadpan, focused attitude of the characters and the amount of time it takes to determine that they are at cross-purposes that I find sublime.
First, a little set-up. The old-time comedy team of Al Lewis (George Burns) and Willy Clark (Walter Matthau) aka The Sunshine Boys broke up acrimoniously many years ago, but have agreed to reunite for a television special. They meet at Willy's apartment. I'm sure you won't mind the intrusion of some dialogue, since it is from Neil Simon. Let's listen in ...
Willy: So, what do you think, you want to do the doctor sketch?
Al: Well, it's very good money. It's only a few day's work and I can be back in New Jersey. If you feel you want to do it then I'm agreeable.
Willy: They told you how I feel about it?
Willy: I'm against it, but if you want, I'll do it.
Al: What do you mean you're against it? If you're against it don't do it.
Willy: Why do you care if I'm against it. As long as we're doing it, I just want you to know why I'm doing it.
Al: Well, don't do me any favors.
Willy: Who's doing you a favor. I'm doing my nephew a favor. It will be a big break for the kid to get a couple of big stars like us.
Al: Well, that's different then. In that case I'm against it too, but I'll do it.
Willy: As long as we understand each other.
Al: I want to be sure you know that I'm not doing it for the money. The money goes to my grandchildren.
Willy: The whole thing?
Al: The whole thing. But not now. Only if I die. If I don't die it will be for my old age.
Willy: The same with me.
Al: You haven't got grandchildren.
Willy: My nephew's children! Sidney...and...and...um...Mervyn. Do you want to rehearse the sketch or not? What? Why don't we rehearse?
Al: You're not against rehearsing?
Willy: I'm against doing the show. Rehearsing is important.
Al: Alright, let's rehearse. Why don't we move the furniture around and make the set?
Willy: Wait a minute. What the hell are we doing here?
Al: I'm fixing up the set. I don't know what you're doing.
Willy: You're fixing up the set? You're fixing up the set for the doctor sketch?
Al: The doctor sketch?
Old guys! Ya' gotta love 'em.