If the term humor is what drives us to the cinema, then he is perhaps the world’s best humorist. If you desire uncanny, mischievous dialogues to rib-tickle you endlessly, then this man can make you laugh, fall off that chair and roll over your stomach using the daintiest sized dialogues.
Red Tie. Brown jacket. Elegant but simple matching lace-ups. Neatly tucked hair. Expressions? Think of weirder than weird. His lips- crumpled, meanly touching the nose. His ears, wide open, going both eastwards and westwards. How often has one seen an actor lend himself so profusely to a character that people often fail to recollect his real name?
At a time where the oddly sounding phrase “Bean” was merely restricted to kitchen chores, there emerged a Briton who made the term a household name: Mr. Bean. He made it the living embodiment of uncontrollable laughter and zany comedy. In the 1990s, the flappy-eared Mr. Bean was something adults saw without batting an eyelid even as the odd dropping of porridge fell on the napkin and the kids rolled over their dirty nappies, amazed by the cock-ups of an insanely witty man.
Rowan Atkinson’s humor doesn’t seem to politicise issues, nor completely dwells in the lair of satire. Britain, a country whose self-deprecatory humor charms us and whose quick-witted persona surprises us presented in Atkinson- Britain’s answer to Hollywood’s comic heavyweights. Be it, Jim Carrey or Eddie Murphy.
He might be speaking some absurd lines, but his deadpan dialogue delivery earns him a heartwarming presence among fans. Can you believe it that Rowan Atkinson is celebrating his 63rd birth anniversary today?
Long before Jim Carrey arrived in Hollywood and began making chipmunk styled expressions, a simpleton from England had been on stage, doing stand up, only to make people slip into a world where sheer absurdness broadened the smile on people’s faces. Atkinson introduced us to the incessant pleasures of physical comedy. Deliberately mispronouncing words, chewing food whilst making strange noises, his constant bumbling on stage- all of it meant a pretty good time.
Audiences wanted more of it. Fans wanted to elope with him. Everyone loved Mr. Bean- a man of few words but abhorrently funny deeds. Have you ever seen a fully grown turd bounce around funnily with a teddy bear? Yes, a teddy bear. Rowan Atkinson carried it nonchalantly. Haven’t we seen a Jack Black pull off something as crazy as that?
How thankful were we all when directors recognized the potential of turning Bean into a movie and gave us not one but two utterly hilarious laugh-riots. He screwed up the famous, absurdly expensive ‘Whistler’s Mother’ in the first flick; spoiling her face to the extent of creating a witch out of it. He passed on as a doctor, only to treat his friend’s daughter accidentally.
Atkinson is among the few actors who can ally innocence and mocking to create a brand of humor that none have seen before but appeals to folks from all ages.
In the second flick, he unwillingly accompanied the lost kid to the revered Cannes film festival. This was only after gobbling an oyster in a French bistro where neither did the guests know him nor was he particularly aware of what he was going to do at a luncheon. But each time he pulled it off.
That funny gait. That small, slightly stout frame and an uncanny, sonorous voice. But a breakthrough moment came when he was cast as a bumbling MI-7 spy in the famous Johnny English series. The way Mr. Bean transformed himself from a dim-witted comic to a jumped up spy, funnily embroiled in goofing up operations instead of solving mysteries was utterly incredible.
You laughed endlessly as he erroneously threw Pegasus’ cat out of the window only to act as if he was holding one. He drove audiences’ nuts in repeatedly mispronouncing a sleuth’s name, going as far as calling him ‘Pussy-kin’. Still, what we loved was that there’s been no dire intention of this actor ever to appear cheap. “I would rather have my bottom impaled by a giant cactus than exchange pleasantries with a jumped-up Frenchman,” exclaims Johnny English in the first movie as audiences laugh away into oblivion, realizing he’s talking to the very Frenchman he has come to take the Mickey out of.
But away from the business of comedy-a serious business- one often forgets that weird one-liners and constant bumbling aren’t the only things about Atkinson. He studied at the revered Newcastle University, garnered an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford and has a penchant for sports cars.
It’s a pity that how little we see him nowadays but there’s bright hope to see him soon as news about a third installment in the Johnny English series has just been announced. Well, what are we waiting for then? Keep rolling in the mud and getting your mind altered by weird on-screen shenanigans Mr. Bean. You’re Britain’s national treasure and the only man who make us laugh so much that we nearly soil our pants.