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The Late Movies: Guy on a Buffalo

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Sometimes dumb internet videos transcend their dumbness and become truly wonderful. This is the case, in my humble opinion, with the instant classic Guy on a Buffalo, a four-part series in which footage from the 1978 film Buffalo Rider (apparently now in the public domain) is combined with a sort of rambling singing narration by Jomo Edwards of The Possum Posse. "Why would I want to watch that?" you might ask. "Because this guy is riding a frickin' buffalo," I'd tell you.

I can't explain why I find this so funny and memorable, and that's why I'm posting it. Maybe it's just that the song is so catchy? I can't get the song-snippet "One day, the guy on the buffalo..." out of my head. And I've been trying for three days. I may be going mad -- won't you join me? I've even attempted watching the entire 90-minute original Buffalo Rider to see if that would cure me, but had to give up after ten minutes of intense snoozy boredom. Anyway, enjoy your new earworm infection!

Episode 1 (Bears, Indians, & Such)

"One day the guy on the buffalo was cruisin' around through the plains. [He] seen a bear, and he thought to himself: 'Oh man, I gotta get away from the bear! Hope he don't cha--oh no, he's gonna chase me! Oh no, I better just turn around and chase him back, because guess what? I'm on a buffalo!'" This is the best.

Episode 2 (Orphans, Cougars, & What Not)

Guy on a Buffalo: "Hey, you want this baby?" Barren Woman: "It's cheaper than adoption."

Note: I'm not clear how the original film dealt with the animal stunts; the situation doesn't look particularly well-monitored to me.

Episode 3: Finale Part 1 (Origins, Villains & The Like)

"Oh man, this is unstable but I'm tryin' to prove a point...." I kinda wish all movies could be compressed like this.

Episode 4: Finale Part 2 (Rehab, Vengeance & What Have You)

"One day the guy on the buffalo went into town for some more revenge." I love how The Crystal Palace has an inexplicably enormous front door, sufficient to accommodate a guy on a buffalo. And the ceilings are extremely high -- like soundstage-high.

Buffalo Rider

None of this would have been possible without the classic old movie Buffalo Rider. Fortunately, you can watch the original in its entirety via YouTube. If you don't want to commit just yet, check out the trailer. Enjoy:

What's This All About?

So Buffalo Rider was a real movie, though I have no idea how they filmed it -- given all the animal "stunts" (including what sure looks like actually shooting buffalo and various cross-species animal fights) it wouldn't pass muster today. The movie itself is pretty crappy, featuring an extreme over-reliance on narration and a sort of meandering documentary-ish treatment with some buffalo-related dramatic elements tossed in. It's a very weird artifact of the 70's, though. If anyone has more information on the movie or how it managed to enter the public domain (I'm not entirely clear how that would have happened), let me know in the comments!

Also important: you can buy MP3s of the complete Guy On A Buffalo music, and I wrote an article on the real sentence Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, in case I haven't used the word 'buffalo' enough yet. Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter for more stories like this one.

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The Funniest Word in the English Language? 'Booty,' According to New Survey
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Some words, regardless of their meaning, are simply more chuckle-worthy than others. To determine which expressions in the English language are truly the most comical, Smithsonian reports that psychologists at the University of Warwick in the UK conducted a survey in which they asked people to rate the “humor value” of a sampling of chosen words. They recently published their findings in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

The researchers selected nearly 5000 words, and then used Amazon’s online crowdsourcing tool Mechanical Turk to ask more than 800 individuals to rank the humor value of 211 randomly chosen words from the list, on a scale from 1 (humorless) to 5 (humorous). Likely not surprising to anyone with younger siblings, the funniest word ended up being “booty,” with an average ranking of 4.32. In descending order, the remaining top 12 words—which all received a score of 3.9 or higher—were “tit,” “booby,” “hooter,” “nitwit,” “twit,” “waddle,” “tinkle,” “bebop,” “egghead,” “ass,” and “twerp.”

Why these words are so funny remains fuzzy. But when they analyzed their findings according to age and gender, the researchers did find that sexually suggestive words like “orgy” and “bondage” tended to tickle the funny bones of men, as did the words “birthmark,” “brand,” “chauffeur,” “doze,” “buzzard,” “czar,” “weld,” “prod,” “corn,” and “raccoon.”

Meanwhile, women tended to laugh at the words “giggle,” “beast,” “circus,” “grand,” “juju,” “humbug,” “slicker,” “sweat,” “ennui,” “holder,” “momma,” and “sod.” As for people under the age of 32, they were amused by “goatee,” “joint,” and “gangster,” while older participants liked “squint,” “jingle,” “burlesque,” and “pong.” Across the board, all parties were least amused by words like “rape,” “torture,” and “torment.”

Although humor is complex and dependent on elements like syntax and delivery, the study's researchers say that breaking comedy down to single-word units could demystify its essence.

“The research initially came about as a result of our curiosity,” said Tomas Engelthaler, the study’s lead author, in a press release. “We were wondering if certain words are perceived as funnier, even when read on their own. It turns out that indeed is the case. Humor is an everyday aspects of our lives and we hope this publicly available dataset allows future researchers to better understand its foundations.”

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Watch the Original Spinal Tap Short Film
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Chris Weeks // Staff // Getty Images

Spinal Tap formed in 1979, five years before the classic film This is Spinal Tap premiered. They performed on TV and began developing their personas as idiotic heavy metal monsters.

When the band, along with director Rob Reiner, went to pitch their mockumentary to production companies, nobody "got it." It wasn't clear what an unscripted comedy pseudo-documentary would feel like. So Reiner asked for the screenplay fee—$60,000—to be paid up front as a budget for a short proof-of-concept film.

That skimpy budget went a very long way, allowing the group to produce The Last Tour, a 20-minute Spinal Tap film exploring some of the plot (and many of the songs) that appeared in the later film This is Spinal Tap. There's a surprising amount of concert footage, as various bits that were repeated in Tap (some interview clips were even used in Tap unaltered).

The Last Tour is delightful because it shows a well-developed idea being implemented on the cheap. The wigs are terrible, the sound is spotty, but the vision is spot-on. The characters and the core story of the group (including a string of dead drummers) is already in place, and we get to see the guys improvise together. Tune in (and be aware there's plenty of salty language here):

(Note: Around 4:38 in the clip above, we see Ed Begley, Jr. as original drummer John "Stumpy" Pepys in the "Gimme Some Money" video. Stumpy died in a gardening accident, of course.)

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