Play It Again, Woody

One of my favourite funnymen died last Sunday, while another celebrates his 75th birthday today. Woody Allen is best known for films like Annie Hall and Manhattan where he played the self-deprecating schmuck with a pessimistic outlook on life that was usually accompanied by a witty remark or two. This persona formed the basis of a cartoon series based upon an amalgamation of the many characters he played on screen. I first encountered his character when I read these cartoons in the now-defunct Sunday Press. Of course, a lot of the humour went over my head at the time, but it made me check out his films. As well as acting in most of them, he also wrote and directed the majority of his movies. The emphasis on slapstick in his earlier work gave way to more mature drama as the years went by and two of my favourites combine drama and comedy to great effect. I’d advise starting with the two I mentioned above, but Hannah & Her Sisters and Crimes & Misdemeanors are the ones I like the most. He had also been a successful standup comedian and writer of comic prose before becoming a filmmaker and his books and comedy albums are worth checking out as well

Music plays a prominent part in Allen’s films, though it is mostly jazz and classical music that he uses. Sometimes contemporary popular music is referred to in his films, but it is always done disparagingly. Nevertheless, I present three songs below that focus on Woody Allen in their titles and lyrics. The first one is actually titled Woody Allen Song and it was sent to me on behalf of a band named Boo Hoo. This is a musical project put together by a German with Greek roots named Bernhard Karakoulakis, who recorded his latest album in New York City earlier this year. The album is called Afghan Hounds and you can find Woody Allen Song on it along with eight other tracks. It’s a slow acoustic number with nice vocal harmonies that imagines an encounter with the subject of today’s post following a plane crash. Or is it all a dream? It’s certainly more likely to appeal to Mr Allen than the two rockier tracks that follow it. Television Personalities formed in England in the late 70s and are still going strong, though their only constant member has been Dan Treacy. Their song about Woody is a mixture of pop and psychedelia and appears on their 1995 album, I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod. With a name like The New Lou Reeds you would expect the American band to hail from the Big Apple, but they actually come from Cleveland, Ohio. Their influences are punk and garage rock and their song is a meditation on being jilted by the ladies. Happy birthday, Woody

Woody Allen Song – Boo Hoo

Little Woody Allen – Television Personalities

(I Felt Like) Woody Allen – The New Lou Reeds

Click on the names of the bands in the second paragraph to go to their websites

Cartoon taken from Comic Art Fans