It’s not the first time that the Nerdwriter has broken down exactly what makes a performance truly incredible — but this video does something little different. Rather than looking at the visual mastery or the incredible scriptwriting of a film, this video is exploring the genius that is Mr Bean. Why exactly is Rowan Atkinson in a league of his own when it comes to psychical comedy? Well, from Not The Nine O’Clock News through to his Olympics opening ceremony performance, it’s all in here.
In short: It’s all about the attitude. He has an amazing grasp of non-verbal characterization. He manages to capture a person and all of their quirks — making them come through as lifelike and relatable, even in the middle of expert physical comedy. You relate, you understand, you recognize — and, of course, you laugh. As the video says, Atkinson is a performer through and through and his characters and jokes come to life even more on the small screen than they do on the large one. Because all he needs is a camera and his innate physicality to have you in stitches. He understands that the character and the attitude is the joke, even more than the punchline. “This is the comedy of personality, rather than the comedy of gags,” Atkinson himself says. He knows that some people have a physicality so characterful that it reveals a truth about them — maybe even amore general truth — and can recreate every last detail.
The whole video is worth a watch — if only to remind you of how great a talent Atkinson really is. You can check out the whole thing here:
Atkinson’s favorite kind of comedy is also what he performs best — regular people, doing regular things, but with a character twist. He shows how gestures that are so simple — but so exact — can create comedy gold. He’s a living legend of comedy — and with good reason.