If you’ve listened to much WTF lately, you know that Marc Maron seems really into talking about physical comedy right now. As a comedian who, for the most part, sits onstage, he marvels at the people who just have the magical knack for it. If you want to see an example of that magic at work, watch this Zach Galifianakis and Kate McKinnon wedding photo scene from Masterminds. They are so good, and so funny, and they basically aren’t even moving.
When you think of great physical comedy, you likely conjure up images of people falling, going all the way back to the exagerrated tumbles of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. But, as is the case here, physical comedy can also just be body language. Galifianakis and McKinnon capture the deep strangeness of their characters and the dispassionate relationship they have. Watching the two elite comedians work, it’s little surprise that McKinnon was effusive when praising her scene partner, telling us, “[Zach] is such a delightfully bizarre creature. Everything he does is so surprising. He’s such a live wire … He was improvising the craziest, most inventive, beautiful choices. I could only marvel at it.”
The result is effectively body-humor deadpan — it’s akin to the old adage that a good actor can read from a phone book and still hold an audience’s attention (but with bodies). They don’t move, but it has all the comedic dynamism of someone getting their foot stuck in a bucket, making them trip and fall down a set of stairs, only to land on a pile of mousetraps. I could explain the context of this scene, but you don’t need it. Think of it like a sketch that would play at the end of an episode of Saturday Night Live, after which you’d say to yourself, “Wait, what was that?” This is that. Enjoy!