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Bananas

While working on a screenplay one day shortly after his arrival in Hollywood, the playwright Charles MacArthur sought some comic advice from Charlie Chaplin:

"How, for example, could I make a fat lady, walking down Fifth Avenue, slip on abanana peel and still get a laugh?" he asked. "It's been done a million times... What's the best way to get the laugh? Do I show first the banana peel, then the fat lady approaching: then she slips? Or do I show the fat lady first, then the banana peel, and then she slips?"

"Neither," Chaplin replied. "You show the fat lady approaching; then you show the banana peel; then you show the fat lady and the banana peel together; then she steps over the banana peel and disappears down a manhole."

[Chaplin knew whereof he spoke. Audiences laughed so hard at his comedies that theater managers had to have the bolts on their seats regularly tightened.]

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