“It doesn’t mean anything. I want it to mean something — anything!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
When Perry throws a tantrum and demands to be given a chance to put on a solo show, we’re curious to see what he’ll come up with — but the result is imminently forgettable. Meanwhile, the rest of the film turns into essentially a meandering road trip, as Bonerz leaves the city (to where, we’ve never sure) and encounters a variety of diverse individuals. I won’t say more, at risk of giving away too much of the plot, but suffice it to say that the final half-hour or so consists of a series of intriguingly cinéma vérité encounters without nearly enough narrative context to sustain them. Ultimately, the entire affair comes across as simply self-indulgent — which is not to say it doesn’t hold interest on some level. Korty is a strong enough director that even his overly experimental, New Wave-inspired cinematic palette — including frequent shifts from b&w cinematography to various tinted hues — can be forgiven as simply an attempt to bring a fresh perspective to the proceedings. However, while The Crazy-Quilt is a hidden must-see gem (buy a copy from Korty himself!), Funnyman is only worth seeking out if you have a strong interest in the early development of Korty’s unusual oeuvre.
Note: Bonerz had supporting roles in a few big-name films after this — including What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969) (not listed in Peary’s book), Medium Cool (1969), and Catch-22 (1970) — and was the coke-sniffing psychiatrist in Serial (1980); his best-known role was probably as Dr. Jerry Robinson on “The Bob Newhart Show”. However, the bulk of his career has been spent as a director; see his listing at IMDb for more details.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: