He was, and remains, a comedy legend, and for very good reason.
Many, in fact, but one thing that Buster Keaton (1895-1966) did brilliantly well, was execute a gag to near-perfection, his timing always on point and his innate ability to tell how funny something might be, especially done a number of different ways, unparalleled.
In his video essay Buster Keaton – the Art of the Gag, Tony Zhou from Every Frame a Painting explores not only how talented Keaton was but how his work is evident in the output of cinema luminaries such as Wes Anderson and Bill Murray.
He also breaks how “the master builds a gag”, pointing to things such as his penchant for visual storytelling, using body language and action, and never repeating something twice.
It’s a masterclass in how Keaton works and you emerge from this fascinating video essay even more appreciative of the man’s prodigious gift for comedy and his ability to take an idea and make the absolute most of it, to the great delight of an audience who to this day love his self-described “impossible gags”, natural gags and love of visual humour.