Laurel and Hardy

John C. Reilly on wearing a fat suit: ‘Nobody knew me’

Before Abbott and Costello, before Martin and Lewis, moviedom’s Stone Age comedy team was Laurel and Hardy. Stan Laurel played straight, Oliver Hardy the shloompy shlubby one. Coming is Sony Pictures Classics’ A-1 film “Stan & Ollie.”

John C. Reilly as hearty Hardy: “I knew Steve Coogan, who played Laurel. He and its screenwriter — both did ‘Philomena’ with Judi Dench — sent me this simple tale about friendship — not comedy — four years ago.

“I grew up watching totally inspirational, ahead of their time Laurel and Hardy. You laughed with them. Clued into something eternal, their movies ran on TV over and over. Watching the masterful comedy inspired my voice and movement.

“Vaudeville guys, greatest comedy team of their time, no political agenda, they wrote all their routines themselves. We re-created the skits, watched all their old shows and spent hours practicing.

“Needed was the right makeup man. I had prosthetics all over. Not just an application. Ears, head, jowls. Contact lenses. The fat suit contained water tubes, moved like flesh and had skin markings. The makeup so complete, staring in a mirror I’d lose my lines. Three hours for costuming. Makeup eventually got down to two hours. Getting it off finally took 45 minutes. I lost weight doing this.

“Sitting outside as some fat guy makes you disappear. I learned they don’t want to see you. When I did this, nobody knew me. I was not John C. Reilly, just some fat guy.

“I’ve actually been a funny actor all my life. No joke teller but in the circumstance I can commit to an idea.

“Hey, with YouTube flowing freely and TV comedians now being superstars, today everyone’s obsessed with comedy.”

Odds & ends

Some actresses were into protecting and empowering our species long before #MeToo. Kristen Bell remembers early stages of pregnancy with her daughter. A film executive wanted that hidden and slimmed down her shots to obscure the look. She resented it. She says, “I never forgot it.”

Meanwhile, a happy joking off-camera and off-politics Sen. Ted Cruz downed a margarita and whatever goodies could be stuffed in when luxuriously inhaling, as he did, appetizers at an East Side Dos Caminos.

Also meanwhile, Greta Gerwig and Meryl Streep are filming in Boston. Do not try to pester them. Closed set.

Van Gogh’s picture

Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” he calls “a journey inside the mind of Vincent van Gogh who, despite skepticism, ridicule and illness created stunning art.” No forensic biography, he says it’s “scenes based on his life, letters, and common agreement about events presented as facts.”

Starring Willem Dafoe, it opens Friday.

Long Island’s vanishing GOP?

Nassau Republicans, decimated since Goldwater, rumble and grumble about GOP presidents, saying they do better in off-year elections. They say NYC controls the state fiscally, and the NY Senate going Democrat affects their pocketbook, and unless Republicans return to values it’s exactly what happened to the 1850s Whigs upon which today’s GOP was built.

This I don’t know. I missed that by weeks. Mine is not to do or die. Mine is only to report and try.

In his new Melbourne, Fla., winter home, this Forest Hills dude getting the electronics set up, asks the cable guy: “You sure I have HBO?”

Cable guy: “I myself don’t have cable. What channel is that?”

The cable guy doesn’t have cable?

Says Florida’s new transplant from old Noo Yawk: “This could happen only to a New Yorker, kid, only to a New Yorker.”

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