Jimmy Finlayson

By: Greg Rowland
August 27, 2009


All hail the Mighty Fin! For was it not JIMMY FINLAYSON (1887-1953), third banana in 33 Laurel and Hardy films, who offered us emancipation through his unique enactment of The Double Take & Fade Away? Let us explore the three stages of political consciousness that The Fin elucidates.

The First Take: The conventional bourgeois response to social relations and capital, wherein all is normalized and therefore no significant surprise is registered, no mater how bizarre the circumstances.

The Double Take: The moment of revolutionary epistemological rupture wherein, for the briefest of moments, a new reality thunders through the consciousness, accompanied by an exclamation like “D’Oh!” — i.e., the anguished cry of a drowning man who briefly inhales the oxygen of truth.

The Fade Away: Unable to sustain the unthinkable fury of heightened consciousness without a concomitant change in base-superstructure systems, The Fin invites us to squint suspiciously at a partially restored reality: i.e., to treat the world of First-Take Bourgeois Normativitism with swivel-headed paranoia.

In conclusion, let us therefore denounce Homer Simpson for his counter-revolutionary usurping of Finlayson’s “D’Oh!” — and let us strive to retrieve The Fin from the dustbin of two-reeler history.


HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Don Rickles | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Jerry Lewis | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Jeanette Winterson | Paul Reubens

READ MORE about members of the Modernist Generation (1884–93).


Haw-Haw, HiLo Heroes, Movies