Hat Trick

Back in 1993/4 when Mike and I were first making The Spurting Man we were working on a sequence where Spurty is crowned. The sequence is (and here I quote from a rare item an – Avanti script)

BP hat off, wipe face with hat

throw onto hat stand (could be a wait if it misses, ignore any kid I bring out)

Rubber hat comedy business

Emil suggested the hat gag (I guess he had seen the Buster Keaton clip). Our logic was ‘there is a hat stand- you have a hat in your hand – you don’t care about the hat – its the masters hat  – the master isn’t looking – so just chuck it without looking at the stand and amazingly it goes on and stays on’. This tiny moment became an obsession, I practised a couple of hours a day for months / years, I changed the material of the hat, I wet the hat to make it heavier, I practised some more, wind makes a difference of course, the distance is not always predictable, its a live show after all, but eventually I got to the 80% success area. I also developed a bit with a child who I would call on to retrieve it if I missed the throw, I would have another go sometimes get the kid back again after each fail it raises the stakes, the audience thinks its all part of the routine – but its not! When it works its like poetry, a perfect moment, when it fails, well, best not to dwell on that. Here are a few other Keaton hat moments from an essay by Jonathan Lyons



Keatons Hat Comedy