Werner Herzog makes everything funny

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      For reasons too complicated to explain, I came across this clip from the film Encounters at the End of the World in which Werner Herzog asks, "Is there such a thing as insanity among penguins?" 

      There's no reason to post it here except that I found it deeply, deeply amusing, and, you know... I like to share. 

      Incidentally, the image of a "lonely deranged penguin" making a doomed beeline for the mountains 70 kilometers away reminded me for some reason of my two year-old son. Which probably isn't good.


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      Nature Lover

      Feb 20, 2013 at 1:53pm

      I'm not sure what is so intensely amusing. It's a matter of life or death situation. When a penguin gets separated from the flock in the winter in the arctic. Beyond the mountains is the sanctuary where half of the flock is in a circle huddled around their eggs keeping them warm. The lone penguin must return because it's his turn to take care of his egg. Yes the males will keep watch when it's the females turn to make the journey to the ocean to feed herself and then return to the nest beyond the mountains. I don't find their plight for survival funny at all. It's actually a miracle that occurs year after year. Typical man laughing at things he doesn't understand. I wonder how you would react if you were in the same situation? Watch the March of the Penguins to understand more.

      Adrian Mack

      Feb 20, 2013 at 1:58pm

      Nature Lover, I just read your post in Werner Herzog's voice, and you know what? Funny!

      Nature Lover

      Feb 20, 2013 at 2:31pm

      I can't watch the video clips. This is too sad. Penguins have feelings too. Maybe he can't find either his mate or his baby chick, he probably knows they're dead, and he's desperately looking for them and so returns to the last place he saw them, which at the moment is both away from the colony and feeding grounds, towards the mountains. Wouldn't you feel the same way if the same thing happened to you?
      I don't find this funny at all. Too sad how many people do. What is wrong with the people in the world today...so many are distanced from the meaning of life and death.

      Mike Usinger

      Feb 20, 2013 at 2:44pm

      Remember: Penguins have feelings too. (And try not to snicker while doing so.) ps. I think that penguin was piss-drunk, which explains his wandering off. He was looking for more booze.

      Chantelle La Violette

      Feb 20, 2013 at 4:17pm

      This post was the funniest thing I'd seen all day - until I read the comment section!

      Patty Jones

      Feb 20, 2013 at 5:01pm

      This is Werner Herzog's Voice™. I do not give you permission to hear me except as I wish you to hear me. I am concerned only with scientific matters of the disoriented and the deranged and... I am now reading my words over, listening to myself as I head off into the interior of the vast continent with 5,000 kilometres ahead of me, and you know what? Funny!

      Nature + Penguin Lover

      Feb 21, 2013 at 2:42am

      GS: No matter what foreign accent you wish to hear inside your head as you read this, you know as well as I do the subject content here is immoral and inhumane. Watching a living being in severe distress cause fatal harm to itself is only funny to people who are comfortably numb and void of conscience. The only reason you wouldn't and couldn't include the video clip content with this post, is to avoid further potential legal issues. You want ratings, readers and exposure but at who's expense? An innocent, harmless fatally distressed animal and oh what fun it is to you to witness death. Instead of having a heart, you'd rather eat it. Who's the animal here now?

      nature's most devoted parents: Penguins

      Feb 21, 2013 at 6:24pm

      Penguins. their incredible story begins long before their chicks are even born. Emperor Penguins endure the harshest climate on earth.

      to those of us who are closer to nature than most, it is very difficult to watch. unfortunately, some human beings don't have the capacity for compassion and laugh out of ignorance.

      human beings have much to learn from nature.


      A. MacInnis

      Feb 24, 2013 at 10:48am

      First off, we are all aware of Werner Herzog's budding career as a voice artist, right? He's appeared on Metalocalypse, The Simpsons, and American Dad... A sample:

      Perhaps his greatest virtue is that he doesn't take himself entirely seriously, either.

      ...though I don't think it's just Herzog's voice that makes the penguin clip funny. There's a beat after he asks his bizarre question (apropos, apparently, of nothing) where the scientist answering seems to be having trouble keeping a straight face for the camera. The music, too, has such overbearing solemnity, so out-of-step with the awkward physicality of a penguin ("comedy is tragedy plus penguins"). And there's added amusement for those of us familiar with Herzog's filmmaking practices - he is sometimes unreliable, falsifying details for the sake of the film (like Dieter's OCD complex about opening doors in Little Dieter Needs to Fly, or the completely invented details about the religion of Australian aborigines in Where The Green Ants Dream); he's piling a heap of meaning on footage of a penguin, whom he is *claiming* is going in the wrong direction, but (for all we know), this is just a penguin being a penguin, waddling around; we have no idea what the penguin is thinking or doing - and neither could he! The whole life-and-death pathos of the scene, as Herzog strives for what he calls the "Ecstatic Truth," *could* be emerging simply from Herzog's mind. So what *does* Werner Herzog think of when he sees a lone penguin on the ice? Why, the penguin must be insane, deranged, heading to certain doom, another example of the cruelty of nature!

      But of course!

      For the record, someone has made a whole series of faux-Herzog stuff on Youtube: "Werner Herzog reads Curious George," that sort of thing... It would be funnier if the person did Herzog's voice better...

      Martin Dunphy

      Feb 24, 2013 at 2:51pm

      Fun fact: In June 2006, the first wild bear to wander into Germany in 170 years, in Bavaria, in southern Germany, was ordered shot by that province's governor. He proclaimed that as long as bears kept to themselves in forests and only ate "one or two sheep per year", they could be tolerated. Apparently, "Bruno" was known as a "problem bear" across the Alps in Italy. The Germans even ordered in Finnish hunters so they wouldn't bloody their hands.
      Some of the leaked Wikileaks US dispatches from diplomats in Munich at that time marvelled at how the Germans loved "nature" as long as it could be "controlled, channeled, and subdued".
      Of course, it would be preposterous to apply that attitude, by extension, to anyone who simply hails from Germany.
      Werner Herzog is 177 years old.