Quentin Tarantino has incorporated elements of comedy in most of his works, ranging from his trailblazing directorial debut Reservoir Dogs to his most recent project Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Over the years, Tarantino has experimented with different genres but the subtexts of his films have often used comedy as an important weapon.
When he was first starting out as a director, Tarantino did not want to be pigeonholed. In fact, he harboured aspirations of making it as an actor and had taken acting classes where he learnt a lot about how to write screenplays. While that hasn’t been the case, Tarantino has explored all aspects of his personality through his films.
In an interview from those early years, Tarantino claimed that he wanted to become renowned as a media personality with a great sense of humour: “I have a critic guy in me, and I also have a comedian guy in me that wants to go out and be funny on the talk shows – not be a boring fucking director up there talking about his navel, but go out there and fucking kill,” he said.
Tarantino recently announced that he was planning the tenth and final film of his career which has piqued the interest of a lot of fans. While the director has publicly stated that he has been considering doing an adaptation of a great novel or even a third addition to the enormous legacy of Kill Bill, there is also a possibility that he will make a comedy movie.
When asked about the comedians who influenced his works the most, Tarantino did not hesitate to answer: “George Carlin. The fight I’m trying to do in my movies as far as the use of language, he’s been doing forever,” he said. Of course, Carlin was much more than just a comedian. He was one of the most unforgiving cultural commentators around whose words are now considered to be prophetic by many.
Comedy icons like Jon Stewart as well as future generations of comedians including Bo Burnham have all acknowledged the undeniable influence of Carlin’s artistic brilliance. According to Tarantino, the screenplays of some of his most iconic works such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were modelled after Carlin’s comedy routines.
Tarantino also cited another great comedy legend as an influence: “Richard Pryor’s That Nigger’s Crazy is the closest to a perfect comedy album ever. It’s the Great American Novel done as a comedy routine”. According to the latest reports that have surfaced, it seems like we might see a mixture of all of Tarantino’s passions because he has claimed that he is going to make a multilingual comedy western before he retires.