I’m into leather.
This may be my favorite gag in all of Annie Hall. While Alvy’s remembering his childhood (and the fact that he “never had a latency period”), his younger self asks the other elementary school kids to tell about their futures. One kid runs a profitable dress company; another is president of the Pinkus Plumbing Company. The second-to-last is a nerdy little boy in a bowtie who says, “I used to be a heroin addict. Now I’m a methadone addict.” But the funniest of all is the last, played by 10-year-old Quinn Cummings, who gives the line quoted above.
The concept behind this joke, of having little kid voices incongruously say sad adult things, is surefire comedy in the first place. But each of these little snippets so perfectly reflects Allen’s offbeat sense of humor, and the little kids give such innocently deadpan line readings, that this scene strikes me somewhere beyond the funnybone. It reaches the part of my brain that knows, even if I don’t laugh, that “holy shit, it’s really funny!” It’s also, of course, a sly comment on the tragedy of ruined promise and the difficulty of judging where a 10-year-old is headed. But first and foremost, it’s about the inherent hilarity of that little girl saying, “I’m into leather.”
Thanks for joining us for Annie Hall Week! Remember, a relationship is like a shark.