Curly, Larry or Moe? New Stooges pick favorites

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Curly, Larry or Moe?

When it comes to their favorite knucklehead, the new Three Stooges — Will Sasso as Curly, Sean Hayes as Larry and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe — progressed the way many fans did as they grew up watching the comedy shorts.

Really young kids fall under Curly Howard’s spell of guilelessness and naivete. Older fans take to brother Moe Howard’s aggressive, domineering manner. And fans eventually come to appreciate Larry Fine’s shrewd comic timing alongside Curly and Moe’s more obvious laughs.

In an interview together, Sasso, Hayes and Diamantopoulos, whose big-screen update “The Three Stooges” opens Friday, discuss which Stooge scored the most nyuks with them at different ages.

Diamantopoulos: “When I was really, really young and I first started watching it, it was Curly. And I remember distinctly, my brother, who was older, saying to me, ’OK, we’re going to rewind this one’ (“Disorder in the Court,” in which Larry’s antics include whooping like Tarzan and skewering a man’s toupee with a violin bow).

“I must have been 8 years old, and he says, ’Watch only Larry.’ And I was like, what’s Larry doing? What’s that? And I remember from that moment, you see Larry doing little things, gestures, saying things like ’With pleasure’ (in a stilted, affected voice). I could see there was so much more to what he was doing.

“Then when I hit my adolescent years, Moe made me laugh till I couldn’t breathe, because he got so angry. It reminded me of my father.

“My dad’s amazing, but he had quite a temper, and I think that I matched him in that. When I first found out the movie was happening, the audition was to pick whatever Stooge you want to be, and I turned to my wife and said, ’I’m not going to be Curly or Larry. I just don’t know.’ She looked at me and said, ’Hey, Type A. You’re Moe.”’

Hayes: “Everybody’s drawn to Curly, because when you’re a kid, he’s the most childlike and he’s the most innocent and lovable and cuddly and hilarious. And then you get older, and you realize the older humor is Moe, and Larry, kind of. But your eye and your sense of childhood go directly to Curly.

“Larry, when I was a kid, I thought he was boring, and I thought he was useless, and I thought he didn’t have a lot to do and was always in the background. Then you study them, and you realize he’s awesome, so subtle and so smart and so in it.

“What’s funny about Larry is he’s always along for the ride with whoever’s driving, whether it’s Curly that’s driving a scene or Moe’s driving a scene. Larry’s like, ’Yeah, yeah. What he said.”’

Sasso: “I sort of as a kid was fascinated with all the fat comedians, like John Candy, John Belushi, Benny Hill. And Curly was among them. ... So I had the same thing as the boys. Growing up, it was Curly. I could not look at him without laughing. (to Diamantopoulos) I wish your brother would have called me when you were 8 and I was 8 to tell me to have a look at Larry.

“As I got to my teens, it was, why is this man so angry at them? So I became very fascinated with Moe. He still cracks me up. I forget which one, but there are a couple where they’re down in a hole digging, and smacking each other with things. It was a rare bit when Moe would just get his, so he’s getting whacked in the head with all these tools from Larry and Curly, and Moe is in disbelief, like, what’s going on here? That made me laugh so much.

“And then yes, you get even older, what is that third guy doing? I always looked at it like, Curly, you need Moe, without Moe, you’d be lost. But you look at Larry. You got a style and some brains. Why are you with these guys?”

And what about Shemp Howard, who replaced brother Curly after he had a stroke?

Diamantopoulos: “I love Shemp because my mom loved Shemp the most, especially in ’Brideless Groom.’

“Shemp needs to get married to inherit a great sum of money, and there’s this one sequence where Moe and Shemp are in a phone booth and need to call Shemp’s uncle, and Moe drops the nickel and they can’t find it. And they’re stuck in the phone booth, and Shemp gets tangled up in the wire and pressed up against the wall with his hair down and his nose pushed up like this. And Larry’s outside biting his nails, waiting for them to come out.

“Larry’s commissioned to ask the ladies going by, ’Who wants to get married?’ And he says,

’Miss, would you like to get married?’ She goes, ’What?’ and he goes, ’Get married!’ And she goes, ’I don’t know, but you are kind of cute at that.’ Larry says, ’Oh, not to me. To him,’ and points to the phone booth, and Shemp’s face is pressed up against the thing. She screams and smacks Larry.

“I remember my mom used to get a kick out of that. I thought, Shemp’s all right if he can make my mom laugh.”

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