Tony Sirico plays my favorite Sopranos character. His character is the eccentric Paulie Gualtieri, aka Paulie ''Walnuts''. Paulie was far and away the source of most blatant humor on the show, in my humble opinion. He was full of Goombah brand humor, Goombah brand logic. Goombah brand BS. The black belt master of Goombate (pronounced: Goom-bah-tay, see: Italian Martial arts).
Somebody requested quotes from The Sopranos last week or so, something we hadn't touched on yet, so I did a post of the famous chicken soup for the soul quote. I've had a chance to review several Sopranos episodes again and I have to say, although the last few seasons were alright, watching the episodes from the first three or so, I was reminded of how great the show really was. The straight humor was much more frequent then. The Sopranos shares a common bond with Deadwood other than being an HBO broadcast.
They both have a freakish ability to be funny in the context of brutal, violent dramas. It's a kind of magic that they work. Both dramatic series, I consider to be as funny as any sitcom or sketch comedy ever was...in their own way. I like to laugh when I don't expect it. When you're looking for a punch line, it's hard to be surprised. On a show like this when life is grave and somebody says something completely absurd and startles a belly laugh out of you, it's a blast. The Sopranos did this constantly in their first few seasons.
To celebrate the king of Sopranos humor, here's one of my favorite conversations involving Paulie ''Walnuts'' Gualtieri as he sits with ''T''-Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and they watch a nature program about snakes:
Paulie: Amazing thing about snakes, is that they reproduce spontaneously.
Tony: What do you mean?
Paulie: They have both male and female sex organs. That's why somebody you don't trust, you call a snake. How can you trust a guy who can literally 'go f**k themselves'?
Tony: . . . Don't you think that expression would come from the Adam and Eve story? When the snake tempted Eve to bite the apple.
Paulie: Hey, snakes were f**kin' themselves long before Adam and Eve showed up, T.
One pound of sausage at Satriale's: $4.49
One Lap-dance at the Bing: $20
One billable hour of legal counsel from Uncle Junior's attorney: $500.
A lifetime of counseling for Tony and AJ: $841,753
One lesson from Professor Paulie's Goomba BS 101 course: Priceless