Seriously, Everything's Funny

By Gh Published on .

Despite his aversion to being typecast, Noam Murro takes his "comedy" tag as a compliment. In his opinion, comedy is an all-inclusive category. "Everything is funny," says Murro, who launched Biscuit Filmworks in L.A. last November with executive producer Shawn Lacy Tessaro. "It's funny to wait for a bus. It's funny to take a piss. It's funny the way we eat. It's funny the way we clip our toes. There's humor in death, there's humor in drama. Some of the funniest things are the saddest things." An early champion of "reality humor," Murro, 39, has a knack for teasing levity from the mundane, or even from the downright grim. A prime example is his poignant "Company Man" for FreeAgent.com, via Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners. Using still photography and grainy footage, Murro created a montage of a man's life as a "suit." The spot tracks the man aging and enduring the petty triumphs and humiliations of company life. On the day he retires, he walks outside, takes a deep breath - and dies of a heart attack. It's ironic, not funny, but that's what humor is all about, says Murro. "All my spots are laced with that sense of humor," he says. "Are they terribly funny? I don't know. Humor isn't about being over the top - it's about irony and subtlety."

Born in Jerusalem, Murro came to New York in 1986 to pursue a degree in architecture. Instead, he ended up as an art director at the now-defunct agency Goldsmith Jeffrey. He directed his first spot there in 1994 - a hidden camera-styled local affair for Katz's Deli that features an old man kvetching in a thick New York accent. This real-people approach served Murro well over the years, notably in his documentary-style expos‚s of tobacco "monsters" for the Calif. Dept. of Health, and in his lighter work for Fox Sports. This includes "Rope," in which a young man slams into the side of a barn to imitate the sounds of a baseball player smashing into the wall. To achieve his brand of realism, "I don't believe in 'directing' people," he says. "I tell the actors, 'Don't act. Walk from point A to point B. Perform this action. I don't give a shit about your internal struggle.' If the actor bleeds in the process, then we've triumphed." Murro is currently working on humor-based campaigns for the Sacramento Kings and E*Trade, but he hopes to tackle other kinds of projects. Though everything may be funny, "I want to do some things I haven't done before," he says. "I want to do more serious work."

VISUAL STYLE

Dante Ariola,

Propaganda

Frank Budgen,

Anonymous

Dayton/Faris, Bob Industries

Jonathan Glazer, Propaganda

Michel Gondry, Partizan

Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye

Mike Mills, Directors Bureau

Marcus Nispel, MJZ

Tarsem, Radical

Gerard de Thame, HSI

OVERALL

Bryan Buckley,

Hungry Man

Frank Budgen,

Anonymous

Jonathan Glazer,Propaganda

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye

Kuntz & Maguire,

Propaganda

Errol Morris, Radical

Joe Pytka, Pytka

Tarsem, Radical

Traktor, Partizan

MOST

COVETED

Frank Budgen,

Anonymous

Jonathan Glazer,

Propaganda

Michel Gondry, Partizan

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Joe Pytka, Pytka

Ridley Scott, RSA

Tony Scott, RSA

Chris Smith,

Independent Media

Tarsem, Radical

Traktor, Partizan

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