City Slickers is the 1991 comedy starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and the late Bruno Kirby as a trio of friends who got away from their hectic lives by signing up for a fantasy retreat that had them going on a real Old West cattle drive with a bunch of real cowboys, led by the leathery (and Oscar-winning) Jack Palance. In 2016, HBO premiered Westworld, a sci-fi show about bored people escaping into the fantasy of a glitchy, android-populated Western amusement park and sometimes getting a little too involved in the park’s violent and sexy narratives.
If you think City Slickers and Westworld actually sound oddly similar in premise, well you’re not alone. Funny or Die thought so, too. And they figured City Slickers and Westworld, despite or perhaps because of their obvious tonal differences, would make a terrific mash-up video. They were right.
In “City Slickers in Westworld,” Funny Or Die casts Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern as their City Slickers characters Mitch and Phil, but this time instead of being a pair of hapless middle-aged Long Island guys, they’re android versions of hapless middle-aged Long Island guys living in the Westworld amusement park. Luke Hemsworth and Ptolemy Slocum appear as their Westworld characters, interrogating android Mitch about his recent malfunctions, including his tendency to shoot people. Things escalate until Hemsworth and Slocum decide Mitch needs to be decommissioned.
The mash-up not only affords an opportunity to goof on Westworld, a show whose intensely serious tone makes it rather a good target for parody, it also opens the door on all sorts of hilarious ’90s jokes and gags that recall the pleasing buddy-comedy shenanigans of City Slickers though with a bit of a darker edge. Crystal deadpans his way through the proceedings, dropping quips and occasionally whipping out his shooting iron. It makes you wish Jack Palance were still alive to revive his Curly character, the role that finally won him an Oscar.
Among other things, “City Slickers in Westworld” reminds us what a truly funny actor Billy Crystal can be. His comedic timing remains perfect. City Slickers was possibly the best pure-comedy vehicle of his career, and seeing him reprise the role of Mitch is fun, even if this version of Mitch is actually a homicidal automaton.
The mash-up video does also beg the question: could Westworld benefit from a little more levity? The show is so deadly-serious about its twisty storylines, heavy themes and dark emotions that sometimes it arguably can be a bit much. Maybe the producers of Westworld will watch “City Slickers in Westworld” and decide to lighten things up a little for season 2. Or maybe not.
Source: Funny Or Die