Putt it away: Leslie Neilsen brings you a new sport on video - spoof golf. Owen Slot talks bad backswings with the champion of 'dumb' humour

Last Tuesday, Leslie Nielsen sat on the GMTV couches, embarrassing Eamonn Holmes by making farting noises in front of the cameras. Nielsen was there to promote his new video, Bad Golf Made Easier, but the combination of the comic video clips, his hallmark straight-faced silliness and the schoolboy parping seemed to put his whole repartee up for scrutiny.

Its detractors describe it as shamelessly cretinous, while Nielsen himself proudly describes it as 'dumb'. Yet it was only 13 years ago that people thought Nielsen best suited to straight roles. L Frank Drebin wasn't even a twinkle in Paramount Pictures' eye and Nielsen was best known as the ship's captain in The Poseidon Adventure. He would spend hours making comic faces at himself in the shaving mirror but, he says, didn't have the courage to take it any further.

The comedian in him was strictly closeted, and he made do by telling himself that life wasn't all bad. After all, his agent had kept him in work with over 60 motion pictures and 1000 television appearances.

The agent, however, wasn't interested in giving Nielsen his comic relief; it took Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, the team behind Airplane], to do that in 1980. 'They kept on knocking on the door and saying 'Come on out Leslie'. They had me pegged,' Nielsen says, recalling the sense of liberation that coupled this first comic role, and how he then ended his association with his agent. 'He wasn't exactly interested in guiding my career, he was interested in making money from it.'

Were it not for the poor judgement of his agent, Nielsen would certainly have more to list on his comic CV. Besides Airplane], it is most notable for the TV series Police Squad, the Red Rock cider ads and the Naked Gun films, a litany of lunacy that Nielsen says is his sense of humour entirely. 'At the bottom of it, I'm a clown. . . I like putting on that red nose.'

The break into comedy allowed him to play himself on screen as well as off; hence the GMTV performance. 'It adds up to freedom,' he says. 'You have a license to be nuts, to be bonkers. I find people no longer point at me and say 'What a fool.' Now they laugh and let me get away with being who I am.' On GMTV, these words proved true: Holmes just laughed and let him get away with it.

The same tomfoolery fills Bad Golf Made Easier. Short of farting, Nielsen recommends almost any sort of noise to put off your opponent mid-swing: not exactly subtle, but Nielsen carries it off. There are many similarities to his other comedies: Naked Gun is packed with parodic film references, while Bad Golf is a spoof of the golf instruction manuals, containing the standard pack of visual gags and absurdities ('When you stop your backswing at the top to look at the position of your hands, you'll learn two things: how many hands you have and which hand has the glove on it.')

Beside the gags, there is the repeated message: 'I don't play golf to feel bad, I play bad golf to feel good.' The motto is Nielsen's own (though the handicap of 19 suggests his game isn't as 'appalling' as he makes out) and he was extremely keen to have it included in the script. It reflects his own life code: Enjoy.

'There's no point in doing anything at this stage in my life if you're not going to have some fun,' he says. You wonder how much fun he'd be having if his funny faces had been restricted to the shaving mirror. 'They were just dumb faces. I just did them because they amused me, never wondering whether I would use them in movies. Now that's all I'm doing and I love it.'

'Bad Golf Made Easier' is on retail (Polygram) pounds 9.99

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions