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Farrelly Brothers Delight Audience at Kirkland

Screenwriters Peter John Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, professionally known as the Farrelly Brothers, strike a similar pose yesterday in Kirkland JCR.
Screenwriters Peter John Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, professionally known as the Farrelly Brothers, strike a similar pose yesterday in Kirkland JCR. By Karen G. Heredia
By Matthew M. Beck, Contributing Writer

Peter and Bobby Farrelly—most famous for their comedy films including “Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and “Me, Myself, and Irene”—joked about their childhoods, their beginnings in cinema, and their comedic inspirations at a Kirkland event last night.

The pair also presented a sneak peek of the new collaborative film “Movie 43,” for which Peter directed a vignette.

The Conversations with Kirkland series, which featured news anchor Chris Matthews earlier this semester, brings diverse speakers to the House and provides students with an intimate setting for asking questions, according to house tutor and Harvard Law School student Ashwin Kaja ’07.

While the brothers’ style has been described by some critics as “gross-out comedy” for its plentiful use of slapstick and toilet humor, both brothers attribute their sense of humor to real experiences they had growing up in Rhode Island.

Bobby cited as an example the infamous “zipper scene” from the film “There’s Something About Mary,” calling it an incident that was “based off of some guy who had a zipper mishap at one of my sister’s parties.”

The comedy duo later moved to California to pursue film, although both brothers had graduated with degrees unrelated to film.

“We failed our way for about five or six years out of college,” Bobby joked, referring to the time after college during which he contemplated a career in insurance sales.

The brothers have also been praised in the past for their portrayal of characters with disabilities who are then able to overcome them.

The Special Olympics helped promote the Farrelly-produced 2005 comedy “The Ringer,” endorsing it as a film that facilitated better understanding of the Special Olympics and of disabled people.

“We grew up in a neighborhood with kids who were intellectually-challenged, and we all hung out a lot,” Peter said. “We were around people with disabilities a lot and it was a part of our world.”

According to Peter, working as a brother team has been an enriching experience.

“We grew up in the same bedroom so we pretty much agree on the same things 90 percent of the time,” Peter said. “But you do have that 10 percent of the time when you disagree.”

Tiffany T. Pham, a Harvard Business School student and a self-professed lifelong fan of Farrelly Brothers productions, said she was excited to see the duo in person.

“I really admire their work, and since the Business School doesn’t have the chance to bring in a lot of writers and directors onto campus, it’s great that this opportunity is available at the College,” Pham said.

“It’s great that we make a lot of people laugh,” Bobby said. “After all, laughter is such an incredible thing. It’s very therapeutic.”

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