Comedy is an extraordinarily difficult pursuit; it’s easy to create humor, but earning laughs is tough business. That said, certain comic bits seem to work every time. Pies in the face? Funny. Snobs falling down staircases? Funny. Chimps in tuxedos? Well, that used to be funny but apparently now that’s changing…
Yesterday’s Washington Business Journal carried an item describing how Capital One decided to pull a TV ad starring a chimpanzee after PETA provided them with information regarding the treatment of apes used in advertising.
It’s hard to imagine whether a big national advertiser like Capital One was more motivated by this information or the threat of unpleasantness via that organization’s notoriously aggressive actions. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter–the fact is that funny chimps have been removed from their comedy toolbox. According to PETA, two thirds of the fifteen largest advertising agencies have already banned using primates in their advertising.
PETA claims most performing primates are forcibly removed from their mothers soon after birth and then abused physically and psychologically. That’s an interesting perspective, but not one I experienced during the half dozen or so times I used monkeys in spots. I always found trainers to be incredibly protective of their stars, since frankly, the monkeys were their meal ticket.
If they’re right, then fine. While I don’t really trust PETA for clear-eyed, fact-based insight into the issues they take on, I do recognize that I’ve probably already enjoyed my last experience working with apes.
So goodbye Lancelot Link. I’ll miss you, my dear secret chimp.