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By Bob Westal | May 6, 2002

If ever there was a man who could be controlled by hot dogs, it would be me.
Pink’s, Hebrew National, Nathan’s, Vienna…umm, such tubular goodness. I love every gram of garlicky flavored fat, every molecule of carcinogenic nitrites. Yum. On the other hand, I can be driven to near apoplectic states by a vile, bready-tasting Oscar Meyer dog.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who can be controlled by hot dogs, because the main character of Matthew Silver’s short, “Beware of the Hot Dog People,” is turned into an insane dancing fool when approached by a sinister character wielding a pair of tube-steaks (brand unknown). His partners in getting freaky? A herd of cows. And then things get silly.
Silliness in entertainment is a mercurial comedy phenomenon. When accomplished with an underlying sense of order and discipline, it can be sublime. John Cleese’s immortal turn as the Minister of Silly Walks works because he’s so deadly serious about the process of walking silly — one goofy smile or funny face and the whole thing would have fallen apart.
“Beware of the Hot Dog People” falls apart as soon as our hero’s soul has been overtaken by wieners, because, once the goofiness of the situation has been established, the spectacle of a guy doing bad Michæl Jackson imitations is just too simpleminded to actually be funny. The fact that the film turns out to be something of a commercial for a local pizzeria is good for a halfhearted chuckle, however.
Yet, for some reason, I don’t think I could be controlled by pizza…

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