“The Quaalude Scene” from “Modern Romance” (1981) dir. Albert Brooks

Before Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there were Albert Brooks’s squirm-inducing comedies. “Modern Romance” is the funniest of Brooks’s comedies and also the most uncomfortable to watch.

In this scene, Brooks’s ultra-neurotic character just broke up his long-time girlfriend and now, regretting his decision to do so, is completely miserable. A work colleague gives him some quaaludes to help him out and he takes all of them. Brooks’s character goes through the entire emotional gamut in under 10 minutes, including several luded-out phone calls. Hysterically funny … and while I’ve never taken ludes, I can’t say I haven’t made some embarrassing phone calls myself in an altered state of mind back in the day.

According to legend, this was one of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films.

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