Down and Out!

1971 | Color | 8 min

Produced By: The National Safety Council

The folks at America’s Funniest Home Videos have made a quite a nice living over the past two decades by capitalizing on the simple fact that it’s downright hilarious to watch other people fall on their asses. For those of you who aren’t familiar with America’s Funniest Home Videos (or AFV, as us insiders call it) the premise is fairly simple. Fill an hour of prime-time television with short home movies featuring people stepping on rakes, falling into pools, and of course as many videos of grown men being smacked in the beanbag by mind-numbingly painful objects as possible. I have the sneaking suspicion that noted television producer and unholy bringer of “Reality Television,” Vin Di Bona might have had the inspiration for his long-running series after stumbling across a little safety film from our friends at The National Safety Council entitled Down and Out.

Starring a man who is apparently suffering from some sort of inner-ear infection, Down and Out warns us about the dangers of falling in the workplace. Our intrepid hero, who I have taken the liberty of dubbing “Virgil Vertigo,” goes about his workday stumbling and bumbling his way around what has to be the most dangerous workplace in the world. Seemingly every surface in the building is covered with potential tripping hazards. Oil, dowel rods, bolts, buckets, loose tiles, brooms, and even jelly donuts are all potential causes of death for our vestibularly-challenged friend. Added to the fact that this guy just happens to be a total putz who can’t even walk across a room without falling flat on his face, reaching retirement age intact doesn’t look too likely for Mr. Vertigo.

Ouch! He stepped right on his nuts.

Quite honestly, professional wrestlers would have an easier time securing a life insurance policy than this guy. In just under nine minutes, he somehow manages to slip, trip, and occasionally flip, a whopping thirty-eight times! Trust me, I counted. Clearly this is a man who should wear a helmet at all times—even while sleeping. I mean this goober has more embarrassing slips than Vice President Biden (Ha! Ba-Zing!).

With all due respect to the National Safety Council, I didn’t actually learn much from this particular short—although I am now terrified of small, multicolored dowel rods. On the plus side, it is pretty darn entertaining to watch this poor sod continually find new and innovative ways to horribly injure himself. Still, if America’s Funniest Home Videos is any indicator, the addition of Daisy Fuentes in a skimpy black dress certainly would’ve helped things a bit. Of course, as far as I’m concerned, there aren’t many things which couldn’t be improved by the addition of Daisy Fuentes in a skimpy black dress.

Reviewed by Derek Miller
Posted September 2, 2009

Watch This Film

Enjoy this “trippy” (Ha! Get it? It’s funny. Ah, nevermind) little film for yourself for free. Courtesy of


Dana on October 28, 2012
You rock!
Derek Miller on November 7, 2012
Gee, thanks!


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