I think this short is absolutely brilliant. I suggest watching this followed by Harold Lloyd's SAFETY LAST. Both films deal with trying to impress the girl by making it big in the working world, and the contrast is fascinating. Lloyd uses cunning and great physical skill to overcoming amazing heights, literally, to impress the girl and win in the end. I'm glad Lloyd gets the girl. Keaton uses hard luck, incompetence, and great physical skill to lose out in the end, culminating in the hysterical suicide attempt that works because of the non chalant nature in which Keaton handles it. Getting thrown out on his butt at the end after his failed attempt got a huge laugh out of me. I'm glad Keaton didn't get the girl. Both styles have their rewards.
Speaking of the girl, she is played by Renee Adoree. Died at age 35 tragically young, she is most famous for having the leading female role in MGM's THE BIG PARADE (1925), a classic and MGM's biggest money maker of the silent era. Her co-star, John Gilbert also died tragically young and his last film was THE CAPTAIN HATES THE SEA, which featured The Three Stooges. Adoree also appeared in THE MATING CALL with full frontal nudity, unusual for the era.
Besides the dark humor, which I love, there are a few standout bits here. The cop chasing Keaton is fantastic. The way both cop and Keaton walk and then jog, and then run in perfect synchronicity is flat out awesome, and the camera does a great job of following the action. Also, who can forget Keaton grabbing on to the back of a running freight car, his body completely vertical in the air while the car runs. Then there is the infamous boat gag where Keaton is acting like a hamster in a wheel, just an amazing sight gag and physical comedy. I also like when he's the street cleaner, setting the place on fire and staging off the bass drum with the water hose. The way Keaton gets dumped into the water filled sewer hole also gets a laugh out of me. He's completely disposable in this one, a bit of dark humor.