Comedy can be one of the most difficult talents to showcase in many ways. Seeing as my favourite format is stand-up, sometimes a comedy movie doesn’t cut it for me the same way. However, sometimes you just want to switch your brain off and just watch something stupid enough to elicit a laugh. That’s where the spoof film comes in. And although we have had some horrendous entries throughout the years like Date/Epic/Disaster/Extreme/Superhero Movie (those are all real titles), we have had a few that have broken through and have made a name for themselves. An honourable mention goes to Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) as myself and a good few people I know have had good things to say about it over the years. The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) which unfortunately I have never seen. And This is Spinal Tap (1984), as much as I love it, it feels more like a satire than an actual spoof.
10. Scary Movie (2000)
Scary Movie is one of those films that over time has really lost its edge, but when it first came out it was just the funniest thing ever. Seeing as I was only ten when it was released, the jokes were so endlessly quotable we repeated them over and over again. Although now the film just isn’t the same any more, and the Wayans brothers have been making endlessly unfunny films ever since, every once in a while a joke is brought up that still makes us giggle even though it shouldn’t. A film that can do that has to have some positive effect right?
9. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Speaking of films that got old, Austin Powers suffered that same curse when people continued to quote it for years on end with some very bad impressions. But after watching it on television last night, there is still so much to like about it after twenty years. The James Bond spoof gets a laugh from some classic moments, including trying to turn that cart in a narrow hallway, ill-tempered mutated sea bass, and a henchman called ‘Random Task’. I was giggling like a sucker still after all these years, and there is so much more that I think people take for granted nowadays. That steam-roller moment is still a classic.
8. Team America: World Police (2004)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are well known for their creation of South Park, but seeing them try their hand at a Thunderbirds spoof was more than I could bear. I laughed my ass off over the most ridiculous moments, be they surreal (puppet sex?), and the hyper violent (Samuel L. Jackson gets his head kicked off). And hearing Kim Jong-Il singing “I’m so ronery” was the moment I had tears trickling down my face. I had a little giggle just typing that.
7. Hot Shots (1991)
When you look back on Charlie Sheens films in the 1980s it would probably have been hard to imagine him in a comedy film. So when this Top Gun (1988) spoof came out I’m sure a lot of people were very surprised. Although his comedy career has had a somewhat mixed reception (Two & a Half Men come to mind), he is backed up by the likes of the legendary Lloyd Bridges, the hilarious Ryan Stiles in an insane cameo moment, and even Jon Cryer (Alan) are all there to make it comedy gold. Although the sequel would be my preference, I still have to give it to its predecessor for cooking eggs and bacon on Valeria Golino’s stomach.
6. Black Dynamite (2009)
If you have not seen or heard of Black Dynamite you need to get off your ass and do something about that. When I first watched it I didn’t really get the humour involved. But after repeated viewings I can safely say this is a comedy film for pure movie lovers. A spoof on the Blaxploitation genre, everything about it from the brilliant one-liners, the hammy acting, the dodgy editing, and everything you would see wrong with an independent 1970s film is all on display here. And it is just hilarious. Try and seek this one out, you would not regret it.
5. Wayne’s World (1992)
Yes Mike Myers is making a second appearance for today. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Wayne’s World? Even if you aren’t a fan of the music, watching this nerdy metalhead, along with his friend Garth (Dana Carvey) save their TV show from meddling studio executives is still so funny, I don’t think I have ever gotten tired of it. Whenever ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ comes on, everybody thinks of that moment in the car, and we all head bang every time (So do you Mr. or Mrs. reader, don’t deny it). I’m even cautious in music shops now to make sure we don’t play a song the clerks have heard a million times. Although ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was never my specialty.
4. Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
It’s hard to believe that before the 1980s, Leslie Nielsen was a serious actor. Although he has been in countless spoof movies over the years, this was the one that started his cinematic career in that direction. Although the film is slightly frowned upon in many regards for featuring OJ Simpson (as are the sequels), it can never take away my love for how over-the-top and silly the whole film is. “By the way, I faked every orgasm” is one of my favourite one-liners of all time, it really shouldn’t be, but seeing Nielsen deliver it so calmly just has me in stitches every time.
3. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Could you imagine if they tried to make Blazing Saddles today? Social justice warriors would really get their nickers in a twist over that one. But seeing an all-white Western town try and deal with the fact their new Sheriff is black is just so cringy. It can only take the talents of Mel Brooks to really make that possible. And also the fact that the legendary Gene Wilder is on hand as the “Waco Kid” to really help make this a true comedy classic. Farting over beans shouldn’t be funny at all. Yet for some reason we laugh over this one. Brooks also deserves mention for other classics including The Producers (1968) and Young Frankenstein (1974), but Saddles will have to take the spot for today.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
I’m sure a lot of people would much favour Monty Python’s controversial Life of Brian (1979), but Holy Grail I have always found much funnier. Following the success of Flying Circus (1969-1974) and their debut feature And Now for Something Completely Different (1971), the Python’s give their take on the adventures of King Arthur and his knights of the round table, as they seek the Holy Grail. The film is just hilarious from the beginning, including the coconuts banged together to sound like horses, the determined Black Knight, the Knights who say “ni”, and Sir Lancelot randomly slaughtering an entire wedding. Python has always been a real inspiration for comedy over the years, but one film just narrowly beats it to the top of today’s list.
1. Airplane! (1980)
I still for the life of me cannot figure out why Airplane! Is still so funny after all these years. I must have seen it first well over fifteen years ago and the jokes still land just as solid. And somehow it is all boiled down to incredibly clever jokes delivered so blatantly silly. How “don’t call me Shirley” is still a classic one-liner is anyone’s guess. The film itself is a spoof of a disaster movie called Zero Hour! (1957), and copies the original script almost to a Tee. Although it seems clichéd to put this film at the top of a comedy list all the time, it feels pretty justified. As much as I love Monty Python in terms of how clever and absurd it is in many ways, Airplane has just always felt like the funnier film to me. I’m sure some of you are getting the pitchforks ready, but it was one of the first comedy films I ever saw that wasn’t necessarily aimed at kids. I’m sure everyone else has their own personal favourites, but Airplane! Is without a doubt, the king of spoof films.