Once upon a time there was this show called Saturday Night Live. I’ve never seen it, but Saturday Night Live had a very innovative premise. It was a sketch show in which every performer came up with characters who say one funny thing over and over again. The idea was that, instead of being funny, Saturday Night Live would give everyday people the opportunity to be comedians themselves by providing dialog catchy and short enough to remember. These were often called catchphrases, slogans, or asshole bait.
The idea was a hit, and Saturday Night Live became very popular. An entire generation of comedians went to work every Saturday night coming up with that one line which would be stupid enough for people to try out +100 times at work the following Monday. Murders went up and marriages went down, but one out of fifty people got to enjoy the illusion that they were funny. That shit’s priceless, to them.
After proving their worth in New York, many comedians made the move to Hollywood to try their hand at catchphrase movies. None were more successful at this than Mike Myers (RIP).
Mike had the gift, alright. Even while casually ordering breakfast, he’d say a something that really made you think you could say it, too. He approached me one day with a desire to make the most catchpraseiest film of all time. I said yes, of course, because I liked him and because I’ll do anything that involves a superlative.
Myers wanted to push the limits of catchphrases to from funny words to pure abstractions not only because he was he a tireless artist, but because words are sometimes hard to remember. For example, this film’s main catchphrase, “Yeah, Baby!” has no meaning unless said a certain way. This gave people an even better chance to really nail it while confirming their order at Sonic.
Fighting Austin Powers is another Myers creation, Dr. Evil. He’s sort of a hodge-podge of Bond villains mixed together inside the body of a stilted midget. Again, Myers outdid himself. To approximate Dr. Evil, water-cooler comedians need only place their pinky finger next to their lips and pucker-up. Genius.
Then there’s this guy named Fat Bastard. He’s fat. I’d say this was Myers’ masterstroke because most of his Middle-American target audience were doing this catchphrase already.
There are some good lesser characters, too. For instance, Dr. Evil has a son named Wayne Campbell who just walks around saying “Party On!” “Shwing!” and “I know you are but what am I?” There’s also a Danish weightlifter named Gold Member. He eats his own dead skin, something of a personal touch from Myers who struggled with this urge in real life. Additionally, there’s a cat. It wears a hat. CATS CAN’T DO THAT!
Myers was also brilliant enough to see that constant catchphrases alone wouldn’t fill a 90-minute film. Rather than write jokes, which take too much effort to write and even more effort to understand, he invented the concept of walk-on cameos. This way, anytime the audience gets tired of “Yeah Baby!” and “Not da Momma!”, a quick moment featuring the likes of Tom Arnold, Burt Bacharach, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Carrie Fisher, Jerry Springer, Doctor Phil, Sarah Palin, Snooki, Shrek, Sad Keanu, Anton Chigurh, Rob Schneider, Kanye West or Tommy Wiseau will distract them. OH MY GOD, THAT’S WILLIAM SHATNER! THE SHAT! LOOK, THERE HE IS RIGHT THERE!
But that’s not all! He also invented nudity. A few times during the film, we entertain 10-15 minute long interludes of dialog/plot-free nudity where the only joke is how we manage to cover the nudity next. HA! I KEEP ALMOST SEEING HIS PENIS AND HER BUBS!
You’d think that’s be enough comedy for one film. But you’d be wrong! There’s also poop. Austin drinks some. OH MAN, HE JUST DRANK POOP! POOP TASTES AWFUL!
Story? Why you spoiled brat… Austin Powers is a movie about a spy from the cinematic 1960’s, a time when men were men and women were something less than that. He has two main traits: 1) He’s an ugly British guy, 2) He likes to have sex. Back in the cinematic 60’s, Austin’s main adversary, Dr. Evil, was frozen. So Austin gets himself frozen, too, just in case Dr. Evil ever wakes to wreak havoc again. Surprisingly enough, this happens. So now Austin must not only re-freeze his worst enemy, but he must do it as a sexual dynamo stuck in a politically-correct, overly conservative era. Being a Bond spoof, it’s okay that we stole a Bond plot. This one was taken from Roger Moore’s seminal entry: Demolition Man.
And that’s it. Austin Powers may be the funniest film on record. People still approach me today with catchphrases spawned from the franchise. I punch every last one of their faces. That shit’s good bank, but it’s fucking annoying.