Viking Night: Wayne's World
By Bruce Hall
August 18, 2015
Who doesn't love a bargain?
Feeling like you're getting something for nothing - or almost nothing - makes you feel like a real winner, doesn't it? That's why people clip coupons. That's why people buy used cars. That's why people SELL used cars. It's also why people fewer people go to the movies these days. If you don't want to pay full price to see the latest Saturday Night Live inspired cinematic masterpiece (and really, who does?), you don't even have to wait for it to hit the dollar theater. Bide your time and hit up Netflix when the time comes. Borrow it from a friend if you know someone who has no taste and is also a time traveler, so they can lend you their DVD player. Or fire up a bit torrent, if you're a horrible person and like to snatch food right from the mouths of celebrities.
That's right - every time you steal a movie, Gwyneth Paltrow has to survive on that much less green tea infused mineral water and organic garbanzo bean paste. Live with that...if you can. So now that we've established that getting free stuff is cool, Saturday Night Live is overrated and stealing is bad, let's talk about Wayne's World - because all three of these concepts are going to be relevant.
Saturday Night Live was experiencing something of a resurgence by the 1990s, having added people like Chris Rock, Chris Farley and (unfortunately) Adam Sandler to the cast. They joined established stars Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, who were two of the the biggest reasons I watched the show at the time. I'm not sure why, but I found Wayne's World endlessly entertaining, despite their shtick feeling a bit like a somewhat more refined but still slightly less excellent Bill and Ted. Still, over the course of their time on SNL, I found Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Carvey) amusing and charming, and I liked them enough that I was willing - even eager - to pay a whole four bucks to give them a full hour and a half of my time.
I mean, the only thing better than getting something you love for free is getting 20 times more of it for four lousy bucks, right?
Right. Or at least, the math worked out for me. I thought Wayne's World was freaking hilarious, to the point that I had a tee shirt, knew most of the dialogue, and could do a fairly good impression of Garth. The first SNL flick since 1980 was an instant classic; so much so that it made Queen a top 40 band again even without Freddie Mercury. The question isn't whether it was funny then, but rather whether it's still funny NOW. The answer is that it depends on your ability to visualize.
I know, I sound like Dr. Phil, and should probably be beaten savagely for that. I'll explain.
As an SNL sketch, Wayne's World was never anything more than a proto Beavis and Butthead, snickering their way through sketches based on a fictional cable show in Wayne's fictional basement. The gags relied on catchphrases like “schwing” (rather accurately recreating the sound of an erection), “that's what she said” (yes, you can thank Mike Myers for that” and “duh” (a timeless classic). What made the sketch work was not the content or the characters, but the actors themselves, who were endearing enough to make you forget that you weren't watching anything but a few minutes of dick jokes. The film version is much the same, with the story centering around a shady entertainment executive named Benjamin (Rob Lowe) who wants to take Wayne's World nationwide. But his motives are called into question when he clashes with Wayne over the show and makes off with Wayne's rock-star girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere).