Mike Myers' Humor - Parody Or Pastiche?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2002

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During the 1980s and 1990s, referential humor became a popular trend in film. One of the major proponents of this trend was Mike Myers, an actor and writer of such movies as Wayne's World, Wayne's World II, and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The main ingredient in each of these three films is the assumption that the audience has a vast knowledge of popular culture from the 1950s until present day. Although this sounds like a lot to ask, television shows, film, advertising, media, etc, have become so ingrained in the memories of the audience that people rarely have to think about references to popular culture in order to understand them. Myers makes the audience's knowledge of popular culture pivotal to understanding the humor in his films.

Myers wrote and starred in his first blockbuster movie, Wayne's World, in 1992. As the main character, Wayne Campbell, Myers is a young man, barely twenty years old, who has a public access television show with his best friend Garth Algar.

These two Generation Xers have grown up watching reruns and listening to heavy metal. Their dialogues consist almost completely of references to the television shows, films and music of their past. In one instance, Garth makes the following observation: "There are two Darren Stevens, right? Dick York and Dick Sargent. "¦Oh, hold on"¦Dick York, Dick Sargent, Sergeant York. That's weird." There is no further explanation to this remark. This joke would make no sense unless the audience knows that Darren Stevens was a character on the television sitcom "Bewitched"(1964) and that Sergeant York was a character in the 1941 film by the same name. At another point in the film, Wayne and Garth take a trip to Milwaukee. When they arrive, the two re-enact the beginning to the 1976...