With 'MacGruber' blowing up theaters, we look back on the
skit-zophrenic history of movies based on sketch comedy shows
By Noah Walden MSN Movies
What makes you laugh? Witty
repartee? Physical humor? Satire? Situational comedy? Life itself? Puns?
Absurdism? Camus and Kierkegaard ... more working a suicide prevention hot line together?
(Sorry, that was just for the absurdists.)
Our senses of humor are about
as individualistic as our fingerprints, no two the same. The only thing we know
for certain is that everyone laughs at fart jokes.
And, aside from fart jokes, comedy is hard. Most comedy is not built to stand
the test of time; consider how many gags are one-offs, jokes that only work the
first time they're heard and have no value once that element of surprise is
gone. Blow the timing or the punch line in a skit by a smidge and the laughs
dissipate, the audience groans.
Comedy is a curious chemistry and a difficult art. Nowhere has this been more
evident than in the many flailing attempts to bring a funny sketch or sketch
comedy troupe from the small screen to the theater. A gag that kills in skit
form all too often becomes a tedious bore when transitioned to feature film.
Comedians who had creative control of the project that got them noticed find
themselves wrestling to see their vision brought to fruition with Hollywood
executives more concerned with corporate tie-ins, often with disastrous results.
What fate awaits Will Forte's "MacGruber" (a "MacGyver" parody in which the
would-be action hero is constantly distracted by personal issues as he attempts,
unsuccessfully, to deactivate a ticking bomb)? After flooding the market with
mostly awful movies based on "Saturday Night Live" skits in the '90s, Hollywood
shied away from the Not Ready for Prime Time Players in the past decade. Will a
successful "MacGruber" bring a surge similar to the one that followed the
immensely popular "Wayne's World" in the '90s? Let's hope not.
Here then, are 10 of the best and worst movies that have sprung from sketch
comedy shows. Sorry, with all the movies that qualify for "worst," we just
didn't have room for "The Ladies Man."