One of my favorite bits from “This is Spinal Tap,” this is Paul Shaffer as the unctuous and inept Polymer Records promotions man Artie Fufkin. What’s great about this scene is that Fufkin won’t allow the band the dignity of being angry with him after a screw-up. He literally throws his own dignity on the mat and stomps on it himself.
By the way, this is something I’ve been dying to do for years when offering an insincere apology, but don’t have the balls to do it, lest anyone literally take me up on my offer … or not know what the hell I’m referencing.
Metal parody may not be the most original of comedy genres, considering that Spinal Tap and GWAR cornered the market on it 20 years ago and director Penelope Spheeris demonstrated metal was kind of beyond parody with her classic documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II.” However, here’s a couple of bands that are keeping the genre alive quite well.
The first clip from Steel Panther has been kicking around for a few years, which of course as a 40-something suburban Dad, has completely escaped my radar. However, this is really funny stuff, though quite profane, so not safe for work.
The second is from a DC area band called Rattler and is the best metal ballad parody I’ve ever heard. Like Steel Panther, this is hilarious, but not safe for work due to language and substance abuse.
The cultural success of 1984’s “This is Spinal Tap” unleashed not only several films, but an entire genre we now know, sometimes love, and sometimes loathe, called “mockumentary.” Some of the mockumentaries that have followed in “This is Spinal Tap”‘s wake have been good, some bad. “Fear of a Black Hat” is on the good end of things. Granted, it’s not a perfect movie and it’s very uneven, but it’s also quite funny, intelligent, and charming. And if you watch it more than once, it will definitely grow on you like many good comedies inevitably do. I remember reading about this in “Film Threat” magazine back in 1993 and when it hit one of my local theaters in the spring of 1994, I was intrigued enough to check it out. I think it was a test release, since it didn’t get national distribution until later that summer. I remember being one of two paying customers in the theater (and the showtime was a discounted matinee) and I remember liking it a lot. I saw it many months later when it came out on video and liked it even more. The attached trailer seems a little corny by today’s standards, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out. It’s a solid mockumentary. And trivia note: the beautiful female interviewer is Kasi Lemmons, director of the brilliant “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Caveman’s Valentine,” and “Talk to Me”. (Sorry, I have a bit of a crush on Ms. Lemmons)
Cundieff popped up later on Michael Moore’s 1990s show “TV Nation” and has been involved with many great comedy TV shows, from”Chappelle’s Show” to “The Wanda Sykes Show.” Cundieff’s a very funny man. Let’s hope he gives us another feature soon.