A long, long time ago in this galaxy, there was a decade known as the 1980s. During this crazy time, there were some filmmakers that actually made honest-to-gosh hilarious parodies of famous films and genres, unlike the Seltzers and Friedbergs of today, who simply devour pop culture clichés and vomit them back into our faces because some studio suit is high enough to think they’re actually funny.
The 80s gave us The Naked Gun, Top Secret!, Airplane!, This is Spinal Tap, and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, to name a few. Many would argue, in fact, that the 80s spoof era was dominated by David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, but they owed a great deal of their success to Mel Brooks for paving the road before them for his classics like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and History of the World: Part I.
In 1987, though, came one of Brooks’ most important works, Spaceballs, a send-up of science fiction films like Star Wars and Alien. Sure, it was important because it was hilarious as a one-of-a-kind satire of George Lucas’ empire, but it was also important because it marked the end of Brooks’ reign as the spoof king, as he’d soon settle into a string of rather uninspired efforts.
Alas, I come not to bury Brooks’ later work but to praise the film that taught an 8-year old Burnsy that dick jokes are pretty damn funny, as my teachers didn’t think it was very appropriate for a child to be carrying around “Spaceballs: The Book”. Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the film’s release – and a special edition Blu Ray is right around the corner – so we wanted to pay tribute to one of the funniest comedies of our generation.
TIL: The nurse in Spaceballs was played by Brenda Strong, who went on to play Sue Ellen Mischke on Seinfeld. I learned that thanks to TooFab, which has an interesting - and sort of depressing - gallery of Spaceballs actors then-and-now.